Balancing Priorities:

Immigration, National Security, and Public Safety

AFTER 9/11, IMMIGRATION CONTROL BECAME AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY.

The US immigration system works to keep Americans safe every day.

Find out how it supports national security:

Immigrants

All immigrants are subject to extensive criminal and medical background checks.

Refugees

Refugees are subjected to the most intensive screening process of all, often taking two years to complete. These include in-person interviews, criminal, and medical screenings.

Visitors

A vetting process starts overseas when individuals apply to visit the United States, which compares biometric data against no-fly and other terrorist watch lists.

Updating immigration laws would make the United States even safer in the face of evolving security threats.

Five fast facts that common sense solutions could change:

Fact 1: There are 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.


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Solution 1: Immigration reforms could allow the government to screen and document unauthorized immigrants, helping DHS narrow its search for true security risks.
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Fact 2: Legal immigration channels haven't been comprehensively updated in decades.
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Solution 2: Immigration reforms could create more legal, vetted pathways for immigrants to meet economic demand and reunite with their families.
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Fact 3: The government tracks who enters the country, but does not comprehensively track who leaves or stays.

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Solution 3: Immigration reforms could complete a comprehensive entry-exit system to locate visitors who overstay their visas.
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Fact 4: Immigration laws are set at the national level, but their effects are felt at the local level.
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Solution 4: Immigration reforms could build programs that foster collaboration between federal and local law enforcement, and local communities, to build trust, prioritize efforts, and prevent radicalization.
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Fact 5: There are no standard metrics to measure enforcement strategies and outcomes.
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Solution 5: Immigration reforms could legislate consistent, comprehensive measurement systems, ensuring that our future security investments are informed by metrics, not guesswork.
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Balancing Priorities: Immigration, National Security, and Public Safety was written in partnership between the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Bipartisan Policy Center.

To learn more, download the full report.

 

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