Although United States has long relied on immigration to fuel productivity, maintain a competitive edge, and drive the dynamism that characterizes American society, the nation’s overburdened immigration system—the breakdown of which has manifested in an alarmingly large unauthorized population—is no longer serving America’s needs. Based upon a careful analysis of economic, social, and demographic factors driving today’s large-scale immigration, the culminating report of the Independent Task Force on Immigration and America’s Future seeks to design a new and simplified immigration regime that averts illegal immigration, and at the same time, harnesses the benefits of immigration for the future. Task Force proposals target reform in three key areas: admissions, enforcement, and integration.
In order to better meet family unification and labor market goals, the redesigned admission system features a new provisional visa program that bridges the transitional gap between existing temporary and permanent streams. The Task Force also calls for the creation of an independent Standing Commission responsible for making regular recommendations to Congress for adjusting immigration levels based on analyses of labor market needs, unemployment patterns, and changing economic and demographic trends.
Greater flexibility in immigrant admissions is balanced with enhanced enforcement mechanisms including mandatory employer verification, secure biometric Social Security cards, infrastructure improvements at ports of entry, and systematic efforts to constrain terrorist mobility. In addition, the Task Force responds to unauthorized flows, which seem to increase despite significant investments at the border, by recommending an annual evaluation of border enforcement effectiveness and investments in cost-effective “smart border” measures.
Finally, the Task Force gives prominence to integration as a critical dimension of the new immigration system. The plan acknowledges the critical economic and social role immigrants will play in America’s future by establishing a National Office of Immigrant Integration charged with leveraging state and local integration efforts, and seeks to address the existing unauthorized population by creating a path to legal status.
II. Why Is Immigration Important?
The economy and demography of the 21st century
Immigration and the identity of the country
Foreign policy and national security
III. WhatIs Wrong with US Immigration Policy and Practice?
The legal immigration selection system
Filling a vacuum: state and local roles
IV. An Immigration Policy and System for the 21st Century
The current debate
V. Attracting the Immigrants the United States Wants and Needs
Numbers and categories of immigration
Flexibility in the immigration system: The Standing Commission on Immigration and Labor Markets
VI. Enforcing the Rules
Enforcement at US borders
Immigration enforcement and national security
VII. Immigrant Integration
Integration policy challenges
The unauthorized population
VIII. Strengthening Institutional Capacity
Policy processes and interagency coordination
Implementing new mandates
IX. The Regional Context ofImmigration