Megan McArdle writes:
How many people should we let in, of what education and skill level? How should we handle marital visas? What tradeoffs are we willing to make between national unity and the humanitarian and practical benefits of migration?
Oh, hear those crickets! No one wants to ask those questions, much less provide answers.
I don’t have numbers. I’d say: cut current total legal immigration levels in half, and see if we get more “melting pot”, and less “multiculturalism.” Keep cutting levels until we’re pretty solidly on the “melting pot” side.
But here’s my immigration reform principles:
1: End “family reunion” as an immigration priority and terminate “chain migration”. The ONLY people who get to bring in family members are people who legally immigrated here on their own merit (i.e. didn’t come in as a family member).
Whatever the legality of “birthright naturalization”, no one who gets their citizenship by birth gets to sponsor anyone else. So mommy and daddy are leaving the US, and can either take their child with them, or lose it. In any event non-US Citizens, and legal children US Citizens who do not have legal US Citizen guardians, are not eligible for any sort of welfare payments.
2: All H1B visa recipients must be paid in the US 80th percentile or higher for their field. Companies pay 10x penalty for any pay below that. If an incorrect study is used to establish the 80th percentile level, the company is on the hook for anything 75th percentile and over. Below that, the corporate officers who signed off on the study, and on the pay, are personally responsible, with NO “corporate veil” protection. Accusations of fraud on this front can be made by any private individual, can be carried out as a private action. If successful, the private individual gets 1/2 the fine (instead of the gov’t). In all cases the visa holder gets the other half.
IOW: H1B is for hiring expertise you absolutely can’t get in the US, NOT for hiring cheap workers. If you’re not paying top dollar, then H1B isn’t the right visa.
3: The standard for immigration is “brings benefit to the US.” “Changing the culture of the US” is inherently defined as “harming the US.” We are not running an immigration system to help the immigrants. If they think it will help them to come here, they’ll apply. But acceptance is based on our assessment that letting them in will help us.
4: Positive assessments are “useful job skills” (merely having a college degree doesn’t count) and “brings lots of money to invest in the US.”
5: “Unwillingness to assimilate to US cultural norms” (think “go Red Tribe!” here, not SF / LA / NY cultural “norms”) is a major down check. If you want to keep your old culture, stay in your old country.
6: No “sanctuary cities” may receive any Federal funds. For anything. Education, law enforcement, grants, health care, doesn’t matter. If you’re not willing to help arrest and deport every single person here illegally, no Federal $$$ for you.
That seems like a good start. And I bet we would get 70%+ support for just about every one of those.