WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced the grand opening of the USCIS Academy Training Center in South Carolina at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center – Charleston campus.
USCIS Deputy Director Lori Scialabba and FLETC Director Connie Patrick served as keynote speakers at today’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, where they welcomed 160 students to the five-week residential Immigration Services Officer BASIC class.
The ATC, which recently relocated from Dallas, provides immigration-related training to immigration services officers, adjudications officers, intelligence research specialists, immigration officers, refugee and asylum officers, and non-officer corps employees. In nearly a decade, the academy has delivered first-rate education and preparation to more than 8,000 USCIS employees, who serve as gatekeepers to the U.S. immigration system.
“Our mission is to create a world-class immigration services officer corps,” said ATC Director Carolynn D. Vernon. “At the ATC, we not only build immigration expertise, but foster a culture that honors public service, emphasizes the significance of national security and cultivates the highest level of professionalism and ethical conduct.”
ISO BASIC is the initial training provided to immigration services officers. It provides the necessary skills and tools to adjudicate cases, interpret the law, understand policies, precedent decisions and legal trends, how to write legal decisions along with teaching non-adversarial interview techniques. The ATC trained 735 officers in fiscal year 2015 and plans on training 1,028 in fiscal 2016 and 810 in fiscal 2017.
In addition to the ISO BASIC program, the academy also facilitates fraud detection seminars. The ATC also oversees the Immigration Overview course for Non-Adjudicators taught by training officers at USCIS offices nationwide. The IONA course provides an immigration law and policy overview for non-officer corps employees. The ATC will be piloting more advanced immigration training in its ISO journeyman program, scheduled to launch in April.
“I believe that law enforcement, and any profession, is best served when diverse groups have opportunities to bring their skills and experiences to bear. We are happy to have USCIS form part of our team,” said FLETC Director Connie Patrick.
The FLETC campus allows the Department of Homeland Security to fully maximize its training space, while enabling USCIS to make best use of its training budget. USCIS previously conducted BASIC training at FLETC’s Glynco, Georgia facility until moving to Dallas in 2008. Returning the ISO BASIC training to a DHS facility allows USCIS students and staff a chance to develop collaborative partnerships and networking with other DHS agencies.
The 203-acre facility includes classroom buildings and breakout rooms, an auditorium, dining facility, dormitories, cardio and weight training rooms, an aquatic center, a student center with a deli-coffee shop, movie theater, basketball court, computer lab and study rooms. USCIS will be occupying a renovated wing in the main classroom building that hosts eight new training classrooms, breakout rooms and mock interviewing offices.