Permanent Legal Immigration to the United States: Policy Overview [May 11, 2018] [open pdf - 1011KB]
"Four major principles currently underlie U.S. policy on legal permanent immigration: the reunification of families, the admission of immigrants with needed skills, the protection of refugees and asylees, and the diversity of immigrants by country of origin. These principles are embodied in federal law, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of 1965 replaced the national origins quota system (enacted after World War I) with per-country ceilings, and the statutory provisions regulating legal permanent immigration to the United States were last revised significantly by the Immigration Act of 1990. Despite extensive critiques of the permanent legal immigration system, no consensus exists on the specific direction reforms to the system should take. Some maintain that revising provisions governing legal permanent immigration should be a key component of any major immigration reform proposal, while others support the existing provisions and their underlying rationales. This report on legal permanent immigration may help inform the debate and discussions of policy options that may emerge as Congress considers current immigration proposals."
CRS Report for Congress, R42866