Skip Navigation

25 August 2011

Hurricane Preparedness: Entire East Coast Should Prepare for Hurricane Irene

As Hurricane Irene approaches the east coast of the United States, we urge all readers in the storm’s path to fully prepare and follow the direction of local authorities. To learn more, see the following online resources:

For updates on USCIS office closings/delays, see our website.

16 August 2011

A Nation of Laws and a Nation of Immigrants

Posted by Alejandro Mayorkas, Director, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services

This is part of a series of blog posts exploring the progress we have made in implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations.

Respecting and celebrating our tradition as a nation of immigrants strengthens our communities and helps ensure that people of diverse backgrounds share in the rights and freedoms guaranteed under our Constitution.

Every day, the dedicated men and women of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) ensure that deserving immigrants receive the benefits for which they are eligible under our nation’s laws.  This same dedicated workforce protects the integrity of our nation’s immigration system and helps ensure the system is not abused by those who wish to do our nation harm.

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, USCIS was created as part of a new national homeland security enterprise to confront and defend against the evolving threats we face and to make America more resilient when a crisis occurs.  Its creation was premised upon the basic tenet that for our immigration system to work, we must be able to protect our national security. 

Through USCIS’s enhanced efforts to protect national security, USCIS can more effectively screen for security threats while efficiently processing legitimate benefits for people rightfully coming to the United States.  To that end, USCIS has taken and continues to take steps responsive to the 9/11 Commission Report’s recommendations.  In our efforts, for example, to combat immigration fraud:
  • We redesigned the Permanent Resident Card, commonly known as the Green Card, to include a radio frequency identification tag that allows Customs and Border Protection to quickly access the electronic records of travelers seeking to enter the United States and includes new security features that reduce the risks of counterfeiting, tampering, and fraud.
  • We redesigned the Certificate of Naturalization, utilizing a tamper-proof printing process and embedding digitized photos and signatures.
  • We added a machine-readable zone to the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to make it easier for border control officers to more efficiently identify people who have already been approved for immigration benefits and who have been reviewed previously by USCIS officers.
  • We have enhanced our partnership with the Forensic Document Laboratory which is dedicated exclusively to detecting fraudulent documents. As a result, we can better identify fake documents used to seek immigration benefits.
We also have enhanced our sharing of information with key federal partners:
  • Dozens of our Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) officers are aligned with local FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTFFs) to coordinate resources and provide immigration expertise to federal government agencies in support of terrorism investigations. 
  • Our FDNS officers furnish support to the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), the FBI’s National Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Terrorist Screening Center, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s National Security Unit.
  • We regularly exchange information with US-VISIT related to refugee claimants under existing data-sharing agreements with foreign-government partners.
Our efforts reflect our commitment to oversee lawful immigration to the United States by strengthening the security and integrity of our nation’s immigration system while providing effective customer-oriented immigration benefit and information services.

You can read more about the Department’s efforts to implement the 9/11 Commission report’s recommendations here.


04 August 2011

Director Mayorkas Joins DHS and Anti-Human Trafficking Leaders

On August 3, in Washington D.C., DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas joined other DHS senior leadership and anti-human trafficking stakeholders and advocates to mark the first anniversary of the Blue Campaign, a first-of-its-kind campaign to coordinate and enhance the Department’s anti-human trafficking efforts.  In their remarks, Director Mayorkas and Secretary Napolitano underscored the critical work of anti-human trafficking organizations that provide vital services and support to victims as they re-integrate into their communities.

Through partnerships with community organizations and law enforcement entities, USCIS continues to support the Blue Campaign by raising awareness of the immigration relief available to victims of human trafficking.  By protecting victims, T visas and U visas supply law enforcement agencies and prosecutors with the tools to bring human trafficking criminals to justice. 

In the past year, USCIS visa experts have traveled to 25 cities across the country to train federal, state, and local law enforcement on how they can help ensure that trafficking victims have access to immigration relief. We are committed to expanding this outreach.

Check out the additional DHS Blue Campaign efforts on the The Blog at Homeland Security, a News Release about the event and

Raise awareness and “Like” the Blue Campaign Facebook page.

02 August 2011

Encouraging Entrepreneurs and High Skilled Workers to Bolster the U.S. Economy and Spur Job Growth

By Alejandro Mayorkas

The United States has a long, rich history of welcoming innovative entrepreneurs and skilled workers into our country.  These men and women fuel our nation’s economy by creating jobs, and promoting new technologies and ideas. Today, I joined Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and outlined a series of new policy, operational, and outreach efforts that will help fuel the nation’s economy and stimulate investment by making it easier for high-skill immigrants to start and grow companies and create jobs here in the United States.

Encouraging the kinds of streamlining measures USCIS is taking today has been one key focus of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness because they help ensure that America can continue to out-innovate and out-compete the world in a global economy.

As part of the Administration’s comprehensive effort to attract and retain high-skill entrepreneurs, USCIS announced today that it will:
  • Clarify that immigrant entrepreneurs may obtain an employment-based second preference (EB-2) immigrant visa if they satisfy the existing requirements, and also may qualify for a National Interest Waiver under the EB-2 immigrant visa category if they can demonstrate that their business endeavors will be in the interest of the United States;
  • Expand the Premium Processing Service to immigrant petitions for multinational executives and managers;
  • Clarify when a sole employee-entrepreneur can establish a valid employer-employee relationship for the purposes of qualifying for an H-1B non-immigrant visa;
  • Implement fundamental enhancements to streamline the EB-5 process based directly on stakeholder feedback;
  • Launch new engagement opportunities to seek input and feedback on how to address the unique circumstances of entrepreneurs, new businesses and startup companies.
Today, I am also launching Conversations with the Director, a new series of small group meetings I will hold to discuss immigration issues important to communities around the country. The first meeting will focus on economic development and the EB-5 investor program.

For more information on USCIS and its programs and to subscribe to the “Business Immigration” RSS feed, please visit or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis) and the USCIS blog The Beacon. 

Alejandro Mayorkas is the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.