The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency is responsible for handling all matters pertaining to immigration and the granting of citizenship to non-nationals. USCIS awards an average of one million green cards, 700,000 naturalizations and one million temporary work permits each year. The agency has been criticized for not keeping up with immigration requests, allowing backlogs to occur. USCIS raised fees it charges to immigrants seeking visas or citizenship, a move that prompted more criticism from Congress and others.
A former U.S. Attorney who was involved in a controversial clemency decision during the Clinton years, Alejandro “Ali” Mayorkas has served as director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services since August 2009.