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NPNA Applauds Senate Confirmation of First Woman USCIS Director

Now the real work begins to address application backlogs and reform the agency

WASHINGTON – The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) applauds the Senate for the confirmation of Ur Jaddou as the first woman Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by a vote of 47-34. Jaddou, daughter of Mexican and Iraqi immigrants, will lead an agency in dire need of new leadership to reverse four years of bureaucratic barriers and misguided policies from the previous administration. NPNA is hopeful that the confirmation will provide the political leadership needed to reorient USCIS as a customer-service-oriented agency that efficiently processes immigration benefits and drastically reduces the backlog of naturalization, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and other applications.

“NPNA congratulates Director Jaddou on her confirmation. She brings to her new position decades of experience in immigration law and policy, exercising leadership at USCIS, the Department of State, and Congress, and, most recently, as a dedicated advocate for equal justice with a deep understanding of immigrant communities. Director Jaddou takes the helm of USCIS at a critical moment. The agency is recovering from intentional mismanagement by the Trump administration and struggling with unprecedented application backlogs that complicate the lives of millions of immigrants, including DACA recipients and naturalization applicants. There is urgent work to be done in reviving and reorienting USCIS towards efficiency, reliability, and customer service, and we look forward to working with Director Jaddou to advance this important work,” said Nicole Melaku, executive director of NPNA.

In taking the helm at USCIS, Jaddou will have immediate opportunities to improve the agency and advance immigrant integration priorities that would make citizenship more accessible and meaningful, as advocated by NPNA, including:

  • Reducing the citizenship application fee and expanding access to fee waivers so that more working-class and low-income immigrants can apply

  • Continuing to reverse barriers by the previous administration to streamline the naturalization process for millions of eligible immigrants, as President Joe Biden pledged on the campaign trail

  • Reducing the backlog and processing delays of naturalization applications, currently at over 950,000 applications and averaging almost one year, among other applications

  • Carrying out the administration’s strategy to proactively promote naturalization, in close coordination with other federal agencies and community-based organizations

  • Implementing voluntary, automatic voter registration for newly naturalized citizens