Senate Confirms Agency Veteran, First Woman to Serve a USCIS Director

On Friday, July 30, 2021, the U.S. Senate confirmed 47-34 Ur Jaddou as the new director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Jaddou is the first confirmed agency director since L. Francis Cissna was forced out in March 2019; Cissna was replaced by acting director Ken Cuccinelli.

Although Jaddou was confirmed on a party-line vote, her nomination was supported by groups ranging from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

The daughter of Mexican and Iraqi immigrants, Jaddou returns to USCIS from the private sector where she served as Director of America’s Voice/DHS Watch. She has a long history of work in the immigration field, and for the last four years was a critic of the Trump Administration’s policies. Previously Jaddou served as USCIS’s chief counsel during the Obama/Biden Administration following 10 years’ experience (2002-2011) as Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren’s (D-CA) Senior Counsel and Chief Majority Counsel, House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration.

Following her swearing in, Director Jaddou issued a statement on August 4, 2021 noting

“Since January, USCIS has taken immediate steps to reduce barriers to legal immigration, increase accessibility for immigration benefits, and reinvigorate the size and scope of humanitarian relief. As USCIS director, I will work each and every day to ensure our nation’s legal immigration system is managed in a way that honors our heritage as a nation of welcome and as a beacon of hope to the world; reducing unnecessary barriers and supporting our agency’s modernization.”

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas welcomed her to the position, “. . . Ur has two decades of experience in immigration law, policy, and administration. I look forward to working closely with her to rebuild and restore trust in our immigration system.”

DHS/USCIS plans to modernize the H-1B visa program with Notices of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) expected in Fall 2021. These NPRMs will focus on the definition of employee/employer relationship and wages. The TechServe Alliance Government Affairs Team continues to actively participate in this process and welcomes new opportunities to provide input. Please contact us at for more information and to get involved.

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