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Immigration Should Be Based on Merit, Work

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Matthew Noyes

America is unique because anyone can become an American if they embrace our core principles, becomes a legal citizen, and contributes to society. They’re just as American as any other native-born citizen. Unfortunately, our current immigration system is far from ideal. Some who should be able to immigrate cannot, and many who should not are here.

Instead of accepting people based on their merit, the U.S. has immigration quotas for each country. That means we accept a certain number of people from each country. On top of that, there is also chain migration and the diversity visa lottery. According to the New York Times, chain migration is the ability for a single citizen or green card holder to have certain family members also receive permanent residence. This results in multiple immigrants that are extended family of a legal resident coming here simply because they are related to someone.

According to CNN, every year the diversity visa program gives green cards to as many as 50,000 randomly selected people from certain countries. The problem with these immigration policies is they don’t consider individuals for who they are. Country of origin should not matter. The political left and alt-right both favor immigration based on things people cannot control: their race, ethnicity, and country of origin. Our own senator, Chuck Schumer helped create the diversity lottery bill in 1990. Last time I checked though, using country of origin, race, and ethnicity to decide how to treat someone was the very definition of racism.

We need to see people as individuals and let as many of the best qualified individuals in as possible. When you open your door to the most qualified candidates, there will almost always be diversity, and race and origin doesn’t determine someone’s value and skills. Morals and hard work do. What we need is a merit based immigration policy. A merit based policy would select people who want to assimilate to our values and will contribute to the economy.

Once that’s established, it’s important to tackle the issue of those who are here illegally. It would make sense to create a pathway for the illegal immigrants who do not receive government handouts and contribute to the economy to earn legal residence. That is so long as their only crime is breaking immigration laws. As Charles Krauthammer put it for PragerU, “For both practical and moral reasons, America cannot, will not, and should not expel [the] 11 million people [here illegally].”

You might think to yourself: Why not let everyone in who wants to come? Open immigration for those who embrace our values and contribute to our economy would be ideal. However, it would destroy our wealth because of the welfare system. People who come here either legally or illegally can receive government welfare. What would stop innumerable numbers of people from coming to receive other people’s money through government handouts? That’s not to say immigrants legal or otherwise are more prone to be dependent on the system. If the handouts are available it makes sense that people would want to take advantage of them. That is why open immigration is only possible by the abolition of the welfare state and government forced wealth redistribution. If charity was completely privatized and the welfare state abolished, who would argue against open immigration? Only people who can support themselves, and therefor add rather than subtract from society would be able to make it.

That would be ideal but for the time being, we should implement a merit based immigration system. That way those who are best suited to joining our nation can come and we will all prosper as a result. All the immigration under a merit based system would contribute economically, culturally, and reinforce the principles that our country is based on.


Matthew Noyes is a conservative columnist and assistant opinions editor of the Albany Student Press. He is also president of the University at Albany's Turning Point USA chapter and a writer for Campus Reform. Noyes, a New Hampshire native, is a political science and Japanese double major.

1 Comment

  1. Jerome Steele
    January 31, 2018 at 3:01 pm — Reply

    “Chain migration” is a deliberate rhetorical obfuscation of both policy and law to serve ideological purposes. The term in the Immigration and Nationality Act is “family reunification.” I guess families, and their accompanying values, only matter to conservatives when they are white.

    That is just one of the problems with this vapid attempt to launder white supremacist views on immigration with the veneer of “principled conservatism.”

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