There is ample demand from the best and brightest around the world for the chance to immigrate to the United States. On The American Conservative, Scott McConnell previews Reihan Salam’s book, Melting Pot or Civil War?, and makes a case for allowing the best immigrants into the U.S.A. McConnell writes (abridged):
It’s hard to imagine a more needed contribution to America’s immigration debate than Reihan Salam’s civil, sober, and penetrating Melting Pot or Civil War? At a moment when the major dueling discourses revolve around lurid depictions of immigrant crime by one side, and appeals to the inscription on the Statue of Liberty and accusations of racism by the other, Salam’s data-driven argument about the future consequences of today’s immigration choices could not be more timely.
Salam’s case is that America’s legal immigration system needs be reformed on lines roughly similar to what the Trump administration now and others before it have long advocated: changing the rules to place a greater emphasis on the economic skills of immigrants.
Salam reminds us, an alarming number of recent immigrants and their families are poor.
Salam makes clear, successful immigrants tend to come from relatively rich and urbanized societies. The parents of Google founder Sergey Brin were accomplished scholars. An astounding 45 percent of immigrants from India—who make up the latest version of a high-achieving “model minority”—are Brahmins, members of the tiny Indian hereditary upper caste. Indians who come here tend to be “triple selected”: most enter the country by way of high-skilled worker visas, which means they are products of India’s highly competitive education system, which serves only a fraction of India’s population. Similarly, Chinese immigrants tend to come from that country’s college-educated elite.
Salam explains that under the current system, most visas are doled out according to family ties—not skills or education. And the larger the number of immigrants is from a given country, the lower their average earnings and educational outcomes will be in the U.S. Conversely, the harder it is for a given group to enter the United States, the more likely it is that immigrants will be drawn from the top of their country’s pecking order.
Read more here.