Originally Posted by Reggs
Gibonius, what would you do if you were the czar of immigration for America?
Would favor people from some countries over others? Would you accept syrian refugees? Would you build a wall separating the USA from Mexico? Would you tear what little wall we have on the border down? How would you handle these issues?
A comprehensive immigration strategy is just a little bit over my paygrade.
That said, the illegal immigration problem and the international immigration system are largely different problems and need to be addressed separably. Illegal immigration has been pretty widely discussed, and I think a bigger deal than physically sealing the border is getting some transparency on the system of migrants and illegal immigrants working in the US. We have plenty of systems in place that ought
to work (eVerify, etc), but we don't meaningfully require that employers actually use them. We don't make employers take five seconds to verify that the Social Security cards provided by workers actually match the names they give. We tacitly assume that millions of migrants are going to work under the table for illegal cash wages because it's economically unfeasible to pay American wages (both parties are part of this). Tightening the controls on the legal labor markets and setting up a system of meaningfully regulated migrant labor polls would go a long way to stemming demand for illegal labor. I think it makes sense to prioritize workers from this hemisphere, since it's in our direct interest to not have our near neighbors get destabilized. If remittances and guest labor programs can help El Salvador or whoever not collapse, that's good for the US consider we have certain need for cheap labor anyway.
The bigger picture stuff (why don't Americans want to work for those low wage jobs) is more than I can claim to handle or want to get into in this thread.
For the global picture, I think focusing on our practice of accepting the best and brightest makes sense. I'm not a huge fan of the huge number of H1b and graduate student visas, but I'm a little hesitant to say I have an answer on that. Having the same cap per country is arbitrary and could be changed to reflect some other criteria, number of skilled workers available or whatever. I think that largely mitigates the radicalization problem.
Many people want to get the hell out of restrictive countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, to come to the US to make a living and not to spread radical Islam. Those people serve as a good counterbalance to radical Islam, and make the US stronger in the process. We don't need an unlimited number of them, but we're hardly getting that now.
Refugees, I think if we're going to be a global power, we have a moral obligation to take (some) people from destabilized areas. How many, I can't say. We're never going to see a million plus a year like Europe (unless Central America keeps getting worse but there are only so many people there), so it's really a much different dynamic. The status quo of the country isn't going to be radically altered by some vast flow of refugees because we're already pretty damn selective about who we let in and I don't see that changing.