Do we need a point system? We cannot avoid it.

My sense is that a point system will only incrementally alter permanent immigration flows from their existing structure. But it will add transparency, and – I expect – make the system more predictable, and therefore more legitimate.
We need more workers at both the highly skilled (engineers) and low skilled (nursing home aides) levels. A point system is a partial solution to making the flow of high skilled workers into the country more transparent. It makes public policy more explicit. And it is part of a larger context of global workflows, wherein millions of skilled American jobs are being exported thanks in large measure to advances in information technology.
Per the New York Times, “The Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research center, analyzed the likely effects of the Senate bill by examining Census Bureau data. It reached these conclusions”:
¶Immigrants from many Asian countries would do well. In the last 15 years, more than three-fourths of immigrants from India, and more than half of those from China, the Philippines and South Korea had bachelor’s degrees or higher. Most immigrants from India and the Philippines report speaking English well.
¶Immigrants from Latin America would “face more difficulties” in getting green cards. More than 40 percent of recent immigrants from this region are in the preferred age range, 25 to 39, but many lack educational credentials and English language skills. More than 60 percent of adult immigrants from Mexico have not completed high school. Just 5 percent have college degrees. Only 15 percent of recent Mexican immigrants are proficient in English.
¶The United States has received comparatively few immigrants from Africa, but many of them have characteristics that would help them earn points.
About two-fifths of recent African immigrants are in the preferred age group. Two-thirds are proficient in English. And 38 percent have a bachelor’s or higher degree.
According to the Times,
An applicant could receive a maximum of 100 points. Up to 75 points would be allocated for job skills and education, with 15 for English-language proficiency and 10 for family ties.
The criteria favor professionals with graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. But the point system would also reward people who work in 30 “high demand” occupations, like home health care and food service.
Spouses and minor children of United States citizens would still be allowed to immigrate without limits. But siblings and adult children of citizens and lawful permanent residents would be subject to the point system. They could get a maximum of 10 points for family ties, provided they had already earned 55 points for job skills, education and English language ability.
Under the bill, Congress would set the number of points for each attribute. The selection criteria could not be changed for 14 years. Decisions on individual cases would be within the “sole and unreviewable discretion” of the secretary of homeland security.

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