How Biden’s USCIS Director Nominee Could Change the Agency

Ever since President Biden’s assumption of office on January 20, 2021, he has been rolling out extensive initiatives to modernize and solve existing efficiencies in the U.S. immigration system. Among these measures, the president has introduced the U.S. Citizenship Act of 202 ––although unpassed as of June 2021––aimed at reforming United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) through the removal of country-based quotas for yearly visa allocations and pushing unused visas in a given program over to the next fiscal year, expanding that year’s visa limit. Most notably, however, President Biden has nominated Ur Jaddou––a seasoned immigration administration professional––to the post of director of USCIS. In her congressional confirmation hearing on May 26, 2021, the nominee made a firm commitment to Congress that she would do everything in her power to reduce visa backlogs at USCIS and make the U.S. immigration process more efficient––a promise particularly helpful to EB-5 investment program applicants.

A Brief Look into Ur Jaddou’s Background

Ms. Ur Jaddou boasts an impressive resume of knowledge of and experience with the U.S. immigration system. Before her nomination, Jaddou held numerous prestigious immigration law positions such as majority chief counsel for the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, director of DHS Watch––a 501c(3) organization that advocates for a well-functioning U.S. immigration system––and general counsel for USCIS itself.

When Jaddou worked as USCIS general counsel, her boss, the director—Leon Rodriguez—testified that given Jaddou’s long history of dedication to public service and improving the immigration system, she is undoubtedly “the most substantively prepared nominee in the history of [USCIS].” Not only is her nomination supported by a former USCIS director, but she is also backed by the USCIS employee union. The union’s president, Mr. Daniel Spooner, also attested to Jaddou’s unmatched ability to solve immigration backlogs and significantly smoothen the immigration process for foreign nationals wanting to immigrate to the United States. If Jaddou is confirmed, Spooner believes, USCIS will benefit from a myriad of effective policies that ensure security, boost efficiency, and create an immigration system that work for both immigrants and the United States.

How Jaddou Will Improve USCIS

Jaddou, unlike other prospective nominees for the post, has an impressive track record of reforming USCIS from the inside as a former agency employee herself. Her knowledge and intellect, combined with her previous professional experience, would prove imperative in the effective betterment of USCIS compared to others who have never worked with USCIS before.

As most EB-5 investment participants, as well as other immigrants to the United States, already know, USCIS is plagued with efficiencies and backlogs due to a severe lack of funding. If confirmed for the job, Ur Jaddou has promised she will make the most out of both manpower and 21st century technology to modernize the agency, address backlogs, and make the U.S. immigration process more bearable for everybody.

How Jaddou Will Change the Experience of EB-5 Investment Participants

As many Chinese and Vietnamese EB5 investment participants are already all too familiar with, throughout 2020, USCIS faced significant backlogs and delayed processing times of EB-5 investment program applications. This is partly caused by USCIS’s lack of an official, Senate-confirmed director since 2019. Thus, with the nomination of Ur Jaddou, many Chinese and Vietnamese investors––and EB-5 investors from everywhere else––who, as of June 2021, cannot yet obtain their conditional green card to live in the United States despite satisfactory EB-5 investment requirements, should expect a brighter future in their path to U.S. permanent residency should Jaddou be confirmed by the Senate.

Beyond the immediate impacts of Jaddou’s nomination and possible confirmation to the post of USCIS Director, she also represents an important first step in upholding the future viability of the EB-5 Regional Center Program. The program, as authorized by the United States Congress, is set to terminate on June 30, 2021 and needs congressional reapproval for its continued existence. EB-5 stakeholders hope that if Jaddou is confirmed, this reapproval process will prove significantly smoother for both applicants and their families.