Obama Has Agencies Rethink Visa System

     WASHINGTON (CN) – After President Barack Obama announced he would allow certain immigrants to stay in the country temporarily, he directed 11 U.S. agencies to modernize and streamline the U.S. immigrant visa system, and created a task force for finding and implementing better ways to integrate immigrants into U.S. society.
     In Friday’s memo on streamlining the visa system, Obama directed the leaders of agencies involved with State, homeland security, management and budget, national economics, counterterrorism, domestic policy, science and technology policy, agriculture, commerce, labor, and education, to develop certain recommendations within 4 months.
     They are to work with business, labor unions and universities to develop recommendations to streamline and improve the legal immigration system — including immigrant and non-immigrant visa processing — with a focus on reforms that reduce government costs, improve services for applicants, reduce burdens on employers, and combat waste, fraud, and abuse in the system.
     They are to work with experts in immigration law, to develop recommendations to ensure that administrative policies, practices, and systems use all of the immigrant visa numbers that Congress provides for and intends to be issued, consistent with demand.
     They also are to work with technology experts inside and outside the government, to develop recommendations for modernizing the information technology infrastructure underlying the visa processing system, with a goal of reducing redundant systems, improving the experience of applicants, and enabling better public and congressional oversight of the system.
     In a separate action, Friday, the president established a White House Task Force on New Americans, “an interagency effort to identify and support state and local efforts at integration that are working and to consider how to expand and replicate successful models.”
     The Task Force is to engage with community, business, faith leaders, and elected officials, and “help determine additional steps the Federal Government can take to ensure its programs and policies are serving diverse communities that include new Americans,” the action stated.
     The president said it is important to be competitive with other countries as we develop a federal immigrant integration strategy, that “supports mechanisms to ensure that our nation’s diverse people are contributing to society to their fullest potential.”

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