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27 April 2012

Reflections on the Impact and Importance of Citizenship

Posted by Keith Canney, St. Albans Acting Field Office Director

As Acting Director of the St. Albans Field Office, I recently had the privilege to participate in a naturalization ceremony at the Beeman Elementary School in New Haven, Vermont.  As I watched the 39 soon-to-be U.S. citizens enter the school with their families and friends, I wondered what was going through their minds as they waited to become U.S. citizens.

Several years ago I was in New York City to attend an immigration conference. During that trip, I visited Ellis Island taking a similar route my grandfather took when he first immigrated to this country from Italy. As I rode over on the ferry, I remember wondering what was going through my grandfather’s mind when he traveled across these same waters, and saw the Statute of Liberty and the New York shorelines for the first time. I tried to imagine the excitement and nervousness he felt as he reached the end of his long journey to arrive in the U.S.

I imagined that these immigrants felt the same excitement as they smiled broadly while watching the Beeman Elementary students sing patriotic songs. As each naturalization candidate raised their right hand to take the Oath of Allegiance, I thought of my grandfather and his immigration experience.

New U.S. citizens take the Oath of Allegiance during their naturalization ceremony.
New U.S. citizens take the Oath of Allegiance during their naturalization ceremony.

Once the Oath was completed and Judge John Conroy welcomed the new citizens, there was a long applause from their family and friends, the students and faculty, and the participants.  I proudly shook each of their hands and remembered the impact and importance that this moment had on my grandfather’s life. I was grateful that I could share such an important and significant day in their lives.

St. Albans Field Office Acting Director Keith Canney and Judge Conroy shake hands and present certificates to naturalized U.S. citizens.
St. Albans Field Office Acting Director Keith Canney and Judge Conroy shake hands and present certificates to naturalized U.S. citizens.

Participation in this ceremony reminded me of the important work done by USCIS employees every day, and how the work we do makes a difference in the lives of these new citizens.  The decision to become a U.S. citizen had an impact on everyone who took an Oath that day and will continue to affect the lives of future generations.

To all of the U.S. citizens that were naturalized that day, welcome and congratulations again! It was an honor and privilege to share in your naturalization experience!


25 April 2012

E-Verify Takes Your Privacy Seriously

The USCIS E-Verify team understands that privacy is important to you.  Protecting your privacy is serious business for E-Verify.

We encourage you to review our commitment to privacy. Are you curious about what personal information E-Verify collects and how long that information is kept? Do you want to know why E-Verify users cannot share login information? Visit the E-Verify Privacy Questions and Answers page today and learn about E-Verify’s privacy policies. USCIS Privacy Policy and Privacy Principles are available in multiple languages.  To view these, click the links on the right of the E-Verify Privacy Questions and Answers page.

We also encourage our own E-Verify employees and their colleagues within USCIS to take privacy seriously by attending annual educational events focusing on the latest privacy issues, solutions and policies. 
By keeping yourself informed and keeping our employees in the know, we can all ensure your private records are safe.

E-Verify is the free, web-based service that allows employers to quickly confirm the employment eligibility of new employees.  Learn more at


13 April 2012

Meet the USCIS Entrepreneurs in Residence Tactical Team

USCIS has partnered with business experts to improve the way we approach the employment-based and high-skilled visa categories used by immigrant entrepreneurs. Director Alejandro Mayorkas kicked-off this innovative program, called the Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR) initiative, with an Information Summit in Silicon Valley in February. Now, USCIS has entered a new phase of the initiative by bringing together the EIR Tactical Team. For 90 days this collaborative team, comprised of both USCIS employees and entrepreneurs from the private sector, will identify opportunities where USCIS can streamline pathways for foreign entrepreneurs. Team members began their work at USCIS in late March. Last week, they traveled to the California Service Center and met with USCIS officers to discuss the visa categories most often used by immigrant entrepreneurs: H-1B, L-1 E-1, E-2, and O-1.

EIR team members come from diverse backgrounds and offer vast business and immigration expertise. The USCIS employees are seasoned professionals with experience in employment-based immigration. The entrepreneurs bring a wide-range of real-world startup experience, including product development, investment and finance, and technology innovation. Together, they have worked with private companies, non-profits, students, and domestic and international startups at all stages of the startup lifecycle. You can read complete team member bios on our website.

Team members include (listed alphabetically):
  • Luis Arbulu, Founder and Managing Partner, Hattery
  • Sunny Choi, Associate Counsel , USCIS Office of Chief Counsel
  • Robert H. Cox, Associate Counsel, USCIS Office of Chief Counsel
  • Liz Elkiss, Counselor to the Director, USCIS
  • Paul Ford, Vice President, Community Development, SoftLayer Technologies
  • Ted Gonder, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Moneythink
  • Mark E. Harvey, Supervisory Immigration Services Officer, USCIS California Service Center
  • Efren Hernandez, Senior Advisor, USCIS Office of Policy and Strategy
  • Tanya Howrigan, Supervisory Immigration Services Officer, USCIS Vermont Service Center
  • Julia C. Kennedy, Adjudications Officer, USCIS Service Center Operations
  • Emery Moore, Supervisory Immigration Officer, USCIS Vermont Service Center
  • Blake Patton, Entrepreneur in Residence, Advanced Technology Development Center
  • Paul Singh, Partner, 500 Startups
  • Catherina Sun, Assistant Center Director, USCIS California Service Center
  • Natalie Tynan, USCIS Office of Policy and Strategy
We are excited for the opportunity to bring together a dynamic team of industry experts and talented USCIS employees to explore ways to better serve our customers and promote American prosperity and job creation. To read more about this program or employment-based immigration visit

05 April 2012

The Office of Public Engagement Wants to Hear from You

Have an idea that you’d like to share with us?

The USCIS Office of Public Engagement seeks to provide opportunities to address the questions and concerns that you may have. We currently host engagements on a variety of topics, including multilingual engagements and regularly scheduled meetings with state and local government stakeholders, and we’re looking for your feedback.

Is there a topic that you would like for us to cover or a community that we need to reach out to? Let us know!

We welcome your input on issues related to USCIS procedures, operations and outreach initiatives. Your comments and opinions will help ensure that future engagements cover the topics that you’re interested in hearing about.

Please submit your suggestions for engagement topics to us at

For more information on upcoming events, please be sure to visit us at or follow USCIS on Twitter at

We look forward to hearing from you!