U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Asked to Resign - NBC Bay Area
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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Asked to Resign

USCIS is now on the verge of finalizing a rule to restrict legal immigrants who use public benefits from receiving green cards, or legal permanent residency

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    In this Dec. 12, 2017, file photo, Lee Francis Cissna, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, speaks during the White House press briefing in Washington.

    The director of the agency overseeing legal entry into the United States, including through green cards and asylum, was asked to resign from the agency on Friday, according to a letter sent out to the agency and obtained by NBC News.

    L. Francis Cissna has served as President Donald Trump’s only director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security. He oversaw the agency during the final iteration of the travel ban, attempts to repeal status for “Dreamers” and the administration’s repeated attempts to limit the ability for undocumented immigrants crossing the southern border from Central America to claim asylum.

    Prior to leading USCIS, Cissna served at DHS in the Office of Policy in the Obama administration and worked for Republican Senator Chuck Grassley. According to a source familiar with Cissna’s resignation, Trump thanked him for his service and asked him to resign.

    Cissna will depart the agency on June 1, according to the letter he sent employees on Friday."As an immigration law and policy professional dedicated to the rule of law like so many of you, I appreciate that this opportunity to serve was a unique experience,” he said in the letter.

    Watch: Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Full Opening Statement at House Hearing on Reparations

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    Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of “The Case for Reparations,” testified before a House Judiciary subcommittee during a hearing on whether the United States should consider compensation for the descendants of slaves. 

    He delivered a rebuttal to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's comments that "no one currently alive was responsible for that," which Coates called a "strange theory of governance." 

    "Well into this century the United States was still paying out pensions to the heirs of civil war soldiers," he said. "We honor treaties that date back some 200 years despite no one being alive who signed those treaties. Many of us would love to be taxed for the things we are solely and individually responsible for. But we are American citizens and this bound to a collective enterprise that extends beyond our individual and personal reach."

    (Published Wednesday, June 19, 2019)