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Should America Use A Merit-Based Immigration System?

It would bring in more useful immigrants

Actually, it might hurt the US economy

 Getty: Alex Wong / Staff

The US immigration system should streamline visas for high-skilled immigrants that can contribute to our economy, believes Republican Senator Orrin Hatch. The current method, allowing a large amount of people to come in on a lottery, is counterproductive and doesn’t serve the country’s best interests. Family members of immigrants that are here are also prioritized, which is inefficient. Smart legal immigrants are a huge boon to American businesses. Making it easier for students to stay in the country is another step that would benefit the country. A merit-based immigration system is the fairest and best way to chose who comes in.

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A merit-based immigration system would not necessarily be better for America, asserts Priscilla Alvarez of The Atlantic. In fact, it might hurt the economy. Low-skilled immigrants are a necessity for many businesses, and without them consumer costs could rise. Additionally, the fear of immigrants using the social safety net is exaggerated. Particularly once they have children, their contribution to the economy grows. Additionally, a merit-based system is difficult to enforce. The complicated nature of deciding what aspects to reward made Australia and Canada move away from this kind of criteria. Judging immigrants on "merit" isn’t necessarily good.

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