Tell the President how to improve US immigration

President Obama has issued a new directive for his Administration to seek out ways to modernize and streamline the U.S. 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 being requested. The Departments of State and Homeland Security have just released a Request for Information in the Federal Register to give the public an opportunity to inform the Administration’s next steps in modernizing the U.S. immigration system. The objective is to ensure thorough input from all stakeholders: employers, visa applicants, policy advocates, and the public at large.


  1. The legal immigration system needs to be improved and its process should be simplified in a reasonable way. Our current immigration system limits the number of green cards which may be granted under the employment-based preference system to 140,000 per year, and under the family-based categories to 226,000 per year. The State Department interprets these numerical caps to include not only the principal beneficiary of the petition, but all the derivative beneficiaries as well. However, this policy is not mandated by law.
    For example, in the case of an employment- or family-based petition, the principal beneficiary is the person who is being sponsored for a green card by his employer/close relative. The derivative beneficiaries are his spouse and children. If he has a spouse and 3 children, this uses up 5 rather than 1 of the employer-or-family-sponsored numbers available. If a number is used only for a principal person and his derivative beneficiaries follow him under his number, then
    long-waiting lines can go faster and burden of long-time waiting can be not so hard.

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