USCIS Director Ur Jaddou Visited Fresno to Meet with Central Valley Organizations
USCIS Director Ur Jaddou visited Fresno on March 28, 2022, to meet with Central Valley immigrant serving organizations. The meeting was part of a series of visits by Director Jaddou to different regions of California in order to meet and engage with local stakeholders. The Fresno meeting was held in coordination with CVIIC (Central Valley Immigrant Integration Collaborative) and took place at Fresno Adult School.
The meeting in Fresno brought together representatives of nonprofit legal services providers and pro bono attorneys that offer immigrant families in the San Joaquin Valley (encompassing Kern, Kings, Tulare, Fresno, Madera, Merced, Stanislaus, and San Joaquin counties) a wide range of free or low-cost immigration services, including naturalization, DACA renewal, U Visas/T Visas/VAWA, and adjustment of status, among others.
Director Jaddou provided updates on current agency priorities, discussed various changes that have taken place since her arrival to USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), informed of other improvements that are in the process of being carried out, underscored current personnel staffing challenges, and highlighted the importance of establishing and strengthening partnerships with community-based organizations and nonprofit legal services providers.
In turn, representatives of local organizations informed of the changing immigration legal services landscape in the Central Valley, a region with over 900,000 immigrant residents, identified factors that influence responsiveness and access to existing forms of relief, discussed important achievements, such as the approval of a rural legal fellows program and the establishment of a legal defense fund, suggested ways of improving customer service and the acceleration of the process to enable organizations to become accredited. Particular attention was paid to the improvements that have taken place in the development of a stronger nonprofit legal capacity in the region, as well as acknowledging the challenges that remain to serve a large and diverse immigrant community, including new residents from Afghanistan and Ukraine.
CVIIC Executive Director, Jesus Martinez, emphasized the commitment of the Central Valley organizations to the creation of a welcoming and inclusive environment to immigrants who settle in this region. His proposals for collaboration with USCIS made to Director Jaddou included the re-establishment of high-level relations between the national leadership of USCIS and Central Valley organizations to address policy and administrative matters that go beyond the purview of the USCIS Fresno Field Office.