CFGI Executive Director Quoted in Point-Based Immigration Report

8/10/2017
CFGI

​CFGI Executive Director Lynn Shotwell was quoted in a new report on point-based immigration, noting that "[t]he U.S. already has 'merit-based' immigration, in the form of a preference system for employment-based visas . . . While current H-1B and green card numbers aren't sufficient, employers don't want a system that removes or limits their ability to hire or sponsor a specific individual, across the skill spectrum, or have the federal government set up a point criteria that may not be relevant to employer needs or keep up with changes in the economy."

The report, "The Impact of a Point-Based Immigration System on Agriculture and Other Business Sectors," was published jointly by the National Foundation for American Policy and the National Immigration Forum. Other key points from the report include:

  • The RAISE Act, were it to become law, would cause over 4 million people to be summarily eliminated from family and employment-based immigration backlogs after waiting in line for many years. Establishing a point system in place of employer sponsorship substitutes the judgement of a few lawmakers for the wisdom of hundreds of thousands of individual employers in America that petition for workers across the skill spectrum.
  • Reducing immigration would harm economic growth and economists believe more, not fewer, workers are better for an economy. Cutting legal immigration in half would reduce the rate of economic growth in the United States by an estimated 12.5 percent from its projected level.
  • Recent immigrants are more likely to earn a college degree than natives, and 84 percent of recent arrivals earn a high school degree or higher.
  • The U.S. government projects a need for workers at all skill levels. Each of the 30 largest-growing occupations are expected to add more than 100,000 jobs by 2024.
  • With regard to the Canadian and Australia point systems:
    • The purpose of point systems in Canada and Australia is to attract more immigrants, not reduce legal immigration.
    • A high level of legal immigration is a major component of the Canadian and Australian immigration systems. Relative to the size of their populations, Canada and Australia admit two to three times as many immigrants each year as the United States, the equivalent of 2.5 to 3 million annually in the U.S. based on America's population.
    • Employee sponsorship, not the point systems, help companies find workers in Australia and Canada. The point systems comes into play when an individual seeks to migrate to Australia and does not have a business operating in Australia willing to sponsor him or her upfront for either a temporary work visa or permanent residence.
    • The separation of authorities between the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. government likely makes it impossible for any point system to work efficiently and in a manner similar to point systems in Canada and Australia, which are governed by parliamentary forms of government.
  • Our immigration system can be designed to increase the immigration of people with a high level of skills without eliminating the ability of employers to sponsor individual employees or reducing family immigration. For example, Congress could eliminate the per-country limit for employment-based immigration categories, increase the number of green cards for employment-based immigrants, and additionally could establish a pilot program for an "independent" category of immigrants, such as in Australia, alongside existing family and employment categories.