Kevin Burns


Reasoned immigration policy has the power to positively influence the economy by supporting innovation, creating jobs, and advancing research and development; one such device to accomplish such economic goals is utilizing the National Interest Waiver (NIW). Under section 203(b)(2)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), congress provided a path to a green card for non-citizens with advanced degrees or exceptional ability without employer sponsorship if their admission is in the national interest: This is known as the "National Interest Waiver." This paper aims to discover the best ways to clarify the NIWs standards in its adjudication and to explore how employing the NIW will lead to economic benefits in its invocation.

In 2014, the former United States Homeland Security Secretary, Jeh Johnson, directed the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to clarify standards for issuing the NIW with the “aim to promote its greater use for the benefit of the U.S. economy.” This has yet to be done as the data suggests that the NIW remains an underutilized tool to promote research and development in the U.S. This paper argues that a calculated immigration policy that puts the NIW to greater use will advance the economy for the benefit of all Americans.

Immigration policy is a highly polarizing topic in today’s political climate. Nevertheless, there is evidence that the NIW is widely accepted among different political groups, and this could be a productive start to comprehensive immigration reform.