E.g., 04/13/2024
E.g., 04/13/2024
Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy: Building a Responsive, Effective Immigration System
August 12, 2019

Migration Policy Institute, First Floor

Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy: Building a Responsive, Effective Immigration System

Multimedia Tabs


Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy: Building a Responsive, Effective Immigration System


Carlos Gutierrez, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce; Chair, Albright Stonebridge Group
Cecilia Muñoz, former Director of White House Domestic Policy Council; Vice President, Public Interest Technology and Local Initiatives, New America

Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow and Director, U.S. Policy Program, Migration Policy Institute (MPI)

Julia Gelatt, Senior Policy Analyst, MPI


Andrew Selee, President, MPI

The U.S. immigration system is widely acknowledged as being broken. Despite multiple attempts, solutions have proven elusive for administrations and Congress for more than two decades.

The evidence of dysfunction is in every direction: Vastly oversubscribed categories for employment visas, deep disagreement between Washington and many state and local governments about immigration enforcement and policy priorities, political paralysis over what to do about a long-settled unauthorized population, years-long caseloads tied up in the immigration court system, sharp pullbacks in refugee admissions and other humanitarian programs, and, most recently, a protracted migration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.

As the United States is mired in inaction, its legal immigration system resting on laws dating back to 1965 and 1990, other major immigrant-destination countries have created flexible, modernized immigration systems. What changes are needed to overcome the failings of the current system and meet U.S. economic and security interests in the decades ahead? What values and principles should guide future immigration policymaking?

To answer these and similar questions, the Migration Policy Institute is launching a major new initiative—Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy—that aims to generate a big-picture, evidence-driven vision of the role immigration can and should play in America’s future. This multi-year initiative will provide research, analysis, and policy ideas and proposals—both administrative and legislative—that reflect new realities and needs if immigration is to continue to be a comparative advantage for the United States as a society. Key topics will include employment based-immigration, humanitarian programs, and immigration enforcement.  

Historically, immigration policymaking and legislation have only succeeded through across-the-aisle cooperation and consensus-building. This initiative is animated by a commitment to re-energizing such bipartisanship in shaping and advancing feasible solutions.

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