NFTC and Other Members of Visa Policy Coalition Press Congress for National-Interest-Based Reform

Thursday, 22 March 2007

“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.”


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.