Phase I: Presidential Memorandum on Modernizing and Streamlining the U.S. Immigrant Visa System


On November 21, 2014, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum directing the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security to lead an interagency effort, in consultation with private and nonfederal public stakeholders, to develop within 120 days recommendations on streamlining and reforming the Nation’s legal immigration system, while safeguarding the interests of American workers, including recommendations to:

(i) Streamline and improve the legal immigration system—including immigrant and nonimmigrant 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;

(ii) ensure that administrative policies, practices, and systems use all of the immigrant visa numbers that Congress provides for and intends to be issued, consistent with demand; and

(iii) 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 of the system.

The Memorandum further directs the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security to establish metrics for measuring progress in implementing these recommendations and in achieving service-level improvements, taking into account the Federal Government’s responsibility to protect the integrity of U.S. borders and promote economic opportunity for all workers.

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