A second Trump administration and long term immigration strategy

Over the past week the prospects for a second Trump administration have risen a lot.

Trump himself is largely incoherent and self-contradictory on long term immigration policy. He has said he wants to deport all 11 million unauthorized persons. As with much of Trump’s positions, it is hard to sort out the performative rhetoric and wildly illegal impulsiveness from a durable strategy.

The Heritage Foundation, including its Project 2025, is an important source laying out a vision. The document itself and the Heritage Foundation’s overall messaging on immigration tends to focus on the border issues.  I will here and in future postings try to elucidate the Foundation’s proposals on longer term structural changes.

Simply stated, the Foundation wants to introduce a deliberate, comprehensive strategy of tight control over immigrant access to the United States and rights of non-permanent residents.  It wants to convert the inflow of immigrants towards a merit-based system.

If there is an antecedent to the Foundation’s policy approach for the long term it is Senator Cotton’s proposals which he articulated in 2018.

This posting focuses on the merit-based system.

According to the Foundation, applicants for immigration would be awarded points based on various criteria such as educational qualifications, work experience, especially in high-demand fields, English language proficiency, age, existing job offers from U.S. employers, and entrepreneurial potential or investment capability.

Certain industries or job categories deemed crucial for the U.S. economy might have specific quotas. The points system and thresholds would be periodically reviewed and adjusted based on economic needs and labor market trends. The system might include provisions for temporary workers to transition to permanent residency based on their contributions and integration over time.

The distribution of the total number of immigrants accepted will shift from about 15% employment -based to about 50% employment based.

The system will then come to look more like the Canadian and Australian systems, about which I have posted often.

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