Why don't we just do a bunch of lotteries: permanent resident with family sponsor lottery, permanent resident without family sponsor lottery, five year temporary lottery, one year temporary lottery, and student lottery.
Shift the numbers in each as they are over or under subscribed and as the electorate deems appropriate (as with capital flows, I am generally in favor of open labor flows but 'm still sympathtic to people who worry about big discontinuous flows that the system may have trouble accomodating in the short run).
This has no valuation of people who happen to have lots of education over those who have little or who make lots of money vs. little money. My family never would have made it in if they had that sort of standard between the 1630s and the 1890s (the expanse of time when we arrived), and I feel like we've made some valuable contributions since then. Plus it just doesn't feel like that's the way we should be doing things in this country.
This one just came to mind.
There are surely other better ones.
It seems to me immigration policy ought to be welcoming, universalist, and able to distinguish between people who come here for different reasons (in other worrds, I recognize that just as we shouldn't distinguish based on skill level we also shouldn't only cater to permanent residents or only cater to temporary workers). Policymakers should not try to shape the composition of the American people. That's our business.
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