The SLIDE Act: State-Led Immigration Distribution and Expedition Act
Ross Hegtvedt, The Purple Aisle
Background: The immigration system in the United States has three huge weaknesses. 1) it does not cater to economic realities. 2) It is hard to change, both because Congress won’t give up its authority over immigration and immigration caps are always hotly contested. Which results in, 3) arbitrary and complicated processes and outcomes. This means our immigration system will fail to meet the changing needs of different communities, inevitably.
Solution: The SLIDE Act draws from Canada's Express Entry system to optimize the beneficial impact of immigration without requiring a complete overhaul of the existing immigration framework. Prospective immigrants fill out a capabilities assessment and get ranked depending on how their answers are weighed. State governments provide the criteria for weighing answers based on their economic priorities, ranging from low-skilled agriculture work to high-skilled tech sector work. States then submit lists of highly ranked candidates to USCIS to sponsor expedited processing, irrespective of which visa applicants are pursuing. Approved candidates must work in the sponsoring state for a period of time (ex. 1 year), to help states reap the benefits of sponsorship. This creates a database of skilled workers that employers can use to source talent with the confidence that highly ranked individuals will be able to start work sooner. Employer subscription fees will generate funds for native workforce development.
Advantages: Immigrants go where they're wanted. Immigration works to serve the different needs of different communities, even when they change over time. Congress relinquishes little power. Employers enjoy more predictability in hiring foreigners. The native workforce benefits from increased development funds. And that green card backlog starts to dissipate. Let's SLIDE into the future.