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Former DHS executive to return to be USCIS CIO

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the Homeland Security Department will name Bill McElhaney as its new chief information officer.

Multiple sources confirm that McElhaney will start March 5.

He comes to USCIS from IntegrityOne, where he was a partner for federal strategy for the IT solutions firm.

Bill McElhaney will be the new chief information officer at USCIS.

This will be McElhaney’s second tour at DHS. He spent eight years working at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement directorate, and 13 years at the old Immigration and Naturalization Service.

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He will replace Mark Schwartz who left as USCIS’ CIO in July to join Amazon.

“Bill is a solid pick and the folks at USCIS should be excited about him,” said one source, who requested anonymity in order to talk about a personnel decision. “He has a good background on immigration issues, and he should help USCIS correct some of its technology challenges.”

Sources say McElhaney has been spending time at USCIS for the past few weeks to get to know the office and its priorities.

Keith Jones has been the acting CIO since Schwartz left in July, and it’s expected that Jones will go back to being the principal deputy CIO.

A USCIS spokesman declined to comment on whether McElhaney will be the new CIO.

McElhaney will join a mature IT organization in many aspects. Schwartz led the effort to move USCIS to the cloud and implement a dev/ops approach to modernizing systems.

But at the same time, USCIS has been under pressure for the management of its Electronic Immigration System to process immigrant naturalization and benefits. The DHS inspector general issued a management alert in January 2017 on the ELIS system.

In November, the IG issued a report finding continued challenges with ELIS, including capabilities deployed which did not include critical functionality necessary for end-to-end processing, and the system repeatedly experienced outages and did not always perform as intended.