Policy Forum

State‐​Based Visas: Should States Lead on Immigration?

February 7, 2020 9:00 AM to 10:15 AM EST

Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC

Featuring Gary Herbert, Governor of Utah; Rep. John Curtis (R‐​Utah); moderated by Alex Nowrasteh, Director of Immigration Studies, Cato Institute.

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Reforming the immigration visa system is crucial for the future of the United States. In late 2019, Rep. John Curtis (R-UT), supported by Gov. Gary Herbert, introduced a bill to create a state‐​based visa system. Curtis’s proposal adopts a major component of the Canadian immigration system: visas sponsored by individual states rather than the federal government. Under the legislation, the federal government maintains control over admissions, security checks, and other necessary criteria, while the state governments gain power to select individual migrants and regulate their activity within the state. Each state would get an average of 10,000 visas a year: 5,000 guaranteed for each state and an additional number assigned based on population.

With the partisan gridlock that has characterized Washington politics for at least the past two decades, can and should states lead the way on immigration by utilizing a state‐​based visa system? Join the Cato Institute’s Alex Nowrasteh for a panel discussion with Representative Curtis and Governor Herbert for a policy deep dive on how state‐​based visas can reform our nation’s broken immigration system.