Michael Barone, writing in the Washington Examiner, thinks that America should follow Australia and Canada’s point systems that require a fairly high level of skills in order to gain a work permit. Start from scratch and leave behind the piecemeal reform of legislation that, in part, is almost 100 years old. Unfortunately there are 2 major differences between America and the other 2 countries. The first is a substantially higher birth rate in America. It is estimated that in 2014 the U.S. had an overall birth rate of 2.06, right between Colombia and Greenland. Australia’s, in the same survey, was 1.77, while Canada’s was 1.59. In other words, Canada and Australia would risk facing a declining population without immigration, unlike America. The vast size of these 2, combined with relatively sparse populations and either oceans or America acting as a buffer mean they do not face the immigration problems America does. And that brings up the second point. Illegal immigration, and illegal immigrants, as a percentage of the population is not even on the charts in the other two. Canada does not face nearly 2 million, (a number roughly proportional), illegals living within it’s borders, and Australia does not come close either, even on a proportional basis.

While Hispanic immigrants, and other communities as well, are contributors to America’s enormous problem, it is essentially one country’s fault. Mexico. They, for all intents and purposes, have a quasi official policy of exporting poverty and unemployment – the symptoms of a partially failed state – onto the back of the American taxpayer. And try immigrating to Mexico if you’re from Guatemala for example. So it is inevitable, if unfortunate, that a trade off seems to be playing out in the wings of Congress between the tech industry lobbying for H1-B visas, and Democrats and Hispanic lobbies pushing for amnesty. Amnesty is rightly criticized as undermining the rule of law, but perhaps the question should also be asked; does America desperately need H1-B visa holders? Can H1-B visa holders work cheaper and save companies salary costs? Of course they can. Does that help the American economy, especially in terms of jobs and wages? If America does eventually ascribe to a points system similar to the other two, one that prioritizes skills, careful attention should be paid to the details. The visas should be reserved for those who truly have a skill that a company needs and not as an excuse to lower wages. And amnesty should not be a prerequisite for any progress on skilled worker visas.

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