Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., has a stunning statistic: 94 percent of immigrants admitted to the United States over the last 50 years came for reasons that have nothing to do with employment.
“While two-thirds of green cards go to relatives of people here, highly talented immigrants wait in line for years behind applicants whose only claim to naturalization is a random family connection to someone who happened to get here years ago,” says Cotton, an Arkansas Republican.
Welcome to America’s broken immigration system.
Through unlimited chain migration and a global “diversity lottery,” nearly a million people are annually ushered into this country, many of whom have few skills and rudimentary education. These ill-prepared newcomers can do little other than compete with the lowest skilled American workers, depressing their wages.
Anticipating the results we’re seeing today, James Madison declared in 1790 that U.S. immigration law must not be designed “merely to swell the catalogue of people. No, sir, it is to increase the wealth and strength of the community.”
Contrary to what our cosmopolitan elites and their political tools have cobbled together over the past half-century, a functional immigration system would serve the national interest here and now. That’s what Cotton and Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., aim to do with their RAISE Act.
RAISE – Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy – would create a skills-based point system similar to Canada’s and Australia’s. Cotton explains:
When people apply to immigrate, they would get an easy-to-calculate score, on a scale of 0-to-100, based on their education, age, job salary, investment ability, English-language skills and any extraordinary achievements.
Twice annually, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services would invite the top scorers to complete their applications, and green-light enough high-scoring applicants to fill the current 140,000 annual employed-based green-card slots.
No more chain migration for extended family. No more diversity lottery for random applicants. No more fraudulent gaming of the system. No more arbitrary national caps shutting out top-skilled applicants simply because of their country of origin.
Contrast these commonsense reforms with the current U.S. family chain immigration system. As Cotton notes the objective of our policy ought to be to attract immigrants who are “better prepared, as a general matter, to integrate and assimilate into the American way of life.”
Call Cotton politically incorrect, but kneejerk rhetoric won’t change the facts or fix a system that every objective observer – left, right and center — acknowledges is grossly dysfunctional. It’s past time for a merit-based immigration policy that promotes fairness and identifiable nationals interests.