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Meet Leon Rodriguez, New Immigration Director

As a trusted San Diego immigration law firm, we thought it’d be fitting to share a bit of information about our country’s new immigration director. Within two months of being sworn in as the new head of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Director Leon Rodriguez is already feeling the burden of leadership. The Brooklyn native was confirmed by the U.S Senate in June 2014, and he assumed his duties a month later.

Director Rodriguez was raised in Miami. His early career in public office includes the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Pennsylvania, the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice, and the Office for Civil Rights at Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C.
After taking his oath of office, Director Rodriguez stressed the importance of immigration to the future of the country. His first appearance before Congress was highly practical: He admitted that USCIS has been fighting an uphill battle in trying to digitize the mountains of paperwork that the agency has amassed for decades. Since 2008, the process of going paperless at the USCIS has been going painfully slow, and it will eat up $1.7 billion of the federal budget.

A few years ago, the USCIS estimated that the effort of switching from paper to electronic files could be accomplished by 2013; however, this projection has been revised to 2018. One of the problems that USCIS is facing is that the current computer infrastructure at the agency is too old and not up to the task of transforming into a paperless environment.

Even the new electronic tools installed at USCIS are lagging. The Electronic Immigration System (ELIS) is far from ideal; individual cases are taking twice as long as their paper counterparts to be processed. Director Rodriguez is hoping that a new cloud system from the Department of Homeland Security can be adapted to improve the process.

Possible Expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Members of Congress were quick to tap the legal expertise of Director Rodriguez with regard to DACA, the White House initiative that seeks to grant a sort of amnesty to millions of undocumented immigrants. Director Rodriguez explained that he could see President Obama expanding DACA benefits and that it would all be perfectly legal. This means that more undocumented immigrants could get identification cards and employment authorization, and this could be accomplished under existing law. DACA expansion, however, would face heavy political opposition from the Republican Party.

Have other questions about current immigration policies? Contact KS Visa Law today at 858-874-0711. We offer free consultations and can provide assistance and advice on a wide spectrum of topics from family immigration in San Diego to naturalization and consulate processing. Reach out to us with any questions you may have about immigration – we look forward to hearing from you.

April 2017
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