Overhauling employment visas. On Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul (R–Ky.) introduced a highly important, eminently reasonable proposal for fixing one aspect of our flawed immigration system. Paul's Backlog Elimination, Legal Immigration, and Employment Visa Enhancement (BELIEVE) Act would:
- expand the overall number of employment-based immigration visas that the U.S. allocates annually from 140,000 to 270,000,
- end per-country caps on employment-based immigration green cards,
- authorize the spouses and older teenage children of immigrants granted work visas to work in the U.S. themselves without counting toward the annual cap on employment-based visas,
- make it easier for U.S. employers to hire immigrants in certain desirable work categories (those on the U.S. Department of Labor "Shortage Occupation" list), and
- make it easier for the children of those with temporary worker permits to stay in the United States upon turning 21.
Paul's proposal "would solve most of the major issues with skilled immigration in one piece of legislation," writes David Bier at the Cato Institute's blog.* And it "would do more to move the United States toward a merit-based system than any other legislation introduced this congress. No legislation since the 2013 immigration reform bill that passed the Senate would increase skilled immigration more than this bill."
A similar but less broad bill passed the House of Representatives earlier this week.
The Trump administration has backed down on its threat to require a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. "In place of the Census question, Trump says he will issue an executive order instructing government agencies to sift through existing databases and documents to determine residents' immigration status," Reason's Eric Boehm explains.
"I am here to say we are not backing down on our effort to determine the citizenship status of the United States population," Trump told reporters yesterday. But as Boehm notes, "the administration is backing down from an 18-months-long legal battle to include that question on Census forms—a fight that even many conservatives have suggested was an error from the outset."
Facebook's new cryptocurrency, Libra, could weigh down Bitcoin and other decentralized alternative currencies. President Donald Trump recently tweeted his misgivings about both.
"Bitcoin is unfortunately getting caught up in the political fire aimed at Facebook's plans for a global currency," Jerry Brito, executive director at the think tank Coin Center, told The Block. "That the president is calling for Libra to be regulated like a bank reflects the fact that Libra is a company issued asset. In contrast, Bitcoin is an open and permissionless network of users like the internet, not a company."
- "Nearly 18 years since the start of the war in Afghanistan and 16 years since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, majorities of U.S. military veterans say those wars were not worth fighting," according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center.
- The National Taxpayers Union asks conservatives to reject Sen. Josh Hawley's internet censorship bill.
- After decades of decline, Catholic nunhood is experiencing a resurgence in the millennial generation. This convent cohort is younger, more diverse, and more conservative than their recent predecessors: "Ninety percent of American nuns in 2009 identified as white; last year, fewer than 60 percent of new entrants to convents did. They're also younger: The average age for taking the final step into the religious life a decade ago was 40. Today, it's 24."
- "Support for legal abortion stands at its highest level in more than two decades" in a new Washington Post/ABC News poll.
- Vanity Fair tackles the Justin Amash presidential speculation. "Those I spoke to agreed that the 39-year-old wasn't ready to retire from the political arena, sinking into a tenured chair at the Cato Institute or taking a job complaining about Trump on cable news, like some of his former Tea Party peers," writes Tina Nguyen.
- Notes on the rise and fall of Portland as platonic hipster ideal:
- France's internet tax isn't playing so well with U.S. authorities.
- Anti-"deepfake" legislation is coming. Be afraid.
- Singer R. Kelly has been arrested on federal sex crime charges.
* CORRECTION: This previously listed the Cato author as Daniel.