Posted by CIS Ombudsman Maria M. Odom
Last week, the Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman (Ombudsman’s Office) hosted its Second Annual Conference at the National Archives. I was pleased to welcome over 250 attendees, including Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas, to discuss improving the delivery of immigration benefits and services through inter-agency coordination. Other guests included representatives from community and faith-based organizations, immigration practitioners, members of the business community and government leaders from USCIS, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), as well as the Departments of Defense, Justice and State.
At the conference, I invited attendees to discuss their common goal of finding solutions to inter-agency challenges in the delivery of immigration services. I invited a renewed engagement because what we learn from stakeholders and government partners, as well as through individual case-work, informs our work at the Ombudsman’s Office. Throughout the day, panel discussions addressed topics such as the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program (MAVNI), Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), L-1 adjudications, Judicial Review of Immigration Decisions, Security in the Adjudications Process, and Government Accountability, among others.
During her keynote remarks, Secretary Napolitano said, “Managing the immigration system requires teamwork and cooperation among DHS agencies like USCIS and ICE and CBP, but also inter-agency partners like the Departments of Justice and State and the Social Security Administration. Equally important is the Ombudsman’s role in helping identify problems to USCIS so they may accomplish their mission with integrity, consistency and fairness.”
On behalf of the Ombudsman's Office, I want to thank the speakers and panelists, as well as the many stakeholders who participated in the conference. Additional information summarizing the dialogue that took place during the conference will be posted online in the coming weeks.
For more information, visit the CIS Ombudsman’s page here.