Press Releases
NFTC in the News
View from the Council

Press Releases

NFTC and Other Members of Visa Policy Coalition Press Congress for National-Interest-Based Reform
Date: 3/22/2007
Written By: Susan Mora or Jennifer Cummings, The Fratelli Group for NFTC, 202-822-9491

Reinsch Says Current Visa Policy Hurts U.S. Competitiveness

Washington, DC ­ National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) President Bill Reinsch today participated in a joint policy briefing on Capitol Hill to urge Members of Congress to reform current U.S. visa policy to establish a national-interest-based system, which welcomes international business and academic visitors, and helps to bolster U.S. competitiveness. The briefing was hosted by a newly formed, broad-based coalition of trade associations concerned about the current state of U.S. visa policy, including NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the NFTC, the Coalition for Employment Through Exports, the Heritage Foundation and the Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange.

" America has become the world's leader in significant part because for more than 200 years, we have taken in smart, hard-working people from all over the world," said Reinsch. "They have stayed here, become inventors, artists, researchers, and the backbone of our industrial base, contributing immeasurably to our GDP and to our culture."

However, citing numerous examples of how current U.S. visa policy is unwelcoming to international business and other visitors, Reinsch warned, "We are in the process now of throwing that away and telling a generation of foreigners they are not welcome here – as businessmen, as employees, as students, as tourists. And we are doing this at precisely the time when competition for talent is the most intense globally."

In late January, the coalition of academic, exchange and trade groups released new visa policy recommendations, titled "Realizing the Rice-Chertoff Vision: A National-Interest-Based Visa Policy for the United States." The recommendations call on Congress and the Administration to take a clear set of actions to reform U.S. visa policy.

"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.

"We support national security but think the balance needs to be readjusted in light of the damage our policy is causing," said Reinsch. "We are committed to working with Congress and the Administration to develop a visa policy that is truly a win-win for both the United States and our friends across the globe."

Click here for a copy of the coalition's recommendations.



Advancing Global Commerce for Over 90 Years

The National Foreign Trade Council ( is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves hundreds of member companies through its offices in Washington and New York.