In American political discourse, there is no subject more polarizing than immigration policy. A discussion on the subject never leads to solutions, but to more and more discussions and bitter arguments. One side calls the other a racist and the other anti-American. The discussion does not come out of this impasse.
There is some truth to both accusations. Politicians have used hyperbole and vitriol about constructive reform. This state of affairs will halt progress on Biden “Rebuild better“, addressing America declining population rate and on improving the quality of life for many immigrants. In order to prevent America’s decline, Biden would have to build the proverbial bridges, walls, and gates into the immigration system.
To build physical and digital infrastructure for the 21st century, the United States needs the best engineers, architects, and city planners in the world. A majority U.S. professional degrees in science, technology, engineering, or math go to foreigners and many are educated by American Ivy Leagues. Biden wants America to have the the best infrastructure in the world, to compete with China on artificial intelligence (IA) and to relaunch its high-tech manufacturing capabilities. With over 79 percent computer engineers at American universities being foreigners, and more than half with students in graduate STEM departments being international students, America’s ambitions and goals are inextricably linked to its ability to hold back these brilliant minds. America is failing miserably at this time.
There are mainly two visa options for highly skilled immigrants to work and stay in America – H-1B and L-1 visas, and the limited application window for them opens in April of each year. These two visa categories select about 65,000 (plus an additional 20,000 through a graduate degree exception) applicants each year from a pool of applicants of nearly 200,000. Of the 65,000, more than 40% of the visas granted relate to outsourced technological jobs intended for American and Indian tech companies, according to a New York Times report. These companies flood the pool of candidates with their applications and make it virtually impossible for small businesses to hire international talent. If a small business wanted to hire an architect, expert or AI researcher for their lab, they would have to wait a few years for their candidate’s application to be considered, let alone selected.
If one wanted to migrate legally to the United States, one would have to use, as the Conservatives would say, “chain migration“Be sponsored by a family member who is a U.S. citizen – assume a role that is contracted out and be chosen through a lottery, or invest more than a million dollars in a depressed community to obtain permanent residence over a period of five to ten years.
While it may surprise some, the legal immigration system has long been broken down in the United States. A few presidents have recognized the problem and have attempted to reform this system, starting with Obama then Trump who proposed a merit-based immigration system. Despite all of Trump’s inflammatory language on immigration, his deserved a points-based immigration policy that offered a points-based system might be the need of the moment. As a complementary measure to the hard-negotiated infrastructure bill in Congress, the Biden administration is now expected to shift its efforts to a merit-based immigration bill that is a bridge to America for the spirits. the brightest in the world and keep their talent here.
However, gateways should not guarantee entry to every individual who checks the skills and experience boxes. It is very impractical to host all those who meet a skill criterion. To act like the proverbial wall, America should include a values-based methodology to filter out and invite the best, the brightest, and those with closely aligned values that represent America.
For example, the United States should welcome protesters in Hong Kong waving the American flag on those who support the Chinese regime; The Afghans who fought hard for democracy and for their rights against those who support the Taliban in the region and the Democratic activists in Cuba, Iran and Venezuela who covered their walls with the American flag and the Statue of the Freedom against those who demonstrated in front of the American consulates, chanting “Death to America” or burning the American flag.
And then there is the problem of undocumented migrants, disproportionately Mexico and Central America. the 11 million and strange undocumented immigrants can lower production cost for multinational conglomerates. However, they depress wages of American workers and risk their own lives without any protection. Undocumented immigrants are exploited by Agriculture and food preparation industries and women and children bear the brunt more as victims of rape and sexual assault.
Impasse in immigration reform has benefited Democratic and Republican donors – Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple – also known by the acronym, GAFA – and Koch Industries does not encourage them to engage in constructive reform. The Biden administration has deviated from settlement policies and extended many of the populist policies of his predecessor. He should do the same with immigration by building proverbial gates.
Democrats and Republicans are trading beards and signaling virtue. If Democrats are truly the more human of the two, they would support pro-democracy protesters around the world and oppose the employment of undocumented immigrants who, in reality, do more harm than good to all. involved persons. Likewise, if Republicans were to follow their rhetoric of patriotism, they would have to welcome highly skilled immigrants whose values are closely aligned with those of the United States, regardless of their ethnicity.
If these bridges, walls, and gates are incorporated into the immigration system, the America of the future can be a diverse, multicultural melting pot with immigrants who would bear witness to the enduring American dream.
Akhil Ramesh is a non-resident Vasey Fellow at the Pacific Forum. He has worked with risk consulting firms, think tanks, and the blockchain industry in the United States, India, and the Philippines. His analysis has been published in The South China Morning Post, The Diplomat, Asia Times and The Jerusalem Post. Follow him on Twitter: @akhil_oldsoul