Princeton University

Trump's push for 'merit-based' immigration may not deliver the benefits he expects

Trump's push for 'merit-based' immigration may not deliver the benefits he expects

President Trump wants to reform the immigration system to favor foreigners who have special skills that would contribute to the U.S. economy, breaking from a decades-long practice of giving preference to family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

But switching to a “merit-based” system like Canada’s and Australia’s, which Trump endorsed in his speech to Congress recently, is fraught with political landmines and administrative hurdles.

And there are serious questions about whether it will deliver the kinds of large-scale economic benefits that the president and his supporters envision.

While in many ways a patchwork, the U.S. immigration system is already...

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