Immigration Fix

With momentum for real immigration reform in the US, why resort to old, stupid ideas?

November 28, 2012
November 28, 2012

Well, nobody expected immigration reform that quickly. The New York Times reports that Congress is due to vote on an immigration bill this week. The only problem is that it’s an old bill, and a bad one at that.

Representative Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is offering a tweaked proposal of the so-called STEM Jobs Act: It basically increases visas for immigrants with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) backgrounds. Except it does so at the expense of the diversity lottery, which allows entry to the US for people from countries with lower rates of immigration. The Times makes this case against the idea:

Here’s the math: add 55,000 new visas for immigrants with advanced STEM degrees. Take away 55,000 diversity visas. A zero-sum game, in pro-immigrant disguise. …If the Republicans are going to offer real immigration reform, they will have to do better than this.

Indeed. Last week, Quartz kicked off a series of articles asking experts how to really fix immigration. So far, nobody has mentioned resurrecting bad ideas. If anything, the momentum surrounding immigration reform makes the compelling case that this is a chance to actually get it right, balance the need for highly skilled workers and lower skilled, and scrap all those laws that have hardly served the needs of a global economy.

This is part of Quartz’s ongoing look at immigration reform. Previous pieces on this subject:

Welcome to America: Startups, patent holders, and iPhone programmers, please move to the front of the line

Waiting more than a decade to enter the US is unacceptable. Trust but verify—quickly

Dump the H1-B visa. Link immigration reform to what a global economy actually needs

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