Fiscal solvency, reduced backlogs, and an upgrade to 21st century technology top the list of goals President Joe Biden‘s nominee to lead U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Ur Jaddou, has for the agency.
In addition, Jaddou will work to ensure that USCIS staff “have the resources, support, and leadership they need to carry out their roles,” she told the Senate Judiciary Committee during a nomination hearing Wednesday.
USCIS is the Department of Homeland Security subagency responsible for administering immigration laws and processing services and benefits. Jaddou said in opening remarks that at the heart of a functioning immigration system is an agency that processes applications “fairly, efficiently, and in a humane manner.”
Her nomination to be director comes as the administration works to unwind some of the Trump administration’s more restrictive immigration policies and the USCIS struggles to alleviate a backlog of visa applications. It has not had a Senate-confirmed director since Lee Francis Cissna, who President Donald Trump compelled to resign in 2019.
The committee heard from five other nominees over the 3 1/2-hour session, limiting the questioning of Jaddou, as most of the panel’s time and attention focused on Biden’s nominees to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, David Chipman, and the Drug Enforcement Administration, Anne Milgram.
The hearing concluded without a vote on the nominees.
Supporters of Jaddou touted her experience and breadth of knowledge about immigration laws and policies.
Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) noted that Jaddou “is uniquely qualified to serve as USCIS director at this critical time” based on her prior experience as the agency’s chief counsel under the Obama administration.
During that time, Padilla said, the California native was able to advise on policies and programs and other “complex legal issues,” calling her understanding of U.S. immigration law and how USCIS functions “second to none.”
By Genevieve Douglas BLOOMBERG LAW
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