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I. Executive Summary

On November 20, 2014, President Obama acted within his authority to take executive action to fix our broken immigration system. He announced critical measures that enhance border security; create accountability for certain undocumented individuals; and modernize our legal immigration systems for high-skilled workers, entrepreneurs, students, and families. These steps are enhancing the integrity of our immigration system and national security while contributing to our economy. According to the Council of Economic Advisors, the President’s executive actions, if fully implemented, would be expected to boost our nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) by between $100 billion and $250 billion, expand the size of the American labor force, and raise average annual wages for U.S.-born workers by 0.4 percent, or $220 in today’s dollars, over the next 10 years. The President’s actions would also cut the Federal deficit by $30 billion in 2024.

As a part of these actions, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum on “Modernizing and Streamlining the U.S. Immigrant Visa System for the 21st Century.” In this Memorandum, the President directed the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security to lead an interagency effort to develop recommendations, in consultation with stakeholders and experts, to:

(1) reduce government costs, improve services for applicants, reduce burdens on employers, and combat waste, fraud, and abuse in the system;

(2) ensure that policies, practices, and systems use all of the visa numbers that Congress provides for and intends to be used, consistent with demand; and

(3) modernize the information technology infrastructure underlying the visa processing system with the goal to reduce redundant systems, improve the experience of applicants, and enable better oversight

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