Last updated on: 1/9/2008 | Author:

Doris Meissner, MA Biography

Former Commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Should the Government Allow a Path to Citizenship for Undocumented Immigrants?"

“I think it is important to recognize that through most of our history, immigration has been an area of public policy especially given to wild swings. The past ten years are no exception. In times of prosperity, the United States has overlooked or openly encouraged immigration, authorized or otherwise. In times of hardship, immigrants become scapegoats for deeper weaknesses in policy or society. With each swing of the pendulum, prevailing administrative practices are seen as either too strict or too lax. The political consensus and public support needed to steadily, continuously balance enforcement to deter immigration threats with policies to capitalize on its benefits have been very difficult to achieve. An important immigration policy consequence of the searing experience of 9-11 would be to strengthen the immigration system both to help fight terrorism and to strike a sensible balance between effective control and openness to the world outside.”

“Statement to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States,” U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, Jan. 26, 2004

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment, Migration Policy Institute (MPI), 2001-2007
  • Director, Independent Task Force on Immigration and America’s Future, MPI, 2001-2007
  • Creator of the Endowment’s Immigration Policy Project, which evolved into the Migration Policy Institute in 2001
  • Commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), 1993-2000
  • U.S. Immigration Naturalization Service Executive Associate Commissioner, 1986
  • Acting U.S. Immigration Naturalization Service Commissioner, 1981
  • White House Fellow, Department of Justice, Assistant Director of the Office of Policy and Planning, and Executive Director of the Cabinet Committee on Illegal Aliens, 1973-1980
  • MA, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • BA, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • None found