Travel bans. Extreme vetting. Frontal attacks on prioritizing keeping immediate families together when they immigrate.
And now, it has come to this. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has unveiled a new mission statement that denies our history and our present, and signals trouble for our future, by striking the words that acknowledge the very essence of our country, “nation of immigrants.”
Here’s the prior Mission Statement that appeared on USCIS’s website through February 22, 2018 (emphasis added):
And here’s the new Mission Statement:
This is a striking change in tone, and raises the question of which “values” are being referred to in the new mission statement. Given the removal of the concept of our “promise as a nation of immigrants” and the insertion of language regarding “protecting Americans, securing the homeland”, one could infer that the “values” no longer prize offering safe haven and opportunity to those who believe in the United States, and who want nothing more than the chance to become Americans and to create a better life for themselves and their children.
For those who haven’t done so recently, now is a good moment to reread The New Colossus, by Emma Lazarus, written to help raise funds for the Statute of Liberty’s installation, and now affixed to its base.
Words have meaning. Please ponder those of Emma Lazarus, and those of USCIS’s new mission statement, and recall your own family’s immigration history as you do.