[L]ast week was loftily designated American Dream Week. One of the ways that President Donald Trump celebrated it was to endorse an immigration policy that would put out the national welcome mat for immigrants who are highly skilled and able to help build the economy.
Although it’s packaged with a self-destructive attempt to reduce legal immigration by 40%, the merit system would be a good America First policy.
Ever since the last major revision, in 1965, U.S. immigration policy has sentimentally focused on “family reunification.” Once a person gets here legally and receives a green-card permit to live and work in the U.S. permanently, the immigrant can bring in a spouse and minor children immediately. The system also gives preferences to their brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, and their adult children. Each of them then becomes eligible to bring in their extended families.
This is nice for the families, and sometimes turns out to be good for economic growth, but an immigration policy should try to put the national interest first explicitly. …
… If Congress can create a new immigration system that has clear and sensible standards for admission, based on the applicants’ potential contribution to U.S. prosperity, it should not turn around and limit the country’s opportunity to admit them.
If the point system is reliable, rational, and uncorrupted, and if it benefits the country economically, it should be used to increase the number of employment visas and welcome more productive new citizens—as many as politically possible.