Reason Writers Around Town: Shikha Dalmia on What America Can Learn From Canada About Rational Immigration Laws


Now that Republicans seem ready to play ball on immigration, notes Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia in her Bloomberg View column, it will be a pity if the momentum for reform is squandered on little, piddly reforms like raising visa caps. This opportunity should be used for a fundamental overhaul of U.S. immigration system, especially its employment-based part:

This isn't as daunting as it appears. For inspiration, Americans need look no farther than Canada.

Canada's provincial-nominee program, while not perfect, avoids the economically meaningless distinctions between skilled and unskilled workers that bedevil the employment-based U.S. immigration laws. It also puts in place incentives to treat foreign workers not as foes but as friends whose labor and skills are vital to the economy.

Read the whole thing here.


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  1. It’s not popular to say it since every immigrant is supposed to either be prospective Americans thrilled and willing to immigrate or the scum of the Earth, but the fact is that most people who immigrate here just want to work, send money to their families, and go back to wherever they came from after it’s all said and done. The Mexicans who emigrate here, legally and illegally, mostly want to keep being Mexican and see no reason why they can’t be. For all the wailing and moaning about creating another voting group for the Democrats, most immigrants could care less about our internal politics because *this isn’t their country*. If we allowed freer immigration (particularly for temporary workers), the “problem” with a growing population of disenfranchised voters goes away practically overnight.

    How’s this for a plan:
    Checkpoints along major transit sites on the border to check for diseases and criminal record: if the immigrant checks out, then he’s good to go
    Federal ID card for use in transactions like purchase of real estate or renting
    No welfare of any kind for immigrants
    Stricter processes for becoming a citizen
    Strict border security and no amnesty after this point

    1. Stricter processes for becoming a citizen

      How so? You are familiar with what it takes to become a citizen now?

      1. Citizenship just points to the fact voting is one of the most horrible things you can inflict on your fellow man. That is the only reason that I do it.

      2. I am aware, as I have helped a couple of people through the process. Inviting someone to be a member of a group that determines when and where the use of force is appropriate, is not a process that should be handled lightly.

        In particular, I would like to add a requirement that incoming citizens be current taxpayers, that their net contribution to the tax rolls be positive, and that they either own property or a business in the US.

        1. that their net contribution to the tax rolls be positive, and that they either own property or a business in the US.

          Can we extend that to current citizens? I think the “no welfare of any kind” would take care of the net tax issue.

          1. If I could, I’d eliminate birthright citizenship altogether and have everyone take the same track as current applicants with regard to citizenship.

            1. Relegating everyone to starting off stateless doesn’t sound like such a grand idea. That’s just my opinion though.

    2. I would love to see an exemption from the Federal and state minimum wage laws for immigrants. The leftists would lose their shit and I can’t think of a better economics lesson.

      1. That would be awesome.

      2. Let those lower-class Americans starve as their wages are systematically undercut by immigrants. Good thinking, bro.

        1. Let that economy stagnate as we desperately try to protect it. Good thinking, mo.

    3. The fact that it’s so hard to legally move here for temporary work is a huge reason for illegal immigration

      1. Cool victim blaming, bro.

        “The fact that you acted in self-defense is the a huge reason that you were murdered.”

        You gonna let some thug mug you on the subway?

        1. Except the only “victims” in his comment are immigrants, so your response makes no sense at all. Reading comprehension, how does it work?

          “The fact that you acted in self-defense is the a huge reason that you were murdered.”

          False analogy is false. Defending yourself against an assault is similar to breaking silly immigration laws? I agree.

    4. No, they want to turn the US (parts of it) back into Mexico.

      Many of them resent that parts of the US, basically the SW and California, were taken from Mexico by Anglos outcolonizing the original Mexican inhabitants.

      1. Good to know you can read the minds of over 50 million people and tell us what they’re thinking.

        1. (1) I don’t think “many of them” means “50 million”.

          (2) Ever hear of La Raza?

          1. (1) If you think a couple, what, thousand? tens of thousands? a few million? people want to “turn the US… back into Mexico”, then there’s no reason to take this “threat” seriously.

            (2) Ditto.

            1. If you think a couple, what, thousand? tens of thousands? a few million? people want to “turn the US… back into Mexico”, then there’s no reason to take this “threat” seriously.

              Translation: “I am an idiot who does not understand demographic change over time.”

              1. Shorter Santorum: “They terk er states!”

              2. Demographic change has little to do with my point, moron. If he’s claiming that he knows what 50 million people think, he’s an idiot. If he’s claiming that a minority group of a minority group is a huge threat, he’s still an idiot. I presume you’re part of the “I can read minds” coalition.

  2. H1-Bs kind of suck. They expire, so people can’t truly put down roots. Their spouses get H4 visas, which don’t allow them to work. There are never enough of them. If we moved to a more state-based approach, places like WA with a large tech sector as well as agricultural sector, would definitely benefit. The Canadian PNPs aren’t perfect and have a lot of useless definitions about particular industries and job titles but they certainly look more sane.

    1. Is there no one that will take this poor girl’s hand in green card marriage?

      1. To think, guys, Dagney is probably the nom de plume of this Canadian.…..ulkes.jpeg

      2. Does she only look like Andie MacDowell, or does she act like her too?

        1. She does a tight metered scan not excelled by anyone.

      3. Bigamy’s legal in Kentucky, right? Why don’t you do it?

        1. I would make an awesome sisterwife.

          1. mmm . . . sisterwife . . I’ll be in my bunker.

          2. You know, the wost thing about incest porn is sometimes your really can’t tell if they are really brother and sister or not. It’s an easy one for producers to scam you on.

            1. Are you saying you want to see their birth certificates? Because I’m pretty sure that is racist.

              1. Wow. Michelle and Barrack. Brother and sister? This, I didn’t not know. You could have warned us, birthers!

                1. Or, ‘did not not know’, or ‘did know not’, whichever way you read it is cool by me.

      4. Does Illinois have gay marriage yet? I could go for some triple-citizenship myself.

        1. Canadian is a good citizenship to have if you’re going to do the Five Flags thing. It is good enough that you can ditch your US cit if you ever want to bail and quit paying US taxes.

      5. I should start a business sham-marrying Mexican gays to get them green cards.

        Actually, immigration is one of the areas where marriage inequality sucks the hardest. If you get a coveted H1-B and your S.O. wants to come with you on your American adventure, if you’re straight you can quickly get married and now they can come on H4. If you’re gay they have to stay home and hope they can get visitor visas.

        1. But…but…they can marry someone of the opposite sex, so it’s all equal, right?

          1. If I can’t marry a dude it is hardly fair that you get to.

            1. JJ and I don’t need a marriage certificate, dude.

              1. You have your love. Great. Love doesn’t pay the bills, or help on the mortgage interest bonuses. Or, whatever reason, I signed off on getting married this time.

              2. The one gay marriage I have attended, the couple looked miserable. That is how I know it was meant to be.

                1. That’s why JJ and I aren’t doing it.

          2. Oh shut up, you guys just hate Christians!


            1. Them too. It’s an inclusive tent.

              1. We don’t have prejudice, we hate everyone equally. We’re very inclusive in our hate.

          3. Um … yes?

  3. Over/under on how many minutes until American shows up?

  4. The “provinces choose” section of the original article is noticeably silent on the insanity that is Quebec.

    1. It is a shame QB is so insane, isn’t it? But at least under this system the stupid provinces/states that want to be racist or protectionist or otherwise take their toys and go home (Arizona, I’m looking at you) can do so and let the sane ones benefit. Almost like little laboratories of democracy or something.

      1. That’s PQ, you filthy Anglo! Ha. But yes, totally. And it’s a great demonstration. I mean, how many people would be living in MTL right now if it hadn’t been for the language laws? Ima say a lot more than 3M.

        I guess at least the influx of North Africans and Middle Easterners might help out the inbred Franco gene pool.

        1. It’s good to see some of my metaracist ideas rubbing off on fellow H&R members. Hybrid vigor for the ultimate wager!

          1. Dunno about hybridism’s applicability for everything, but goddamn does hybridism do wonders for the good looks of Asians and Africans. Not to say that Asians and Africans are bad looking on their own, but you combine them with something else and BAM! Instant sex appeal.

            1. I think mixed race girls in general are very attractive

        2. Is it the inbreeding that gives Montreal men that kind of grimy appeal? They might be filthy hippies but my god do they make smoking, riding bicycles, and speaking French sexy.

          1. No, you have to head out to the burbs for the real inbreeding to kick in. Some serious horse-face problems. It’s more that the whole place is grimy. Mine’s not a native, but he still got me with the smoking, bike-riding, and speaking of other non-English languages. Also with the incredibly cheap pitchers. I’m afraid to go back, because what if our bar is gone, the one where we went on our first date and I had to be carried home shouting for more cigarettes?

            Ah, good times. Kind of feel like doing that now actually.

            1. Aw, that is so romantic. And now that you mention it, my town billeted a Quebec hockey team when I was in high school and there was indeed many a horse-face, clad in leather jackets and topped with greasy hair.

              1. One good thing about Quebec hockey teams: if you are parallel parked in a tiny Ford Escort and totally blocked in by snow, they can lift your car right out of its space and carry it into the cleared part of the street.

  5. Despite the evidence that immigrants have been overwhelmingly good for Canada, we still maintain an immigration quota of 250,000 per year.

    If we had any sense, we’d open about 50 immigration offices in Europe right now with signs outside saying “If you speak English or French fluently and are under 30, we can have your visa ready in 30 minutes. / Si tu parle Francais ou Anglais et tu n’a pas 30 ans, nous pouvez se rendre une visa en 30 minutes.”

    1. Good to know that there’s no need to be able to write correctly in French to be a Canadian.

      1. Busted.

        I won’t starve if I have to speak French, but native Francophones do get a good laugh out of my attempts.

  6. Yes, it’s good for Canada, because they get the smartest immigrants from Asia and Europe, who speak English and who want to become Canadian.

    By contrast, we get people who are unwilling to learn English (thus requiring Spanish signs to be everywhere) and best case scenario, are unskilled workers. Yes, I get it, big business likes this because they don’t have to pay proper wages to people if there is a flood of people who are willing to work cheaper. But I don’t see the benefit for people already in this country. It’s not going to result in lower prices.

    And worst case scenario, they bring their family and all of them go on the dole.

    If we got the same immigrants that Canada did, it wouldn’t be a problem. But we don’t.

    1. Lower wages equal lower prices, so we benefit from these Mexican laborers as well…as long as it’s illegal immigrants.

      1. Lower wages equal lower prices, so we benefit from these Mexican laborers as well…as long as it’s illegal immigrants.


        In the current culture of corporate malfeasance, the “money saved” from illegal immigrants goes to the pocketbooks of corporate executives.

        How’s that race-to-the-bottom Walmart lifestyle treating you? Everyone’s poor except for the corporate executives, but, hey CHEAP SHIT, so you can eke out a meager standard of living on $15,000 a year.

    2. So…many….fallacies….

  7. Didn’t Reason run an article just 2 weeks ago saying how hard it was for people to become immigrate to Canada?

    1. Was it this ? That’s the most recent I could find about Canada and immigration. Doesn’t say anything about immigration being difficult.

  8. Sounds like someone knows whats going on over there.

    1. The immigration quota for anonbots is 1, and you are second. Sorry. Try again in April.

  9. Was it this? That’s the most recent I could find about Canada and immigration. Doesn’t say anything about immigration being difficult.

    1. Wrong place.

      1. Wrong time. — Sensei Wu

  10. Canadians don’t have second- citizens pouring over their borders. Wonder how that welfare state would stand up to millions of Hispanics undercutting the wages of their tax base.

    Shut up, Shikha, you dumb bint.

    1. *Second-world citizens. Guess the free market can’t provide an edit button.

  11. I like this site, no reason

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