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Essay on United States Immigration Policy

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The United States' immigration policy is the source of much controversy. This is a highly complex issue that is at the forefront of discussions about the American workforce. The following paper provided by Ultius' essay writing services focuses on the matter of immigration as it relates to student education for foreign nationals within the United States 

United States immigration policy 

One of the single greatest issues that is at the crux of the United States immigration policy is the legal status of skilled workers and their ability to obtain visas. The process is a complex and intricate one as a result of employer unwillingness coupled with an unfamiliarity with how workers can obtain this important document. In addition, each and every year, international students come to the U.S. in the hopes of gaining an education and, because of strict laws, they run into a myriad of problems. The United States may need to resolve challenges of immigration and improve its policies for international students in order to have a positive effect on its workforce.

When international students emerge from a world-class education (they have received in the US), the challenges associated with finding a job can be daunting to say the least. This is exacerbated by the difficulty that many non-US nationals face yearly. Many have argued that this daunting task poses a threat to the United States workforce as a whole. Thus, the reason why so many international students find difficulty in locating employment post-graduation is because of that premise.

Yet, opposition to such reasoning was presented in a NAFSA (National Association of Foreign Student Advisors) report stating that by preventing foreign nationals from working in the United States, the United States is not helped at all. In fact, the report stated that many US employers actually outsource their jobs overseas and capital is not pushed within the country.  Some interpret this information and hope the United States will reexamine their current immigration policy in the context of employers shipping jobs overseas rather than filling them in the country.

A college educated workforce

Currently, the U.S. immigration policy all but ignores the economic benefits of a college-educated workforce. One solution should be to integrate individuals of all backgrounds, domestic or international, in an effort to increase the power and earnings potential of the United States. However, the United States is currently losing out because of the policies currently in place. By allowing the immigration policy changes and thus shifting the dynamic of the current United States workforce, there are four main benefits that will result.

  1. Immigrants with higher degrees enhance employment for US natives with strong confirmation supported within the fields of engineering, mathematics, science and technology.
  2. Data regarding provisional foreign workers either skilled or nominally skilled has been shown to boost fiscal efforts. Temporary workers in the H-1B Visa program and the H-2B Visa programs had higher employment resulting in a significant increase in overall employment.
  3. Thorough examination suggests that employment of citizens is not damaged in any way as a result of hiring international workers into the mix. The current blueprint is not designed to capitalize on job creation, meaning there is no numerical data to back up the notion that international workers hurt the workforce of the United States.
  4. Highly educated immigrants pay more taxes than they receive back in benefits in being in the United States. As quiet as it's kept, non-citizen workers receive one-tenth the size of typical benefits that a U.S. citizen worker receives. While all of these benefits can indeed have an impact on the United States workforce, is it realistic to change the policy to fit the needs of non-US workers who work within the country? One possible argument here is that by relaxing the current policy, current United States graduates are able to benefit more if immigrants were not allowed to be in the workforce at all. Please see an additional blog that uncovers the complex relationship between education and economics in more depth. 

Top American schools exist, but for few foreign students

While America has some of the finest universities in the world, the enforcers of the immigration policies presently in place have made them less appealing to international students. Other countries are keen to capitalize on the workers that the US and Britain reject. Australia and Canada have taken essential steps by allowing postgraduate workers to stay and work in the countries (where they earned degrees) for a period of three years with no restriction whatsoever. However, the benefits of allowing non-US workers (post-graduate immigrants) work in the workforce outweigh the disadvantages. Yet, even President Obama's recent immigration reform initiatives did not target this international-student group.

Further information of the United States' immigration policy and the effects on economics shows:

  • If the United States does not seek to change its current way of operating with regard to international students, it is estimated that countries such as Australia and Canada could have a higher share of the global overseas-student market  
  • The costs associated with current universities are also drawing international students away from the United States education. It is notable that many universities outside the United States are offereing competitive programs to international students, and at reduced costs. This trend is likely to continue as long as the United States continues to abhor or relinquish the opportunities to allow international workers a chance to work here post-graduation. In spite of the remarkable education that the United States offers, many immigrants have not found it to be all it is noted to be. 
  • Opportunities to start a business or for a similar success were less than educated immigrants anticipated.
  • The strongest reason students cited as to why they opted to leave the United States after graduating was that they wanted to be in the home countries and the perception of US opportunities were not as they hoped and that their home country opportunities for work were better. 

Perhaps the United States can keep the international students from leaving once they graduated through updating policies.  A significant issue posing a threat to changing the immigration policy and in turn keeping international students in the country once it is changed is outsourcing.

One solution would be to allow foreign workers the chance to compete on the same levels as United States workers, rather than outsourcing and increasing competition from abroad. The United States loses out on much needed fiscal benefits as a result. International students who leave post-graduation and do not remain in the United States to work take their expertise elsewhere resulting in no movement along the economic scale. 

In fact, immigrants tend to pay more taxes to the government than they receive in federal benefits. This is simply due to the relationship of an immigrant's education, which significantly impacts his/her's chance of employment and its' higher earnings. Given the lethargic financial expansion that has persisted for years, policymakers can afford to fight more for immigrants to work in the United States. This strengthens the employment opportunities as a whole, not solely for domestic workers, but for international ones also and costs associated with outsourcing and other efforts are minimized. The argument is therefore strengthened for a change in the U.S. immigration policy as a result. 

Employment and immigration

U.S. policymakers can capitalize on strengthening opportunities for employment for domestic and international workers via the following ways.

  • Prioritize immigration by workers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields who have higher degrees from US institutions. The major effect on the costs and in turn economic efforts for the United States with regard to immigration is through STEM fields. Studies have shown and continue to show this to be the principal area of employment boost. 
  • Reallocate US immigration policy's focus to cost-effective intensification by increasing the number of green cards for those workers who are skilled with pivotal expertise.
  • Increase temporary worker programs for both skilled workers and those who are not as skilled. Foreign students who have become known from STEM programs  acquire privileged jobs and as a result pay more in taxes. The Brookings Institute published a study on the H1B visa procedure and it revealed that several employers want to have more work visas on hand, yet the process is vigorous and complicated.   

Another issue that discourages immigrants from seeking out work post-graduation is the green card process. The tedious process of securing a green card is caused by long wait-time. In addition, the annual quota of 140,000 (people) is too low for the number of skilled foreign nationals employers seek to sponsor for permanent residence. The 140,000 annual limit was set by Congress in 1990 and includes both the principal and dependent family members, with dependents typically using half or more of the slots.

While the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the United States has nearly tripled (in nominal dollars) since 1990, from $5.8 trillion to over $15 trillion in 2012, the employment-based immigrant visa category has remained at 140,000 visas annually. In addition, there is 'per country limit'. Under the per country limit,

"The total number of  immigrant visas made available to natives of any single foreign state . . . may not exceed 7 percent . . . of the total  number of such visas made available under such subsections in that fiscal year."  Immigration and Nationality Act, in Section 202(a)

Even with the green card process being such a challenge, there isn't a major push by Congress to change or even consider changing the current aspects of the immigration policy.

Crucial issues for US immigration policy

The static nature of the US immigration policies will continue to yield troubling results in spite of the many advantageous effects that non-US workers will provide to the workforce. Congress is not seeking to fight for immigration reform as a united front, given the green card issue and despite companies wanting more work visas permitted. Newly elected President Trump presented a number of immigration proposals,  during the election campaign in 2016. Some U.S. workers feel they are threatened by highly skilled and advanced degree non-US workers, yet several studies have depicted a different picture altogether. The onus then will be on those in favor of changes to the current situation within the United States to be more proactive in getting Congress to get moving within the milieu that currently stands. If the situation persists, other countries will receive many more non-US workers and the United States will suffer.

Interested in immigration policy? Check out this critical analysis on Documented, a documentary about undocumented immigrants. 


"Foreign students: Not welcome here." The Economist. http://www.economist.com/whichmba/foreign-students-not-welcome-here (accessed February 19, 2013).

Sarwar, Ruzan. "This Is What's Wrong With Our Immigration Policy." The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ruzan-sarwar/student-visas-immigration-reform_b_1775425.html (accessed February 19, 2013).

“Still Waiting: Green Card Problems Persist for High Skill Immigrants." National Foundation For American Policy. http://www.nfap.com/pdf/NFAPPolicyBrief.StillWaiting.June2012.pdf (accessed February 18, 2013).

Wadhwa, Vivek, Saxenian, AnnaLee, Freeman, Richard and Salkever, Alex. "Losing The World's Best and Brightest."Marion Kaufman Foundation 5 (2009). http://www.kauffman.org/uploadedFiles/ResearchAndPolicy/Losing_the_World's_Best_and_Brightest.pdf (accessed February 19, 2013).

Zavodny, Madeline. "Immigration and American Jobs." American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research & Partnership For A New American Economy. www.renewoureconomy.org/sites/all/themes/pnae/img/NAE_Im-AmerJobs.pdf (accessed February 19, 2013).



Ultius, Inc. "Essay on United States Immigration Policy." Ultius | Custom Writing and Editing Services. Ultius Blog, 12 Dec. 2013. https://www.ultius.com/ultius-blog/entry/essay-on-united-states-immigration-policy.html

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Ultius, Inc. (2013, December 12). Essay on United States Immigration Policy. Retrieved from Ultius | Custom Writing and Editing Services, https://www.ultius.com/ultius-blog/entry/essay-on-united-states-immigration-policy.html

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Ultius, Inc. "Essay on United States Immigration Policy." Ultius | Custom Writing and Editing Services. December 12, 2013 https://www.ultius.com/ultius-blog/entry/essay-on-united-states-immigration-policy.html.

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Ultius, Inc. "Essay on United States Immigration Policy." Ultius | Custom Writing and Editing Services. December 12, 2013 https://www.ultius.com/ultius-blog/entry/essay-on-united-states-immigration-policy.html.

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