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Addressing the Challenges Ahead: Immigration and American Competitiveness

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Posted by Alejandro Mayorkas, Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Recently, I had the opportunity to give remarks at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The event, hosted by the National Chamber Foundation and the Partnership for a New American Economy, focused on immigration and American competitiveness.

Director Mayorkas (right) prepares to speak before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Photo: David Bohrer /© U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

Above: Director Mayorkas (right) prepares to speak before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Photo: David Bohrer /© U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

My remarks emphasized the tools we have in current immigration law to grow our nation’s economy and the progress we are making to support American businesses.  Business leaders understand the obstacles to attracting top talent in an increasingly competitive world. The contributions that immigrants make to American prosperity are undeniable, and we must work in the short-term to use existing immigration tools more efficiently and effectively.

USCIS has taken several significant steps in three main channels to improve our effectiveness: policy, process and people. These include:
  • Clarifying our policies to reflect the availability of the H-1B visa and National Interest Waiver under the EB-2 immigrant visa category to foreign-born entrepreneurs, and providing the corresponding training;
  • Expanding accelerated, or premium processing to immigrant petitions for certain multinational executives and managers;
  • Providing new training, starting in early October, to our adjudicators in the review of L-1 petitions;
  • Making significant changes in the way in which we adjudicate cases in the immigrant investor, or EB-5, program – a program designed to create jobs in America.
In addition, USCIS will hire people with business experience and consult with business leaders to inform our policy development and training. This will allow us to more ably address the realities and needs of the business community we serve.

We have many challenges before us. Each presents an opportunity to better our immigration system in an effort to improve our nation’s economic prosperity. America’s entrepreneurial spirit attracts the best and the brightest from around the world whose talents, skills and ideas are essential to growing this nation’s economy. USCIS has taken significant steps and will continue to make progress so that the engine of growth that is American business can thrive.