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Top Trump administration immigration official to appear at hate group event

The head of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is scheduled to appear next week at an event hosted by an anti-immigrant hate group that’s part of a network of organizations founded by white nationalist John Tanton.

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) announced today that Lee Francis Cissna would participate in its “Immigration Newsmaker conversation” at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 15.

“It’s disgraceful that Francis Cissna would agree to put the weight of his office – and the U.S. government – behind a hate group that exists solely to vilify immigrants,” said Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project.

“But none of us should be surprised. It’s just one more example of the strong bond between this administration and far-right extremists who will stop at nothing to fuel rage and resentment against immigrants of color.”

The CIS has been widely criticized by producing shoddy research that demonizes immigrants with falsehoods.

Cissna, who has been praised by many anti-immigrant groups, announced in February 2018 that the USCIS would revise its mission statement to remove a phrase describing the United States as “a nation of immigrants.”

The USCIS, part of the Department of Homeland Security, processes applications for visas, naturalization and asylum, and manages other immigration functions not related to enforcement.

Photo by iStockphoto.