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Ur Jaddou Becomes First Woman to Head USCIS

Jul 30, 2021

Ur Jaddou
Ur Jaddou, Biden’s pick to head USCIS, speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee. Her husband and two daughters sit behind her.

The Senate confirmed Ur Jaddou’s nomination on Friday to head U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), making her the first woman and first person of Arab and Mexican descent to lead the agency.

Jaddou, appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a nomination hearing in May, said she would focus on returning USCIS to firmer financial footing after the agency asked Congress for a billion-dollar bailout last year, as well as address the crippling visa backlogs that have left hundreds of thousands of would-be immigrants in limbo.

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“My most immediate responsibilities if confirmed will be to return the agency to firm solvency, resolve dramatically increasing processing times and backlogs, and utilize 21st-century tools,” she said.

Jaddou, the daughter of Mexican and Iraqi immigrants, has two decades of experience in immigration policy, law, and administration, according to a biography provided by the White House. She served as chief counsel at USCIS from June 2014 to January 2017. She is a graduate of Stanford and UCLA School of Law.

During the May hearing, she argued that her experience and existing relationships with former colleagues gave her a “head start,” and that her goal would be to “ensure the hardworking and dedicated men and women at USCIS have the resources, support, and leadership they need to carry out their roles without undue difficulty. “

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