(Page 2 of 2)
Skilled immigrants can apply for a temporary work visa called H1-B. This allows them to legally work here while simultaneously applying for a green card. The available H1-Bs are woefully inadequate and the green card process byzantine and long. But it exists.
There is nothing equivalent for non-agricultural unskilled immigrants. Not only is it way harder for them to land a temporary work visa, the terms of the visa bar them from applying for a green card while here. And there is no process for them to apply for one from their own country. Asking them to wait in line is a polite way of telling them to get lost.
Mexicans will Overrun America Without a Berlin Wall Along the Rio Grande
This is the mother of all fears. However, immigration flows are remarkably self-regulating when left to market forces. They increase when the U.S. economy is booming relative to Mexico’s, and diminish when it slows down. Indeed, a growing body of research, including by Princeton University’s Mexican Migration Project, has found that since America’s recession began, the flow of Mexican workers has gone into negative territory. But even during booms, the flow closely tacks the jobs available and the economy’s capacity to absorb foreign workers.
Shikha Dalmia is a senior analyst at Reason Foundation and a columnist at The Daily, where this column originally appeared.