Phyllis A. Coven officially entered on duty as the seventh Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman (CIS Ombudsman) on March 14, 2021. She brings more than two decades of experience working for both the federal government and international organizations leading a wide range of immigration, asylum and refugee initiatives.
Previously, Ms. Coven served as District Director for the two largest U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) District Offices located in New York and Los Angeles; as Acting and Deputy Director of the Office of Detention Policy and Planning within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and overseas as Officer in Charge of USCIS Offices in Amman, Jordan and Johannesburg, South Africa. She also served as Director of the Office of International Affairs under the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), where she was responsible for the operations of the INS’s overseas offices and refugee and asylum divisions. Additionally, she served as Deputy Associate Attorney General and as Special Assistant to the Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice.
Prior to returning to the U.S. Government, Ms. Coven worked for the International Organization for Migration in Geneva, Switzerland as a Policy Liaison and Advisor on the Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact on Migration. Most recently, she supported the United Nations Syria humanitarian response as Senior Coordinator of the Interagency Program on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.