Ex-Citizenship and Immigration Services chief returns to DHS in different role

Ex-Citizenship and Immigration Services chief returns to DHS in different role
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The former head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has returned to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in a policy role.

A DHS spokesperson told The Hill in a statement Thursday that Lee Francis Cissna has "assumed new duties" in the department's policy office.

“Prior to his appointment as the Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Francis Cissna was a career official in the Department’s Office of Policy, where he has assumed new duties,” the official said.

Cissna's return to DHS was first reported by BuzzFeed News. The news outlet reported that some officials were surprised by Cissna's return earlier this week.


“It’s like having your ex over for holidays with your new in-laws," an administration official told the news outlet. "Super awkward.”

"Given the way the administration disposed of him so publicly from USCIS, it's hard to see how he'll be able to get anything done in this key immigration policy office at DHS," a USCIS official was quoted saying in the story.

Cissna served as USCIS director from October 2017 through June of this year. He reportedly sent a letter to staff at the time of his resignation saying that he was leaving "at the request of the President."

The former agency head departed his role amid a shakeup of DHS earlier this year, which included the exit of former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenLeft-leaning group to track which companies hire former top Trump aides Rosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' House Republican condemns anti-Trump celebrities during impeachment hearing MORE amid broader efforts to implement the president's immigration agenda.

Kevin McAleenan took over as acting DHS secretary in mid-April and announced in June that Ken Cuccinelli would take over as the new acting director of USCIS, replacing Cissna.

Updated: 5:43 p.m.