Federalizating Immigration: A Path to More Rational Policy

Commentary

Federalizating Immigration: A Path to More Rational Policy

In a private telebriefing to Reason supporters on August 21, Reason Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia explained what lessons the U.S. can learn from Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program. Watch the presentation below for more information.

To learn how to receive invitations to future private telebriefings, please contact Preston Cornish at preston.cornish@reason.org.

America’s immigration system is a monument to Leninist central planning. Under it, federal bureaucrats in Washington sit and plan the labor market of the entire country. And, as expected, they make a complete hash of things. They divide foreign workers into “skilled” and “unskilled” categories. This distinction is economically meaningless, of course, given that as far as employers are concerned, the relevant distinction is between those workers who generate value and those who don’t. But it is also arbitrary. Why are underwater welders regarded as unskilled rather than skilled?

It is vital to move America’s immigration laws in a more rational direction by letting states and employers-instead of federal bureaucrats with their one-size-fit-all approaches-call the shots in recruiting foreign workers. One way of doing this would be by federalizing immigration policy along the lines of Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program.

Amy Pelletier is officially Reason's Director of Organizational Development, and unofficially Reason's Jill-of-all-trades-wrangling a new database, planning major events like Reason Weekend, and managing Reason's far-flung human capital. Her dual focus is on the infrastructure that supports and connects Reason's highly productive policy analysts, journalists and video producers, and the identification of new talent for the organization. Amy joined Reason Foundation in 2005 as a project manager coordinating and leading outreach for Reason's Mobility Project.