DeMint writes that: "A properly structured lawful immigration system would help our economy. This is why Heritage and conservatives have long argued for reforming the legal immigration system to make the process more efficient, more merit-based. We need an immigration process that attracts high-skilled workers and encourages patriotic assimilation to unite new immigrants with America’s vibrant civil society."
Commenter Hume argues that there's a cognitive difference between people who say "I don't want the people I think are dumber" (Richwine, for example) and the people who say "I only want the people I think are smarter" (DeMint, for example). I think in a lot of this cases this is probably right. When Noah Smith takes this position, for example, I do not think there are any underlying Richwinesque sentiments driving it. That's just my impression from what I know of Noah. But in a lot of cases I think the DeMint position is just a more politically aware version of the Richwine position.
And when people say they want to grease the tracks for high skill immigrants because that's what they can get done, they're basically taking the same negotiating position with guys like Jim DeMint that Obama took with the GOP on the budget - in other words, trying to meet them halfway but ending up meeting them 95% of the way because you know DeMint isn't going to budge.
We shouldn't just assume that we should make decisions on the basis of national borders. The people on the other side of the border are just as human as the people on this side. But if national borders mean anything, they identify a community of people that have built a set of national institutions together - which is not a minor point. If we want to make policy to maintain the fundamental composition of that institution-building community we might want to regulate inflow across the border: we might want to make immigration policy, in other words. That's not an entirely unreasonable position. But when we make immigration policy, it seems to me the question should be "do the migrants want to be a part of this institution-building community?", not "what is their IQ?" or "can they program in Java?".