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Merit-based immigration for America’s future

December 1, 2012

 The dumbest part of America’s immigration policy is the one that forces the brightest graduates of our universities to return to their home country after being educated and Americanized here.

Both political parties agree that we should grant permanent resident visas for foreign graduates who earn masters or doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering and math.  After all, we need their skills to remain competitive in the global economy.

But Congress is so caught up in “gotcha” politics that the two parties can’t agree.  (See more about this in the Political Parties chapter.)

The Republicans want to provide 55,000 merit-based visas by eliminating an existing program that grants 55,000 visas annually via a lottery to applicants from foreign countries that are “under represented” in America.

Democrats disagree, arguing they don’t want to eliminate the “green card lottery” for the under- represented counties.

To do what’s right for America, the politicians would deal with the two issues separately.

  1. First, Congress absolutely should provide more visas for people who earn the skills that are needed here, and the program shouldn’t be limited only to those with advanced degrees.  (See more about this in the Immigration chapter.)
  2.  Separately, good arguments can be made for eliminating the visa lotteries.   With some many foreigners wanting to share the American dream, why should America be more choosy about who get in and who doesn’t?

But let’s not allow the “gotcha” politicians to hold one issue as political hostage to the other.  Let’s vote on each separately, and then let the politicians explain their votes to their constituents in the next election cycle.

  1. Mike Ruddell permalink

    Great commentary. It points out another example of what I call our “bipolar” political party system. Which as your book clearly points out, is broken. I just hope not beyond repair. It can be fixed, maybe one issue at a time, and the immigration policy would be a start in the right direction.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Chapter 24: Real immigration solutions, not more self-serving politics « Fixing America's Broken Politics
  2. Immigration: A reasonable compromise « Fixing America's Broken Politics

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