FAIR’s agenda for immigration in 2017

The Federation of American Immigration Reform, an immigration restriction-leaning organization, has published “Immigration Priorities for the 2017 Presidential Transition.”

Three noteworthy aspects of the report are that (1) the numerous actions recommended are almost all Executive Branch control of either illegal immigration or a few minor abuses of legal immigration, with no Congressional input (2) it makes glancing comment on the labor market, including employer practices, and (3) it is devoid of a new vision for immigration in the long run.

Reference to the labor market is scant. “We should encourage our own citizens to obtain the qualifications necessary to fill any labor shortages, not discourage them by flooding the market with foreign competitors who undercut wages.” And,” In 2013, only 7 percent of green cards issued were skills-based. In order to genuinely reform our immigration system, family-based immigration must be limited to spouses and unmarried minor children of green card holders.”

A more thoughtful approach to the labor market would show that the hour-glass profile of immigrant workers – lots of low-skilled, an increasing percentage of highly educated – fits for better or worse the polarization profile of the labor market, as laid out by prominent researchers such as David Autor of MIT.

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