Barbara Jordan Commission

In 1995, former Texas Congresswoman and civil rights champion, Barbara Jordan, chaired the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform. The Commission, which was mandated by Congress with the passage of the Immigration Act of 1990, made the most thorough examination of the impact of U.S. immigration policies of any federal commission to date. The final recommendations were presented to Congress and President Clinton in 1997 more than six years after the commission was formed.

The Commissions recommendations to create a "credible, coherent immigrant and immigration policy" and a "credible, efficient naturalization process" included the following:

  • a scale back of family chain-migration by implementing a prioritization of family relationships to determine who will be admitted through family-based immigration. Spouses and minor children of US citizens would continue to be admitted as first priority;
  • elimination of other family-based admission categories, including:
    • Adult, unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens;
    • Adult, married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens;
    • Adult, unmarried sons and daughters of legal permanent residents; and
    • Siblings of U.S. citizens.
  • a focus on the admission of highly-skilled individuals to support the national interest by bringing to the U.S. individuals whose skills would benefit our society. Recommended the elimination of the admission of unskilled workers and elimination of the diversity visa lottery;
  • immigration admissions level of 550,000 per year, to be divided as follows:
    • Nuclear family immigration 400,000;
    • Skill-based immigration 100,000;
    • Refugee resettlement 50,000.
  • Stressed deportation is crucial. Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: those who should get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave.

View the Commission's final report in its entirety

View a list of all the Commission's reports