Jennifer B. Higgins, Deputy Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Jennifer B. Higgins was appointed as the USCIS deputy director on Jan. 31, 2022.
Experience and Achievements
Prior to this appointment, she served in a variety of leadership positions during her more than two decades of federal service, including serving as the acting chief of staff at DHS since September 2021 and the associate director for the Refugee, Asylum and International Operations Directorate (RAIO) from January 2017 to 2021.
Higgins has focused her career on administering the United States’ long-standing humanitarian and immigration programs consistent with our laws, values, and national security mandate. Of note, she spearheaded the development and continuous improvement of security vetting protocols, created a human-centered design approach to enhance adjudicative and procedural efficiency, initiated resilience and engagement programs to support and empower the workforce, and served as a senior advisor to the USCIS director on immigration reform in 2015.
Higgins also served as the chief of staff for the DHS Deputy Secretary from 2016-2017, advising DHS leadership on refugee, immigration and national security issues while managing daily operations. From 2007-2016, Higgins held key leadership positions within RAIO, first as the branch chief for Asylum Operations and then as the deputy chief for the Refugee Affairs Division; she was appointed to the Senior Executive Service as the RAIO deputy associate director in 2014.
Higgins began her federal career in 1999 as a Presidential Management Fellow with the Immigration and Naturalization Service’s Office of International Affairs. Upon completion of her fellowship in 2001, she joined the Refugee Affairs Division as an immigration officer.
Higgins has been honored with several awards in recognition of her contributions throughout her career including: the 2021 Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Service; the DHS Secretary's Outstanding Service Medal in 2019; the DHS Secretary's Unity of Effort Award in 2019; the DHS Secretary’s Distinguished Service medal in 2017; the 2016 Director’s Exceptional Service award, USCIS’ highest award; the USCIS 2010 Manager of the Year Award; the 2006 USCIS Compass Award; and the 2002 INS Commissioner’s Challenge Award.
Higgins holds a master's degree in comparative politics from American University.