The Barbara Jordan Commission Supported Cutting Immigration

The Claim:

CIS researchers have tried to claim former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan and her commission in the 1990s as a predecessor to their mission of immigration restrictionism. They have claimed, “One of Jordan’s goals was to reduce legal immigration by eliminating the right for citizens and legal immigrants to sponsor the immigration of siblings.”

The Problem:

CIS cherry picks the Commission’s report and doesn’t show the larger picture

CIS misunderstands the spirit of the commission, and they are trying to use numbers from a different era of immigration law.

Bruce Morrison was a member of the Barbara Jordan Commission from 1992 to 1997 and chair of the House subcommittee on immigration from 1989 to 1991. He has a problem with this characterization of his and Jordan’s work, and has written as such. The key point that CIS likes to ignore is that while the Commission did recommended the U.S. reduce legal immigration for extended families, it also recommended increasing legal immigration for “nuclear” families—parents and minor children of immigrants already living in the U.S. They may also cite the wrong statistics as the final commission recommended allocating 550,000 family based numbers to clear backlogs, while CIS divides that number among nuclear family, skilled based, and refugee categories—which the Commission clearly outlined only for families and no other categories. Additionally, the report was written in the mid-90s with a partial aim to fix a massive backlog of green card applications, and that backlog has only grown bigger in the intervening years.