Bloomberg View, majority owned by Michael Bloomberg, has an editorial that essentially takes Jeb Bush's position on changing immigration law to de-emphasize family reunification and instead prioritize skills:
U.S. immigration law puts family reunification ahead of attracting workers with skills in short supply. This no longer makes sense. More than half of the immigrant visa backlog is for siblings of U.S. citizens. The case for granting residency or citizenship to them, or to the adult offspring of newly minted U.S. citizens, was more compelling before cheap, speedy air travel, not to mention the Internet and Skype, made staying in touch easier.
Meanwhile, restrictions on skills-based immigration increasingly put the U.S. at a disadvantage in today's competition for global talent. In 2012, skilled immigrants accounted for only 6 percent of all new U.S. immigrant visas. Compare that with 26 percent in Canada and 33 percent in Australia.
More than two years ago, the Senate passed a comprehensive bill that seeks to fix such problems. It would shut down the sibling visa category, among others, and greatly expand the number of skilled or merit-based admissions.
What the Bloomberg editorial doesn't say is why the skilled or "merit-based" immigration needs to come at the expense of family reunification. It's a false dichotomy. Why not allow the family reunification and more skilled-based immigration? The more the merrier. Who is to say that some of the family members of those who are already here don't have useful skills, or wouldn't be able to acquire them once they are here in America? If such an approach involves lifting the overall number of immigrants allowed into America each year, so what? There's plenty of room here, and we still have far fewer people than geopolitical and economic competitors such as China. Some of the most famous and successful immigrants to America had talents and skills that only became apparent once they got here and were able to flourish in a place with freedom, high quality education, and the rule of law. A merit-based or skills-based immigration system might have kept those immigrants, and their children and grandchildren, out.