An Introduction by the New Director of USCIS, Leon Rodriguez
Hello Beacon readers! On July 9, I was sworn in as the fourth USCIS director and have had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know the wonderful people who work for this remarkable organization. Of all my duties as director, I must admit that having an opportunity to participate in and administer naturalization ceremonies has been especially important to me.
On July 22, I had the honor of swearing in new Americans at a naturalization ceremony hosted at the Department of Justice by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. This was my very first naturalization ceremony as USCIS director - and I can't imagine a more meaningful and moving experience as the son and grandson of immigrants who became American citizens. In fact, 50 years ago, I stood next to my parents as they took the Oath of Allegiance.
I was truly humbled to administer the Oath and congratulate 73 proud new citizens from 52 countries on their successful path to U.S. citizenship. There was an overwhelming amount of excitement and pride in the faces of those being naturalized in the Great Hall at the Department of Justice. Now I know why my predecessors said participating in naturalization ceremonies is the best part of the job. I look forward to more.
I am grateful and honored that President Obama asked me to lead the 18,000 men and women of USCIS. I believe that I was chosen for this position because of two elements of my professional background that don't typically go side-by-side. I've spent most of my career in law enforcement defending against all types of criminal justice threats. But a significant part of that background includes defending the most fundamental rights we have as Americans – our civil rights.
Our mission at USCIS is to secure America's promise - to welcome those who have earned our nation's welcome, encourage them to become citizens, and guard against those who would cause us harm. My job is to make sure we apply the laws fairly and with consistency, integrity and compassion.
Over the coming months, I look forward to pursuing a dialogue with you to ensure we continue to be the best and brightest beacon for all who wish to call America their new home.