An independent Council on Foreign Relations has recommended a strict end to quotas on work-based immigrant visas. The panel , co-chaired by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and former Clinton White House chief of staff Thomas "Mack" McLarty III, believes this will help the United States maintain its scientific, technological and military edge. But the panel also believes timing is important. The timing of such an overhaul would likely depend on an economic recovery.
The panel's recommendation does not allow for more guest workers, but it does back a plan to create a standing commission for establishing legal immigration levels based on economic conditions. Labor union leaders have endorsed such a plan. The panel also calls for strong border enforcement and a mandatory work document verification system based on fingerprints or eye scans.
The Council also recommends "earned legalization, not amnesty" for illegal immigrants now living in the United States. They would be required to pay taxes, learn English, pass background checks, pay fines and wait their turn behind legal immigrants. Debate could begin within the next 12 months.