Immigration policy versus college admissions.


Illegal immigration seems to be “in the news” every day since Candidate Trump made the statement “I will build a wall and Mexico will pay for it.” But, more recently, legal immigration is in the spotlight after now President Trump endorsed a bill entitled the RAISE Act (Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment) that has been put forward by Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue.

The bill’s primary focus is on changing the makeup of the legal immigrant class. The legislation would develop a merit based system for legal immigration (footnote):

  • The bill eliminates the “Diversity Lottery,” which grants 50,000 green cards to immigrants from low-admission countries
  • It also establishes a 50,000 refugee cap, which would disallow a future president to set a higher number in response to some world event that might call for it.

The white House issued the following statement: “The system rewards education, English-language ability, high-paying job offers, past achievements, and entrepreneurial initiative.” (It employs the point system found in the footnote.) The left loves the Canadian health care system but apparently hasn’t noticed that Canada uses a skill-based point system in its immigration policy.

[Sources: Let’s treat college admissions like immigration, by Brian C. Joondeph; The RAISE Act: An Explainer, by Berny Belvedere]

Of course “The Left” has trotted out its favorite words: racist, xenophobic, “un-American.” They criticize the proposed bill and pontificate that it would upend the American principle embodied in the poem etched into the base of the Statue of Liberty, that “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” are welcome in our nation. Of course, “The Left” pundits usually are unaware that “The New Colossus,” the sonnet by Emma Lazarus, was added later and is not actually part of the original Statue of Liberty.

So what’s your point, Dr. Filly, ask you? My point is that the most vocal institutions of the left, the major universities, do not practice what they preach!

[From the Joondeph article] Suppose US colleges and universities instituted an admission plan like our current immigration policy. How might this work? Let’s take Harvard University as an example. Harvard College admits 2000 undergraduates each year… out of a pool of 40,000 applicants. Why don’t they accept everyone who wants to attend? Why select only 5 percent of those who want to attend Harvard? That’s not fair.

After all, Harvard has an endowment of over $37 billion. If Harvard were a country and its endowment were its GDP, it would rank 96th among all countries in the world, ahead of Paraguay, El Salvador, Estonia and Iceland. An endowment of that size could easily support additional housing and teachers so that all of the… “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” who want to attend Harvard could do so.

Same for all the Ivy League schools, with similarly large endowments. What about 800 or so US colleges and universities with a combined endowment of $515 billion, which as a single country would be ranked 23rd in the world in terms of GDP, ahead of Sweden, Poland, Belgium and Austria. Why can they afford to admit all students, just as America is supposed to do with all immigrants?

But no. Colleges have admissions requirements. In other words, their admission is skill-based with a point system reflecting grades, SAT scores, extracurricular activities, accomplishments, recommendations and a language proficiency test in the form of one or more essays. Suppose colleges waived all such requirements and opened their classrooms to any and all who wanted to attend?

The Cotton-Purdue proposal also curtails the family preference system which allows US immigrants to bring in their relatives. As Politico points out:

A newly arrived immigrant can eventually bring in his or her sibling. That sibling will then be able to bring in his or her spouse. But the sibling’s spouse will eventually be able to bring in the sibling’s spouse’s parents and siblings, and on and on.

Why not for Harvard too? Buffy is admitted to the incoming freshman class. She is a straight A student with exceptional board scores. She was captain of the lacrosse and softball teams. She started a small business while in high school, sold it to Google, used the proceeds to fund an AIDS treatment clinic in Africa, and in her spare time tutors the homeless. Her college essay was published in The Atlantic. On the point system, she was a slam dunk admission.

Her brother Biff, on the other hand, flunked 10th grade, never took the SATs, spent 6 months in jail for larceny, has a cocaine problem, and is Hepatitis C positive. Shouldn’t he automatically be admitted to Harvard by virtue of being Buffy’s brother? Suppose Biff is married to Candy, who he met in a Vegas strip club. Candy started working in the adult industry after 9th grade. She is quite accomplished and skillful, but not in the way Harvard admissions committees prefer. She would automatically be admitted along with Biff.

Typical of liberal/progressive/statists, they love to “virtue signal” as long as it does not affect their own life or families – or the credibility of the university they attended.

And thanks to PCoop for sending this to me.

Roy Filly

Footnote:

Age:

  • 17 and under = 0 points
  • 18–21 = 6 points
  • 22–25 = 8 points
  • 26–30 = 10 points
  • 31–35 = 8 points
  • 36–40 = 6 points
  • 41–45 = 4 points
  • 46–50 = 2 points
  • 51 and older = 0 points

Education:

  • U.S. or foreign high school degree = 1 point
  • Foreign bachelor’s degree = 5 points
  • U.S. bachelor’s degree = 6 points
  • Foreign STEM master’s degree = 7 points
  • U.S. STEM master’s degree = 8 points
  • Foreign STEM doctorate or professional degree = 10 points
  • U.S. STEM doctorate or professional degree = 13 points

English Language:

  • A test of English language proficiency will be administered. Possible outcomes are 0 points, 6 points, 10 points, 11 points, and 12 points.

Extraordinary Achievement:

  • Nobel Laureates (or scholars of comparable acclaim) = 25 points
  • Winners of Individual Medals in the Olympics (or athletes of comparable acclaim) = 15 points

Job Prospects:

  • If offered a salary that is 150 percent of the median household income = 5 points
  • If offered a salary that is 200 percent of the median household income = 8 points
  • If offered a salary that is 300 percent of the median household income = 13 points

Investment in, and Management of, New Commercial Initiative:

  • If applicant agrees to invest $1,350,000 in a new commercial initiative, and to remain an active part of running it for three years = 6 points
  • If applicant agrees to invest $1,800,000 in a new commercial initiative, and to remain an active part of running it for three years = 12 points

Total:

  • An applicant must reach the 30-point threshold in order to even qualify under the new points framework.
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About Roy Filly

Please read my first blog in which I describe myself and my goals.
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