The purpose of a good immigration policy is insure that the US and its citizens flourish. A large and growing population increases the division of labor, productivity, national wealth, and the number of creative people available to benefit society through their innovations.
For the last-named reason, it’s especially important that US immigration policy attract those with exceptional scientific, technical, or entrepreneurial talent. The red tape and immigration-restrictionist policies that presently prevail are reportedly funneling those exceptional individuals to other countries.
The need for a flexible guest worker program
The problem of individuals entering the US illegally or overstaying visas would be greatly reduced if the US had a flexible guest worker program that admitted as many seasonal or intermediate-term permits as employers required at a given point in time, as long as the state government where the employer is located determined that no significant job or wage damage would be likely from such permits being granted.
Our present immigration classifications and regulations are confusing and complex. We suggest the following simpler scheme:
- Seasonal guest workers
- Intermediate term-guest workers
- Permanent residents, with optional path to become citizens
Criteria for visitors (non-infectious, adequate means of support for self and dependents for term of stay, non-terrorist, non-criminal)
Criteria for seasonal and intermediate-term guest workers (same as for visitor but also job opening and assurance by US work state that no citizens being adversely affected by hire). No fixed limit on number admitted.
Permanent residents (same as for visitors and guest workers but also having skills, educational level, and cultural background likely to adapt well to life in the US and its laws. No fixed limit on number admitted. Can become citizen in five years.
Felony conviction results in eviction for individuals in any of the four classifications.
No chain immigration or lottery. Spouse and children under 18 allowed to accompany individual admitted. Spouse of guest worker can’t work unless fulfills work criteria.
Discrimination of whom to admit to US should be based solely on individual merit not country of origin except where President determines conditions don’t permit proper assessment of individual merit. Merit to be assessed by employable years remaining, education level, English language skills, employment skills, and likely adaptability to US polity and mores.
This would basically be the RAISE act introduced by President Trump and Senators Cotton and Perdue, minus the numerical limitations complained of by CATO that would eject 500,000 H-1B visa holders. Those visas should be eligible for renewal, assuming the holders satisfy the usual criteria for continuation as intermediate-term guest workers or for upgrading to permanent resident status.