The Future of U.S. Immigration Policy: Next Steps

On Wednesday, June 15, 2011, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) will hold a half-day, multisession symposium in Washington, DC, on U.S. immigration policy. The symposium will include a keynote address by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who co-chairs the Partnership for a New American Economy, a coalition of mayors and business leaders from across the country making an economic case for immigration reform. Additionally, the event will focus on the importance of immigration for the economic future of the United States and the prospects for political cooperation on immigration-related legislation. The symposium will convene policymakers, Council members, the media, and other opinion leaders to have a candid discussion on new options for immigration policy reforms, using the CFR Independent Task Force on U.S. Immigration Policy as a launching pad.

The symposium is scheduled from 9:15 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. For further details, please refer to the agenda below.

For more information on the CFR-sponsored Independent Task Force on U.S. Immigration Policy, please click the following link:

This event is made possible through generous support from the Ford Foundation.

Symposium Agenda:

9:15 - 9:45 a.m.  Registration and Breakfast Reception

9:45 - 10:00 a.m.  Welcoming Remarks

10:00 - 11:15 a.m.  Session One: Immigration as an Economic Engine

Alejandro Mayorkas, Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Vivek Wadhwa, Senior Research Associate, Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School; Edward Alden, Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations; Presider: Matthew Winkler, Editor in Chief, Bloomberg News

11:15 - 11:25 a.m.  Break

11:25 a.m. - 12:40 p.m.  Session Two: Political Pathways for Progress

David Price, U.S. Representative from North Carolina; Alfonso Aguilar, Executive Director, Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles; Andrew Kohut, President, Pew Research Center; Presider: Edward Schumacher-Matos, Ombudsman, NPR

12:40 - 1:15 p.m.  Lunch Buffet

1:15 - 1:45 p.m.  Session Three: Keynote Address

Michael Bloomberg, Mayor, City of New York Presider: Julia Preston, National Immigration Correspondent, New York Times

1:45 - 2:00 p.m.  Closing Remarks

See more in United States; Immigration; Labor


U.S. Immigration Policy: Report of a CFR Sponsored Independent Task Force Report

The report of this bipartisan Task Force of distinguished leaders and experts represents a strong consensus on the importance of repairing America's immigration policy. It makes the case that maintaining America's political and economic leadership depends on attracting talented and hard-working immigrants, and on securing the country's borders in a smart, effective, and humane way.

Related readings:

A Bipartisan Blueprint for Immigration Reform

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Better Politics and Policy on Immigration

As chief executive of a border state, Governor Bill Richardson will discuss U.S. policy on immigration. Public services such as education, health care, and economic opportunity are each affected by immigration practices. Governor Richardson will outline state and cross-border efforts taken to reduce border crime and improve border security.

This meeting is presented in conjunction with the Council's Latin America Studies Program.

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Immigration and U.S. Global Competitiveness

Former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-IN) and Former Senator Spencer Abraham (R-MI) co-chaired a year-long task force aimed at tackling the nation's bedeviling immigration challenges. The result is a report with sweeping recommendations for overhaul of our immigration policy that would increase employment-based immigration opportunities; combat illegal immigration through new responsibilities for employers and a new, secure Social Security card; and create a Standing Commission on Labor Markets and Immigration Admissions that would make regular recommendations to the President and Congress for adjusting immigration levels. Come as we discuss these recommendations and how the Council might build on them as the Congress again debates the immigration challenge.

For more information about the Task Force please visit:

The Independent Task Force Immigration and America’s Future: A New Chapter, was convened by the Migration Policy Institute in partnership with The Division of United States Studies, The Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Manhattan Institute.

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Update on the CFR-Sponsered Independent Task Force Report on U.S. Immigration Policy

In July 2009, the Council on Foreign Relations released the report of its bipartisan Independent Task Force on U.S. Immigration Policy, chaired by former governor of Florida Jeb Bush and former White House chief of staff Thomas F. "Mack" McLarty. As the 113th U.S. Congress considers an overhaul of the country's immigration system, please join Task Force members Richard Land, Eliseo Medina, and project director Edward Alden to discuss U.S. policy options and political prospects for comprehensive change.

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200 Years of U.S.-Mexico Relations:Challenges for the 21st Century

12:00 to 12:30 PM Buffet Lunch

12:30 to 1:45 PM SESSION ONE:
U.S.-Mexico Relations Today
Carlos Pascual, Ambassador of the United States to Mexico
Arturo Sarukhan, Ambassador of Mexico to the United States
Presider: Ray Suarez, Senior Correspondent, PBS NewsHour

1:45 to 2:00 PM Break

2:00 to 3:15 PM SESSION TWO:
The Future of Bilateral Security Cooperation
Jorge Chabat, Professor, Department of International Studies, Center for Research and Teaching in Economics, Mexico City
Alfredo Corchado, Mexico Bureau Chief, Dallas Morning News; Visiting Scholar, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University
Frances Townsend, Senior Vice President, MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, Inc.; Former Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, The White House (2005-2007)
Presider: Garrick Utley, President, Levin Institute

3:15 to 3:30 PM Break

3:30 to 5:00 PM SESSION THREE:
Beyond NAFTA: Raising Cross-Border Competitiveness
Jorge Mariscal, Partner and Director of Investment Research, Rohatyn Group; Adjunct Professor of International Affairs, Columbia University
Shannon K. O'Neil, Douglas Dillon Fellow for Latin American Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
Juan Pardinas, Director of Public Finance, Mexican Institute for Competitiveness
Presider: Ana Paula Ordorica, Journalist, Televisa/Grupo Imagen

See more in Mexico; United States; Immigration


The Closing of the American Border

In his new book, Edward Alden goes behind the scenes to tell the story of the Bush administration’s struggle to balance security and openness in the wake of the worst ever attack on U.S. soil. Based on extensive interviews with the Bush administration officials charged with securing the border after 9/11, the book shows how an administration that appeared united in the aftermath of the attacks was wracked by internal divisions over how to balance security and openness. We hope you and a guest will join us for a discussion of the book and U.S. immigration policy.

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Expert Roundup Authors: Pia Orrenius, Vivek Wadhwa, Tamar Jacoby, Jonathan Bowles, and Peter Dixon and Maureen T. Rimmer

As the United States works to rebound from the economic downturn and improve global competitiveness, the debate over immigration reform intensifies. Six experts weigh in on how to reform the U.S. immigration system to improve economic performance.

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Expert Roundup

The Immigration Economy

Authors: Heidi Shierholz, Mark Krikorian, and James Carafano

Four experts debate whether Obama's immigration reform plan, including an expanded path to legalization, would help or harm U.S. workers and economic growth.

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Interview Edward Alden interviewed by Brianna Lee

As the Supreme Court prepares to take on Arizona's controversial immigration law and the Obama administration carries out nationwide sweeps, CFR's Edward Alden says that comprehensive reform remains less attainable than narrower, more targeted legislation.

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Interview Margaret Stock interviewed by Aimee Rawlins

Some GOP lawmakers have proposed legislation to eliminate birthright citizenship, but legal expert Margaret Stock says these proposals would create vast logistical and social problems and are unlikely to succeed.

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