Immigration has expanded rapidly in recent decades, which is in many respects beneficial. As with previous generations, new arrivals strengthen our economy and enrich our culture. But many Americans feel there is little rhyme or reason to how or why the federal government lets people enter our country. Washington’s major challenge today is that our broken system—originally conceived in 1965—puts little emphasis on whether any given applicant would contribute to the nation’s overall well-being.
America has always been a nation of immigrants. But immigrants come with different skill sets, aptitudes, and interests. How does our half-century-old system select which applicants can come in and which cannot? While many other industrial economies place a heavy emphasis on whether a prospective immigrant is likely to contribute to that nation’s economy, America’s immigration policy is currently based largely on family ties.
Washington has also done a poor job ensuring that approved immigrants arrive quickly and expeditiously— and that others are kept out. Moreover, the government continues to do a patchwork job determining who among those already living here should be sent back—and who should be permitted to stay.
Finally, the rapid increase in immigration has made it more difficult for new arrivals to assimilate into local communities. America has always welcomed newcomers and celebrated the diverse contributions they offer. But those afforded an opportunity to live in America need to embrace certain rhythms of American life.