Why have immigration? One in a series

It is a rare day when you come across a crisp vision statement on immigration to the United States. You can find one in the report of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, informally known as the Jordan Commission, for its chair, Barbara Jordan, a former Democratic Congresswoman from Texas.

The Commission examined and made recommendations on virtually every aspect of the immigration system: family reunification, employment-based immigration, enforcement measures to stem unauthorized immigration, and numerical limits on all classes of immigrants, non-immigrants, and asylees.

Between 1994 and 1997 it issued four reports. In the past report, Becoming An American: Immigration and Immigrant Policy, the Commission defined a vision in 90 words:

“Properly-regulated immigration and immigrant policy serves the national interest by ensuring the entry of those who will contribute most to our society and helping lawful newcomers adjust to life in the United States. It must give due consideration to shifting economic realities. A well-regulated system sets priorities for admission; facilitates nuclear family reunification; gives employers access to a global labor market while protecting U.S. workers; helps to generate jobs and economic growth; and fulfills our commitment to resettle refugees as one of several elements of humanitarian protection of the persecuted.”

More information about the Commission is here. The Commission recommended a 30% reduction in legal immigration, which then was trending about 675,000 a year (it is now about one million).


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