U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Lee Francis Cissna is facing scrutiny as president Trump is in the middle of a shake up within the DHS.
Cissna is being accused of being unable to control his department or to implement new rules on asylum that would allow the US to deport unqualified asylum seekers immediately and prevent much of the backlog of 700,000 cases we have unresolved today. Many people think he will be the next to go as the president is looking for tougher people to take on the challenges we now face.
Cissna does not fit that bill.
A senior administration official blamed USCIS under Cissna’s leadership for failing to take control of the bureaucracy and push through regulations that would put more scrutiny on migrants seeking to claim asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The scrutiny on Cissna comes days after the president requested the resignation of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen as he reportedly considers dismissing other top level DHS officials.
“The bottleneck at USCIS has been particularly severe,” the official said, adding that many of the White House’s grievances with the agency “can best be dealt with through management issues” and that “the biggest area where USCIS dropped the ball is the asylum division.”
A USCIS official responded to accusations that Cissna was not taking aggressive enough action by noting that “Congress must act to help fix the persisting abuse of our asylum system by raising the statutory standard for credible fear. The extremely low bar established by Congress is being exploited by those seeking to game the system,” adding that “at the end of January 2018, USCIS instituted ‘Last In, First Out’ interview scheduling and adjudication of asylum claims, leading to a 30% drop in what we believe to be frivolous filings to date, when compared to the rate of filings received prior to the change.”