The Christian Science Monitor

In immigration debate, what constitutes 'merit'?

When President Trump talks about immigration in his first State of The Union speech tonight, people are likely to hear him use one phrase in particular: “merit-based immigration.”

As part of his offer to put 1.8 million young, unauthorized immigrant “Dreamers” on a path to citizenship, Mr. Trump also wants to shift legal immigration away from prioritizing family reunification to a system based on individual qualifications. It would be a significant change – if lawmakers could agree on what constitutes “merit.”

The president and his supporters in Congress appear to be defining merit as highly skilled, well-educated immigrants who speak English and can support themselves. But what about strawberry pickers or hotel workers? Those jobs are commonly performed by low-skilled immigrants. And then there’s the brother or sister of a legal resident who comes to America and starts a

'Green cards just for computer engineers'Getting in the harvest

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