Skip navigation

Strategic Issues ProgRam


Architecture for Reform: Fitting the Pieces of Public Policy

Summary of Recommendations


Recommendation 1: Perspective on Immigration
The panel recommends that global migration be recognized as an opportunity to be capitalized upon to our national benefit, rather than a reality to be ignored.


Recommendation 2: Purpose of Immigration Policy
The panel recommends that the basic purpose of U.S. immigration policy be the creation of economic, social and other benefits to the nation as a whole.

Recommendation 3: Immigration Priorities
The panel recommends that the criterion for ordering immigration priorities and goals be the relative degree of benefit to the United States as a whole compared with the benefit to prospective immigrants.

Recommendation 4: Immigration Goals
The panel recommends that the goals for United States immigration policy be: national security, social vitality, economic advantage, family unification and refugee relief, in that order.

Recommendation 5: Federal, State and Local Legislation
The panel recommends that the federal government define by statute appropriate spheres of legislative activity for itself and for the states.

Recommendation 6: Shared Implementation Responsibility
The panel recommends that Congress establish a shared process of implementation that allocates responsibilities for implementing and enforcing immigration policy among federal, state and local government; balances revenues and costs; and prohibits unfunded federal or state mandates.


Recommendation 7: Characteristics of Immigration Reform
The panel recommends that Congress reform the U.S. immigration system in a comprehensive way so that it is supportive of national goals, responsive to rapidly changing economic conditions, produces predictable results and is as simple, comprehensible and transparent as possible.

Recommendation 8: Simplified Visa Categories
The panel recommends that the visa system be simplified into eight broad visa categories: visitor, student, temporary, convertible, family, provisional, representative and refugee, and that immigrant/non-immigrant distinctions be eliminated.

Recommendation 9: Immigration Management Commission
The panel recommends that Congress establish only a maximum numeric limit for each major category of visa and that the allocation of visas within each major category be handled by an independent Immigration Management Commission to be created by Congress.

Recommendation 10: Employment Visa Process
The panel recommends that the allocation of employment-based visas be based on a collaborative process in which each state presents detailed recommendations to the Immigration Management Commission based upon surveys and face-to-face discussions with employers throughout the state.

Recommendation 11: Per-country Diversity Limits
The panel recommends that per-country diversity limits be increased from 7 percent to 10 percent of the worldwide level of U.S. immigrant admissions and that waivers not be granted to any country to exceed 10 percent.

Recommendation 12: Per-country Diversity Lottery
The panel recommends that the annual diversity lottery be eliminated and its visa allocation be transferred to the convertible visa category.


Recommendation 13: Border Security
The panel recommends that the United States continue efforts to strengthen the security of the U.S. border and that Congress fund the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection at levels required to maintain effective border enforcement.

Recommendation 14: Role of Employers
The panel recommends that employers be recognized as key allies in implementing immigration policy and that they be given the tools and protections necessary to support immigration policy.

Recommendation 15: E-Verify Program
The panel recommends that E-Verify, or a similar program, be made permanent; that employers be required to use the system with secure identification cards to verify employment eligibility of all employees; that employers using the system in good faith be held harmless from enforcement actions; and that employers failing to use the system be subject to significant sanctions.

Recommendation 16: Employment Identification Card
The panel recommends that the United States establish a secure identification card to be used by all employers, along with E-Verify, to ascertain the employment eligibility of all prospective and current employees.


Recommendation 17: English Language
The panel recommends that English language training classes be funded by the federal government and made widely available to participants at an affordable cost; and that no person be granted permanent resident or citizen status without demonstrating a level of proficiency in the English language as defined by Congress.

Recommendation 18: Illegal Immigrants: Policy Timing
The panel recommends that, contemporaneous with the creation of a secure identification card and mandatory use of an employment verification system, Congress create a time-limited Provisional Legal Status (PLS) program for persons illegally in the U.S. and that the PLS program be implemented after employment verification has been required of all employers and issuance of secure identification cards has begun.

Recommendation 19: Illegal Immigrants: Policy Outline
The panel recommends that illegal residents residing in the United States on a date certain and meeting eligibility standards: be required to register for a provisional visa; be permitted to obtain a government-issued employment identification card; be allowed to seek or continue employment or education at any location; and, upon meeting requirements, be given the opportunity to eventually achieve legal permanent resident status.

Recommendation 20: Illegal Immigrants: Public Services
The panel recommends that federal, state and local public benefits for illegal immigrants be strictly limited to those currently required by law and that such benefits not be expanded in the future by any level of government.


Recommendation 21: Number of Employment-based Visas
The panel recommends that the total number of employment-based visas authorized by Congress be increased significantly, to be allocated annually by the Immigration Management Commission based on economic conditions.

Recommendation 22: Convertible Visa for Skilled Workers
The panel recommends creation of a convertible visa category for immigrants with superior education, experience, skills and talent that would allow individuals to change employers and, if eligible, adjust to permanent resident status.

Recommendation 23: Temporary Visas
The panel recommends the creation of a temporary employment visa for seasonal and short-term workers to be established consistent with the standards described in this report.


Recommendation 24: Family-based Immigration
The panel recommends that family-based immigration not be subject to a numerical cap but instead be managed through the number of employment and refugee visas issued.

Recommendation 25: Limitation on Eligible Family Members
The panel recommends that for all purposes, "family members" be defined to include only the spouse, unmarried minor children and parents and that all temporary and permanent family visas and adjustments of status actions be limited only to the members of the immediate family as identified in this recommendation.