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Lori Scialabba, Acting Director

Background Experience/Significant Achievements:

Lori Scialabba was appointed Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on Dec. 23, 2013. She had served as Deputy Director of USCIS since May 2011.

From 2006 to 2011, Ms. Scialabba was Associate Director of USCIS Refugee, Asylum and International Operations. She concurrently served, from 2007 to 2009, as a senior advisor to former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff on issues affecting Iraqi refugees.

In 2009, Ms. Scialabba received a Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award for sustained accomplishments; this award is among the highest offered to federal employees.

Before joining the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Ms. Scialabba worked for the Department of Justice (DOJ), where from 2003 to 2006 she was Chairman of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) in the Executive Office for Immigration Review. She had served as Vice Chairman since 1999.

Ms. Scialabba began her career in October 1985, with DOJ through the Attorney General’s Honors Program. After working as a trial attorney for the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in Chicago, where she litigated deportation cases, she served from 1986 to 1989 as Assistant General Counsel for INS Headquarters. In 1989, she joined the Civil Division in DOJ’s Office of Immigration Litigation, where she defended immigration cases in federal courts.

In 1994, Ms. Scialabba joined the Senior Executive Service as Deputy General Counsel for INS.

In 1998, Ms. Scialabba was selected as a member of the BIA, where during her tenure she had responsibility for day-to-day operations. She also managed the Board’s reorganization and the streamlining of more than 120,000 cases.


Lori Scialabba received her bachelor’s degree in 1982 from the University of Maryland and her Juris Doctorate in 1985 from Memphis State University. She also attended the Senior Managers in Government program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 01/22/2014