Archived Content

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Archived from our former blog, The Beacon.

USCIS: Our Mission and What We Do Not Do

Release Date:

We know the immigration system can be very complicated and there are several governmental bodies involved in administering, enforcing, and creating the immigration laws in the United States.

We thought it would be helpful for us to summarize both our mission and those things that we do not work on to give our readers a more clear understanding of the system.

Our Mission

First, the following comprises our primary mission:
  • Adjudicate applications and petitions for immigration and citizenship benefits,
  • Detect immigration fraud,
  • Provide information and opportunities for us to address customer needs,
  • Promote an awareness and understanding of citizenship,
  • Ensure the integrity of our immigration system, 
  • Adjudicate refugee and asylum applications filed by those fleeing persecution, and
  • Adjudicate immigration applications for U.S. citizens who are adopting a child from another country.
What We Do Not Do

There are also a number of important roles, tasks and functions that fall outside our jurisdiction. Here are some important things that USCIS does NOT do:
  • Enact new immigration laws. (Laws must be passed by both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate and then signed by the President.)
  • Determine which priority dates are current. (This is the responsibility of the Department of State.)
  • Publish the visa bulletin. (This is the responsibility of the Department of State.)
  • Issue visas. (This is the responsibility of the Department of State.)
  • Process Labor Certifications or certify Labor Condition Applications. (This is the responsibility of the Department of Labor.)
  • Arrest, detain, and enforce the removal of aliens who are removable (deportable) because e.g., they are in the United States illegally or have violated their immigration status. (This is the responsibility of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.)
  • Administer the Student and Exchange Visitor Program. (This is the responsibility of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.)
  • Order the removal (deportation) of aliens from the United States. (This is generally the responsibility of the Executive Office of Immigration Review.)
  • Determine aliens' admissibility at ports of entry (e.g., at airports or land border crossings from Canada or Mexico). (This is the responsibility of Customs and Border Protection.)
Not surprisingly, we are most interested in those aspects of the immigration system that have to do with our mission - and that we can influence. We hope to speak more to those points in our future posts and thank you for your comments.