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National Security Leaders Launch Council on National Security and Immigration

March 9, 2021

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Stacey Hutchinson

Washington, D.C. — Today, national security leaders announced the launch of the Council on National Security and Immigration (CNSI), which will promote immigration reforms that bolster our national security and advance our economic and long-term interests.

Council members include Adm. James Loy, former deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and Elizabeth Neumann, former Assistant Secretary at the Department of Homeland Security (the full initial list of members appears below). These leaders believe immigration reform is one of America’s urgent national security priorities and will work through the CNSI to advocate for bipartisan legislation that promotes our national security interests while honoring our country’s history as a nation of immigrants.

Ahead of today’s launch, Neumann has written a series of papers on national security and immigration, published by the National Immigration Forum. The papers focus on refugee resettlement, the need to rescind the travel ban and why labeling immigration a “threat” is both inaccurate and irresponsible — a timely message as the number of unaccompanied children seeking refuge in the United States increases.

Read the CNSI mission statement here.

The principles of the Council on National Security and Immigration believes that broad-based immigration reforms are necessary for America’s security needs and long-term national interests, including its economic future. CNSI will advocate for immigration reforms that accomplish the following policy goals:

  1. Direct resources toward pressing 21st century threats and proactively address vulnerabilities in our outdated immigration system.

  2. Implement robust and efficient screening and vetting, as well as effective border security measures.

  3. Prioritize immigration policies and administrative structures that strengthen our economy and advance our national security posture.

  4. Strengthen our global relationships and emphasize cooperation and vital information-sharing with foreign partners.

  5. Demonstrate humanitarian leadership by welcoming the most vulnerable migrants in accordance with our domestic laws and international obligations and encourage other countries to do the same.

“Now is the time for Congress to act to reform our country’s outdated immigration system,” said Adm. James Loy, former Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security. “With a new administration and a new Congress, including a closely divided Senate, bipartisan compromise between Democrats and Republicans will be necessary to implement meaningful reforms that respect the rule of law, are consistent with our national security and economic interests, promote a shared American identity and value immigrants’ contributions to our nation.”

Elizabeth Neumann, former Assistant Secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, said, “While a good immigration system goes hand in hand with a strong national security apparatus, our broken immigration system creates vulnerabilities that could be exploited by individuals with criminal or terrorist intent. These are complex problems that cannot be fixed by merely building a wall. Congress must modernize our immigration system to ensure fair opportunities for legal immigration in a way that advances our national and economic security, and societal interests.”

The Council on National Security and Immigration’s leaders include:

  • Douglas Baker, former Senior Director for Border & Transportation Security Policy, Homeland Security Council, White House

  • Sally Canfield, former Deputy Chief of Staff, Department of Homeland Security

  • Barbara Comstock, former U.S. Representative, Virginia

  • Elaine Dezenski, former Assistant Secretary for Policy Development, Department of Homeland Security

  • Marc Frey, former Chief of Staff, Office of Policy Development, Department of Homeland Security

  • James Loy, retired U.S. Coast Guard Admiral and former Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security

  • John Mitnick, former General Counsel, Department of Homeland Security

  • Michael Neifach, former Chief Counsel, Immigration and Customs Enforcement

  • Elizabeth Neumann,  former Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism and Threat Prevention, Department of Homeland Security

  • Paul Rosenzweig, former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Department of Homeland Security

  • Joe D. Whitley, former General Counsel, Department of Homeland Security


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