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


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.{mosads}

“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 Nielsen 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.

Tags Department of Homeland Security DHS Kirstjen Nielsen Lee Francis Cissna U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services USCIS

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video