Doris Meissner

United States |  Senior Fellow, Migration Policy Institute

Former Commissioner, US Immigration & Naturalization Service

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Doris Meissner is a senior fellow at Migration Policy Institute, where she directs the Institute’s US immigration policy work. From 1993 to 2000, she served as commissioner of the US Immigration and Naturalization Service. 

Meissner began her career in public service in 1973 as a White House fellow and special assistant to the US Attorney General. She served in various senior policy posts until 1981, when she became acting commissioner of the INS and then executive associate commissioner, the third-ranking post in the agency.

In 1986, she joined the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace as a senior associate. Meissner founded the Endowment’s Immigration Policy Project, which evolved into the Migration Policy Institute in 2001. Her current responsibilities at MPI focus in particular on the role of immigration in America’s future and on administering the nation’s immigration laws, systems, and government agencies. Her work and expertise also include immigration and politics, immigration enforcement, border control, cooperation with other countries, and immigration and national security.

Meissner has authored and coauthored numerous reports, articles, and op-eds and is frequently quoted in the media. She served as director of MPI’s Independent Task Force on Immigration and America’s Future, a bipartisan group of distinguished leaders. The group’s report and recommendations address how to harness the advantages of immigration for a 21st century economy and society.

Meissner sits on the board of CARE-USA and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Pacific Council on International Policy, the National Academy of Public Administration, the Administrative Conference of the United States, and the Constitution Society.


Meissner joined the Dialogue as a Member in 2001.

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