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Coalition of Academic, Exchange, and Trade Groups Releases New Visa Policy Recommendations
Date: 1/31/2007
Written By: Jennifer Cummings, The Fratelli Group for NFTC, 202-822-9491


Ursula Oaks, NAFSA: Association of International Educators,

202.737.3699 x253

Elizabeth Fulk, Heritage Foundation,


Jennifer Cummings, National Foreign Trade Council,


Edmund Rice, Coalition for Employment Through Exports,


Michael McCarry,Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange,



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 U.S. consulates discretion to waive the personal interview requirement based on risk assessment;

¨      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

America is a great country because for 250 years we have welcomed people from all over the world.  Their creativity, their inventions, and their hard work have been instrumental to our economic and social growth.  Our current visa policy jeopardizes all that because it tells people they are not welcome here,” said National Foreign Trade Council President Bill Reinsch. “The result is that we are encouraging smart people to go elsewhere, and we are encouraging American businesses to move their innovation capabilities outside the U.S. so their foreign engineers and scientists don't have to run the visa gauntlet.  That is bad for our economy, bad for our competitiveness, and bad for our security.  We need to change our policy soon before more damage is done.”

“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 United States presents a truly welcoming face, both in word and in deed, to the academic, exchange, and business travelers that are so important to our global leadership, competitiveness and security.”


For more information about the coalition partners, visit their Web sites: