Reading the Tea Leaves … November and Beyond

Reading the Tea Leaves … November and Beyond

The candidacy of Mr. Donald Trump, while hugely entertaining (or disturbing, depending on one’s point of view), is not likely to lead to the White House.  While Mr. Trump, as Ms. Palin before him, is undeniably charismatic, and offers appealingly simplistic answers to the world’s most complex issues, he will simply not be able to amass the broad base he needs for election to the presidency.  

Assuming Mrs. Hillary Clinton is elected to the presidency, I believe that she (and husband Bill) will push for meaningful reform of the immigration laws of this country, and that she will be successful in working with the Congress to an infinitely higher degree than her well-intentioned but aloof predecessor.

Looking beyond 2016:  

We need a dramatic overhaul of the US work visa system. The biggest change would be to restore the pre-fiscal-year-2000 allowance for the “H-1B” work visa for professional-level positions, termed “specialty occupations.”  The current permitted annual allotment is roughly 40% (at best) of the earlier “cap” figure.  It is a shameful fact that this country offers university education to the world’s best young minds, but no stable employment beyond that.  We are creating our own “brain drain” and thus contributing to the competitiveness of the rest of the world’s economy

Another glaring inadequacy of the work visa system is that there is virtually no accommodation for skilled worker positions.  Americans depend on undocumented labor to grow our food, mow our lawns, and care for our small children — in short to help us enjoy the lifestyle we so love.  There is nothing standing in the way of a fairer set of labor laws to recognize the value of these service-providers, except our politicians.  Progressive Republicans, who historically have been friendly to business and free-market principles, could take the initiative to create a visa category whereby employers could sponsor any worker of their choosing, following a process to test the labor market.

Such is the system for permanent residence, but it presupposes that the individual is known to the employer and hence already legally employed.  This creates a Catch-22 for the skilled worker, since there is no such visa appropriate to skilled (or for that matter, unskilled) workers.  That inconsistency is typical of the dangerously dysfunctional US immigration system we have today.