USCIS Director: ‘Immigration System Failing’

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

December 13, 2017
cissna
Director Cissna tells press he want to insure immigrants succeed.
On December 8, three days before a Bangladeshi chain migration beneficiary attempted to kill multiple innocents at the Port Authority, and about six weeks after an Uzbekistan diversity visa winning truck-driver murdered eight helpless bikers, The Hill published U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director L. Francis Cissna’s opinion piece. The title said it all: ‘Break the Chain and Lose the Lottery---America Deserves a Better Immigration System.’

Cissna’s first sentence reinforced the title: “Our immigration system is failing,” a reference to chain migration and the visa lottery. Later in the editorial, Cissna wrote that “luck or lotteries” should play no role in determining who is admitted to the United States, and endorsed merit-based immigration. Neither the lottery nor extended chain migration, Cissna continued, take into account the country’s economic needs nor national security priorities. Instead, according to Cissna, “they hamper our ability to seek out the best candidates to become part of U.S. society.”

At a White House press conference, watch it here, Cissna spoke at length about the importance of new immigrants assimilating, and becoming productive U.S. citizens. Cissna described in detail how Port Authority terrorist Akayed Ullah secured his visa as the nephew of a U.S. citizen, which he called “the most extreme, remote family-based connection you can have.” Ullah’s uncle came to the country through the visa lottery, an immigration program that the White House argues terrorists can and do take advantage of. During his comments, Cissna repeated the importance of a selective rather than random immigration system “based on criteria that ensures their success.”

Chain migration is immigration’s primary driver, and a major contributor to the nation’s unsustainable population growth. A 2013 Princeton University study found that for every initiating immigrant, the first in the chain to arrive, an average 3.45 follow. Since 1994, an estimated 1.1 million immigrants have arrived through chain migration, and 3.8 million relatives eventually joined them.
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