After years of oversight by temporary acting directors, USCIS finally has a Senate Confirmed Director. President Biden’s pick to head the agency, Ur Jaddou, was confirmed in a 47-34 vote by the Senate on July 30. Jaddou will be the first woman to serve as Director of USCIS.
In a statement released shortly after her confirmation, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas congratulated Jaddou and thanked the Senate for confirming her. The DHS secretary went on to say that Jaddou, “will administer our Nation’s immigration system fairly and justly.”
Prior to her nomination as USCIS Director Jaddou served as majority chief counsel for the US House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, General Counsel for USCIS, and as director of DHS Watch, an advocacy group dedicated to upholding “an immigration system that is competently administered.”
Although Republicans were opposed to Jaddou’s nomination, she has been praised as eminently qualified for the job. Former USCIS director, Leon Rodriguez, called Jaddou “the most substantively prepared nominee in the history of the agency”, and Senate Judiciary Chairman Richard J. Durbin, said Jaddou “may be the most qualified person ever to be nominated for this job.”
Jaddou’s nomination was also endorsed by USCIS’ employee union. Daniel Spooner, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 119, which represents USCIS employees, said that Jaddou’s “knowledge and experience in immigration law will go far in healing the dysfunctional policies of the past few years and put in place policies that will secure the homeland while supporting a solid immigration program that benefits all involved.”
Jaddou’s experience will certainly come in handy in managing USCIS, and many hope she is exactly what the agency needs to get back on track. In recent years, USCIS has struggled to manage an ever increasing caseload of petitions in a timely manner, leading to a large backlog of approved cases waiting to receive visas. EB-5 investors everywhere want these issues addressed and Jaddou’s confirmation certainly seems like a step in the right direction.
During a senate hearing earlier this year, when asked what her immediate responsibilities would be as USCIS director, Jaddou responded that she aims “to return the agency to firm solvency, resolve dramatically increasing processing times and backlogs, and utilize 21st-century tools”. In that hearing Jaddou went on to say that she would have “a running start” when it comes to addressing visa backlogs, pointing out that her own experience at USCIS gives her a better understanding of what USCIS policies and guidelines create processing delays.
While it remains to be seen exactly how Jaddou plans to address visa backlogs and other issues faced by USCIS, it is certainly encouraging for the agency’s future to have a director explicitly focused on tackling these problems.