Refugee Council USA Responds to USCIS’ Decision to Remove
“Nation of Immigrants” from its Mission Statement
Washington, DC – The United States is a nation of immigrants, including refugees. It is our inheritance as a people. Not only are we a nation founded by immigrants, but we are one that has been renewed and given new life with each generation of newcomers. One of the most visible expressions of our country as a welcoming people is the Statue of Liberty that has been a symbol of hope and new life for each new generation.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ decision to remove the phrase “nation of immigrants” and subsequently alter, altogether, its mission statement by removing the concept of welcome from its vision, fails to represent strongly held American-ideals and is of serious concern to Refugee Council USA. It moves an institution, established to provide service for immigrants, as enshrined in its very name, toward one far less welcoming.
“Now is not the time to turn our backs on this nation’s great history,” said Hans Van de Weerd, Chair of Refugee Council USA and Vice President of US Programs at the International Rescue Committee. “America is strong, and more secure, because America is welcoming. Since USCIS’ creation, the agency’s mission has been both to serve immigrants and to enhance our national security. These goals are not only compatible, but also mutually reinforcing and indispensable. USCIS’ decision—and the attitudes it reflects—ignores the immense positive impact immigrants and refugees have had and continue to have on this country’s economy, culture, and overall success as a global leader. In more cases than not, to be ‘American’ is to be, or to be descended from, an ‘immigrant’; the two concepts are inseparable. We must not forget, neglect, or reverse this great legacy.”
Contact: Danielle Grigsby, Associate Director, Refugee Council USA firstname.lastname@example.org