USCIS Director Ur Jaddou Joins College and University Presidents for Discussion on Higher Education, Immigration, and Racial Equity

USCIS previewed strategies for reducing backlogs and attracting international students

February 22, 2022
Contact: Jose Magaña-Salgado (

Washington, D.C.— On Wednesday February 16, the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration and the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) hosted a conversation with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Ur Jaddou and HBCU and other university presidents on the importance of a just and equitable immigration system for immigrant and international students, and the immigration priorities of higher education institutions. 

The virtual discussion focused on the ways in which our public policies and institutions can collectively strive for greater inclusivity, diversity, justice, and equity; and what more we can do to better understand the intersectionality of immigration and racial equity, particularly in light of ongoing data releases from the Higher Ed Immigration Portal regarding the number of undocumented, DACA, and international student enrollments in the United States. 

Ms. Ur M. Jaddou, Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), said: “USCIS is eager to deepen our partnerships with HBCUs and other higher education institutions, and to join efforts to cultivate the next generation of remarkable talent, including through increased access to careers in the federal government. The agency recognizes the cultural and educational importance of HBCUs in establishing a more just and equitable education system, including for immigrants, and we are vested fully in helping to welcome students from around the world to your prestigious institutions.”

Mr. Ronald Mason, Jr., J.D., President, University of the District of Columbia (UDC), said:As an HBCU and the only public institution of higher learning in and for the nation’s capital, UDC knows immigrants and international students are important to the vibrancy of our campus and we are proud to support undocumented students, DACA recipients, TPS and political asylum seekers, and international students.  These conversations are essential and make clear the tension between the American ideal that all people are created equal and our immigration and socio-economic system that in many ways acts the opposite.” 

Dr. Michael J. Sorrell, President, Paul Quinn College, stated: “It is impossible to overstate the damage the Trump Presidency did in this area. We should never be a country where the American Dream is out of reach simply because of the color of one’s skin or the country of one’s birth is deemed less desirable than others. At Paul Quinn, our hope is that we move beyond discussions into action that leads to permanent solutions.”

Dr. Belinda S. Miles, President, Westchester Community College, noted: “Community colleges are known as ‘democracy’s colleges,’ embracing inclusion and welcoming veterans, women, people of color, immigrants, refugees, and international students who might not otherwise have access to post-secondary educational opportunities. Our focus on advancing racial equity begins with fostering a sense of belonging for all students.”

Dr. Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, Chancellor, University of Massachusetts Boston, said: “In Boston, as in our country, immigration is at once history and destiny. It is the story of how our city came to be in its present form and it is the future as the fastest growing sector of the U.S. child and emerging adult populations are the children of immigrants. In the current era, migrations are complex, multi-determined, and changing. At UMass Boston, we are proud to be an ‘immigrant serving institution’ and to lead on a series of initiatives to meet this new reality.”

Dr. Miriam Feldblum, Executive Director, Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, said: “Understanding how the intersection of immigration and racial equity shapes the impact of immigration policy and the experiences of students is vital for higher education and the country as a whole. To advance more equitable immigration policies, we need to understand the diversity of our student populations: for example, while Latinx students account for close to 49 percent of all undocumented students in higher education, Asian students account for 24 percent, and Black students close to 13 percent. This discussion and the ongoing leadership and work of the speakers moves us closer to that vision of equitable institutions and an equitable country.”



The nonpartisan, nonprofit Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration brings college and university presidents and chancellors together on the immigration issues that impact higher education, our students, campuses, communities and nation. We work to advance just immigration policies and practices at the federal, state, and campus level that are consistent with our heritage as a nation of immigrants and the academic values of equity and openness. The Alliance is composed of over 500 presidents and chancellors of public and private colleges and universities, enrolling over five million students in 43 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico.