Does Wisconsin need merit-based immigration?
May 21, 2019
- Legal immigration could help Wisconsin’s worker shortage
- The Trump administration is eyeing a merit-based immigration system
- What are the odds of the most recent immigration proposal passing Congress?
Among the crisis of figuring out what to do with the influx of illegal immigrants at the border (are they going to Florida or not!?) and news of increased self deportations, the White House unveiled a new plan last Thursday. This new plan would create an immigration system based on merit, education, and skill rather than relying on family to become an American citizen.
Why is legal immigration so important for Wisconsin?
In Wisconsin, legal immigration could actually be the solution to keeping the economy humming along, in light of the hard time employers are having finding workers to fill jobs.
It appears that 97 percent of Wisconsin counties have actually “lost populations of working-age people between 25 and 54 years old” over the last decade, according to Wisconsin Public Radio. The argument being that immigration reform could create a better legal immigration system that benefits local communities and the taxpaying citizens in them.
What exactly is in the new plan?
According to the New York Times, the goal of the current administration’s immigration reform proposal is to “significantly increase the educational and skills requirements for people allowed to migrate to the United States.” If Trump’s new immigration plan passes, immigrants would have to meet the following requirements to become a citizen:
- Demonstrate English proficiency
- Show proof of educational attainment
- Pass a civics exam
As Time Magazine writes, “immigrants would be rated by their age, English proficiency, level of education and offers of employment. It would also increase visas for those with particular skills from 12% now to 57% under the new system.” The new plan could also force migrants seeking asylum to apply in processing centers outside of the U.S., which could protect the border from becoming overcrowded.
What’s a Heartland visa and is it worth a serious look?
Another group has this outside-the-box idea: a heartland visa. Its goal is to drive economic growth in our ‘heartland’ by tying an immigrant to a region rather than to one single employer like the current work visas do. Some say it will help Wisconsin’s economy if migrants can work in counties where they’re needed and have the ability to switch employers.
Others are asking if it’s possible to focus on getting Wisconsinites to stay and fill those jobs.
What are the odds the current immigration plan can pass Congress?
Given the state of Congress today, President Trump’s plan will need a lot of negotiation if it’s going to become a bill that can cross a congressional finish line. Here are the sides:
Democrats believe that we need to figure out what to do with immigrants who are already here before talking about total immigration reform. They are also unsure about a bill that prioritizes skills over family ties.
Republicans are unsure about letting millions of illegal immigrants stay in the country just because they’re already here. They’re also focused on stopping the funnel of more illegal immigration at the southern border.