Ursula Oaks, NAFSA: Association of International Educators,
Elizabeth Fulk, Heritage Foundation,
Jennifer Cummings, National Foreign Trade Council,
Edmund Rice, Coalition for Employment Through Exports,
WASHINGTON, DC – A diverse coalition of organizations concerned about the current state of U.S. visa policy and its impact on the country’s competitiveness as a destination of choice for academic, exchange, and business visitors from around the world today announced a new set of visa policy recommendations. The coalition partners – the Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange, the Coalition for Employment Through Exports, the Heritage Foundation, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, and the National Foreign Trade Council – set out a series of specific action items for Congress and the Executive Branch, urging “more fundamental reforms… that address legitimate security concerns and keep our nation a welcoming nation.”
Entitled “Realizing the Rice-Chertoff Vision: A National-Interest-Based Visa Policy for the United States,” the new policy proposal emphasizes the important role that visa policy plays in both the security of the United States and its capacity to attract the best talent from other countries, whether to study, conduct research, or do business. While acknowledging the progress that has been made over the past several years to address serious problems in the visa issuance process, the coalition recommendations highlight several areas in which serious barriers remain that hamper the ability of legitimate visitors to come to the United States.
“Realizing the Rice-Chertoff Vision” recommends that Congress:
¨ Restore to the Secretary of State the authority to grant
consulates discretion to waive the personal interview requirement based on risk assessment; U.S.
¨ Strengthen and expand the Visa Waiver Program; and
¨ Exercise vigorous oversight of Executive Branch implementation of the Rice-Chertoff vision, especially those that pertain to the coalition’s recommendations regarding the Executive Branch.
The coalition further recommends that the Executive Branch:
¨ Articulate a clear, operational visa policy that fully realizes the Rice-Chertoff vision; and
¨ Improve efficiency, transparency, and reliability in the visa process
“The efforts of the United States to reach out to the world, whether to recruit talent, train the world’s future leaders, or improve our image abroad, continue to be ill-served by the visa system that is currently in place,” said NAFSA: Association of International Educators Executive Director and CEO Marlene Johnson. “The diverse voices of this coalition urge the government to take a number of key steps to ensure that the
For more information about the coalition partners, visit their Web sites: