The Impact of a Point-Based Immigration System on Agriculture and Other Business Sectors

Report Author: 
Stuart Anderson
Original Date of Publication: 
August, 2017

This paper examines a congressional proposal known as the RAISE Act to substitute an immigration point system for the current system of numerical limits within preference categories. The author notes that the Canadian and Australian immigration point systems—often cited as models—are not analogous to the system proposed by the RAISE Act. The Australian point system, for example, is meant to attract immigrants who have no other ties to Australia, such as a job offer or family member. The point system proposed by the RAISE Act is meant to cut legal immigration by eliminating several categories of family- and employment-based immigration. Furthermore, the Canadian and Australian political systems, and the way those countries administer their immigration system, allow for speedy adjustments when economic conditions change. Adjustments to our immigration system require Congress to pass a law (and adjustments have not been made in nearly three decades despite repeated attempts). The RAISE Act’s proposed point system favors highly-skilled immigrants and would do nothing for industries such as agriculture and construction that are already experiencing shortages of lesser-skilled labor. Many of the industries that will add the greatest number of jobs in the coming decade require workers with little formal education. Implementation of a point system such as proposed in the RAISE act, according to the author, would result in a significant slowdown in the U.S. economy, at a time when some policy makers are making assumptions that U.S. economic growth will pick up significantly. The author concludes by noting that the RAISE Act does nothing to address the key problems in our immigration system today: what to do with the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., the lack of a year-round work visa for lesser skilled immigrants, and long waits for green cards that family- and employment-based immigrants must endure. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)

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The Impact of a Point-Based Immigration System on Agriculture and Other Business Sectors


Report File: 

Anderson, S. (2017). The Impact of a Point-Based Immigration Ssystem on Agricultural and Other Business Sectors. FNAP and National Immigration Forum.

Source Organization: 
American Federation of Teachers