IMPROVING THE U.S. IMMIGRATION SYSTEM: LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE DIVERSITY VISA, FAMILY, AND MERIT-BASED IMMIGRATION PROGRAMS
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The U.S. immigration system is the subject of an ongoing debate regarding necessary reforms to protect American national security and benefit all Americans economically. This thesis asks two questions: (1) How should the current U.S. immigration system be improved to address existing economic and national security concerns presented by legal immigration?, and (2) What elements from existing U.S. legal immigration programs, as well as from Canada’s and Australia’s legal immigration programs, can the United States incorporate in its revamped immigration policies? This thesis conducted a comparative analysis of the U.S. diversity immigrant visa and family-based immigration programs and existing merit-based immigration systems in Canada and Australia. The inquiry identified which of the aforementioned immigration programs have had a positive effect on their respective countries’ economies, based on levels of education and unemployment rates, and which immigration policies have resulted in fewer terrorist attacks by immigrants who come to each country, via relevant noted programs. This thesis found that although the U.S. diversity immigrant and family-based immigration programs are not perfect, they serve an important purpose and can be improved. This thesis recommends, among other things, introducing points-based human capital criteria into family-based immigration and instituting a five-year review of the U.S. immigration system.
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