L. Francis Cissna

Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 2017 - 2019

Experience and Achievements

L. Francis Cissna was sworn in as Director of USCIS on October 8, 2017.

From 2005 to 2017, Mr. Cissna served in various capacities within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  Most recently, he served as the Director, Immigration Policy within the DHS Office of Policy, during which time he was selected for a detail to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, where he worked on immigration-related legislation.

Prior to that, Mr. Cissna served as the Acting Director and Deputy Director, Immigration and Border Security Policy in the DHS Office of Policy.  During that time, he led the DHS Comprehensive Immigration Reform “War Room,” which coordinated the efforts of DHS’ various component agencies with the White House and the Congress on a comprehensive immigration reform bill.  Before serving at DHS headquarters, he worked in the USCIS Office of the Chief Counsel as an Associate Counsel in the Adjudications Law Division.

Before joining the USCIS Chief Counsel’s Office, Mr. Cissna was a private immigration attorney with the law firm of Kaufman & Canoles in Richmond, Virginia.

Mr. Cissna had also previously worked in government as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State, where he served in the immigrant visa section at the U.S. Consulate in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and then as chief of the nonimmigrant visa section at the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.

Prior to his government service, Mr. Cissna was an associate attorney at the law firms of Steptoe & Johnson LLP in Washington, D.C., and Kirkpatrick & Lockhart LLP in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.


Mr. Cissna received his Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. He received a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University and bachelor’s degrees in both physics and political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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