Immigration Priorities for the Next Administration
The recent terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, CA and Paris, France have enhanced the focus of immigration policy in the U.S. At the same time, the presidential election has put immigration front and center for the American people to consider as they plan to cast their votes in November 2016.
The Government has been very busy recently addressing immigration issues, including strengthening border security and improving the visa screening process to set the foundation for future policy changes. For example, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) focused on increasing southern border security by placing greater emphasis on enforcement personnel. Stronger immigration processes are another issue that the Government is working to address following the San Bernardino attack. DHS has started to review social media profiles for immigration applications and has implemented other ways to review and adjudicate applications.
Given this spotlight on immigration, DHS is shining more attention on the current visa and visitor screening process. Enhanced vetting during this process not only prevents terrorists from entering the country but also gives the Government a better idea of who is crossing our borders every day. These improvements provide the foundation for the new Administration to tackle difficult immigration issues.
Yet, any new administration is likely to have new policies that require DHS agencies with an immigration focus to quickly implement new guidelines, processes, and system changes. Agencies with an immigration focus must concentrate on the following to reduce risk during administration transition:
- Increase data and information sharing across agencies. Having a person-centric view allows multiple agencies to know who is entering and leaving the country
- Increase speed to mission for changes to guidelines and processes by developing the workforce and documenting current standard operating procedures (e.g., adjudicators manuals) so changes are easy to identify and make
- Increase collaboration to find ways to ‘code it once’ for system changes so multiple agencies can share code as a resource
- Establish Agile best practices for essential systems so new priority enhancements can be made quickly and effectively
Altogether, these processes prepare DHS for the immigration mission, which has never been more important to our national security nor in the national spotlight as it is now.