Immigration Reform: Prospects and Challenges

Project Expert

Edward Alden

Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow

About the Project

The U.S. government has tried and failed over the past decade to reform its outdated and ineffective policies on immigration. The current system, based largely on a law passed by Congress in 1965, fails to attract immigrants needed by the U.S. economy and is ineffective at discouraging unauthorized immigration. Beginning with my book The Closing of the American Border on how the September 11 attacks affected U.S. immigration policies and continuing through the Independent Task Force on U.S. Immigration Policy, for which I was the project director, I have been examining the substantive challenges of creating an immigration system that boosts the U.S. economy while securing its borders. One critical piece of that challenge is better data and research that improves the measurement of enforcement effectiveness, and enhances public understanding of what enforcement can and cannot do to prevent unauthorized immigration. My work on immigration includes a recent CFR Working Paper on border enforcement, speeches, articles and congressional testimony related to immigration reform, as well as a roundtable series on U.S. immigration and visa policies.

This project is made possible through the support of the Bernard and Irene Schwartz Foundation.


Immigration and Migration

Immigration and Migration

Homeland Security

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 September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.