Trump Nominates DHS Insider to Serve as New USCIS Director

President Trump has announced his intentions to nominate Lee Francis Cissna to serve as the new Director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Mr. Cissna currently serves as the Director of Immigration Policy for the Office of Policy at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Assuming he is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Mr. Cissna will replace the current Acting Director of the USCIS, James McCament.

Background on Mr. Cissna – Education and Experience

Before becoming Director of Immigration Policy, Mr. Cissna worked at USCIS in the Office of the Chief Counsel and is a former U.S. foreign service officer, who was stationed in Haiti and Sweden. Mr. Cissna is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Columbia University, and received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.

Cissna’s Immigration Views

Although Mr. Cissna has not said a great deal publicly about his stances on various key immigration issues, the little information that is available appears to indicate that he feels the H1B program is being used to displace U.S. workers. Mr. Cissna praised an immigration bill that was introduced in Congress earlier this year, noting that it proposes changes to the H1B program that focus on protecting U.S. workers. And, in a recent interview with Bloomberg BNA, Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the anti-immigrant group, Center for Immigration Studies, said Cissna is “very knowledgeable about the immigration system” and that Cissna would likely work to reverse many of the changes implemented by President Obama, such as the program that allows a qualifying H-4 spouse to apply for an employment authorization document (EAD).


This appointment reinforces the notion that the Trump Administration intends to take a more isolationist approach to U.S. immigration policy. Still, it remains to be seen what types of changes Mr. Cissna will institute within the USCIS.


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