White House blog: What additional steps can we take to improve our immigration system?

Tuesday, WhiteHouse.gov posted a blog asking what else can be done to improve America’s immigration system. Read the post below and form your own opinions…

Last month, President Obama took action to fix our broken immigration system, including commonsense steps that will help secure the border, bring undocumented immigrants out of the shadows, and make it easier for high-skilled immigrants and entrepreneurs to contribute to our economy.

Congress needs to pass comprehensive immigration reform to fully upgrade our immigration system, and the President has been clear he will continue to pursue bipartisan legislation to do that. But in the meantime, the President also issued a new directive for his Administration to continue to seek out ways to modernize and streamline our immigration system within existing authorities. This Presidential Memorandum directs the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security to lead an effort across government, in consultation with stakeholders, to identify new actions that would:

  • Streamline and improve the legal immigration system — including visa processing — with a focus on reforms that reduce government costs, improve services for applicants, reduce burdens on employers, and combat waste, fraud, and abuse in the system.
  • Ensure that the government issues all of the immigrant visas that Congress provides for every year, consistent with demand.
  • Modernize the information technology infrastructure underlying the visa processing system, with a goal of reducing redundant systems, improving the experience of applicants, and enabling better public and congressional oversight.

These recommendations are due back to the President on March 22, and public input is essential. That’s why the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security recently released a Request for Information in the Federal Register, to give the public an opportunity to inform the Administration’s next steps in modernizing our immigration system. Our goal is to ensure that we have thorough input from all stakeholders: employers, visa applicants, policy advocates, and the public at large.

We want to hear from you. What are the most important policy and operational changes that would improve the processing of visas at our embassies and consulates abroad, the processing of visa-related paperwork here in the United States, and the experience of visa-holders arriving at our ports of entry? What new actions would bolster protections for workers? What are the most effective ways to improve the system for immigration pathways based on family relationships, employment, humanitarian relief, and investment?

Please visit the full Request for Information to see the complete list of questions, along with instructions on how to submit your comments and recommendations by January 29, 2015. You may respond to any or all of the focused questions, or simply submit your general comments.

America needs a 21st century immigration system that supports a growing economy, and that lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. Acting within his legal authority, the President is taking important steps to fix our immigration system as much as he can, and we look forward to your recommendations for what improvements would make the biggest difference.

As the President acts, he’ll continue to work with Congress on a bipartisan bill — like the one passed by the Senate more than a year ago — that will provide a more comprehensive solution to fix our broken immigration system. In the meantime, we can continue to make significant improvements by following through on the President’s actions, so I hope you will take this opportunity to weigh in with your recommendations.