Proposal for a Points Based Visa Program – Episode 119

Proposal for a Points Based Visa Program – Episode 119

The idea of a points-based immigration system has been at the center of public debate during the Trump administration, as President Trump repeatedly has called for a restructuring of the U.S. immigration system. Critics of such a system are often concerned that a points-model prioritizing high-skilled workers would harm industries relying on low-skill immigrant labor and narrow the existing variety of U.S. immigration opportunities. While a points-tested visa program has been implemented in eleven countries, including Canada and Australia, Mackenzie Eason of Cornell University joins Mona Shah to discuss how his proposed immigration model is different.

Mackenzie Eason is currently a Postdoctoral Associate at Cornell Law School in the Migration and Human Rights Program, examining the use of points-based immigration systems around the world and how such a system might be implemented here in the United States. He is also a PhD Candidate in Political Science at UCLA where he focuses on international criminal law (ICL) and international legal and political history, and his dissertation project reviews the intertwined histories of international criminal justice and European imperialism. Over the last decade, he has taught courses in international law, political theory, and international relations. He holds a JD from the UCLA School of Law and both an MA and BA from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

On this episode of EB-5 Investment Voice, Mona, Rebecca, Mackenzie and Mark sit down to discuss the points-based system approach he has proposed in conjunction with Stephen Yale-Loehr in their recent publication- Recruiting for the Future: A Realistic Road to a Points-Tested Visa Program in the United States. Listen in for insights from immigration experts on how a points-based system may be the future of U.S. immigration.

While many misunderstand the points-based system, Mr. Eason explains that his recent Report capitalizes on the atmosphere of renewed interest by harnessing the current administration’s enthusiasm, providing evidence-based policy guidance, and mapping out a path forward that avoids the policy gridlock and political pitfalls that have beset past efforts to implement a points-based immigration program in the United States. This path forward is presented in the form of a legislative program. Mr. Eason and his co-author, Mr. Yale-Loehr, recommend that the U.S. create a small pilot program that would allocate 50,000 green cards each year to candidates selected through a novel points-based selection program. Alongside this small pilot, they recommend creating a number of administrative supports meant to ensure that this program is effective, flexible, and transparent. Included are guidelines and financial support for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or another executive agency to gather linked long-term data on the employment outcomes of admitted foreign workers; provisions requiring periodic review of the program by relevant congressional committees; and the establishment of a standing advisory board consisting of immigration experts and stakeholders.

The points-tested visa program laid out in the Report’s proposal would be temporary by design, initially authorized for just ten years, and would increase the number of green cards issued each year by only 4%. The program is designed to supplement, not displace, existing employment-related and family-based immigration categories. As such, the Report proposal does not call for any changes to existing immigration categories. Finally, Mr. Eason embraces a piecemeal and incremental approach to legislative strategy, recommending that the pilot program be introduced in Congress as a standalone bill rather than as part of a comprehensive immigration reform package.

To read the full report and further understand Mr. Eason and Mr. Yale-Loehr’s proposal, see