This policy brief, a project of MPI’s Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy initiative, is a succinct statement of the reforms the authors believe are necessary to bring our immigration system in line with our current economic and demographic realities. The authors begin by laying out our current and projected labor market challenges, as well as the dysfunctions of an immigration system that has not been adjusted in three decades. The authors believe that, while it is important to address the situation of the undocumented population, it is equally urgent to update the employment-based and other immigration streams. They envision an employment-based immigration system with three sub-categories: seasonal and short-term workers; workers entering as permanent residents; and those entering on a “bridge visa”—a multi-year, renewable visa from which a worker could apply for a green card. This last category—the bridge visa—would be the dominant stream of foreign workers into the U.S. The authors also make other proposals for reform, including a pilot “point system” program, adjustments to the family-based system, changes to asylum, and creation of an independent body that could make the immigration system more responsive to ongoing economic changes. Some of the ideas presented in this paper will be fleshed out more fully in forthcoming papers. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting)
Rethinking the U.S. Legal Immigration System: A Policy Roadmap,
Migration Policy Institute, May 2021, 19 pp.
Authors: Muzaffar Chishti, Julia Gelatt, & Doris Meissner