Federalizating Immigration: A Path to More Rational Policy

  •  June 30, 2014
     2:00 pm - 2:40 pm

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. Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia will explain what exactly this program is and its lessons for the United States.


Following the presentation, there will be a brief Q&A.

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