Immigration shouldn’t be based on job skills

During a recent interview with a reporter from The Herald Bulletin, U.S. Sen. Todd Young proposed the opening of “virtual Ellis Island centers” around the world to match immigrants for legal entry into the United States “based on their job skills.”

“We should base immigration on workforce needs,” the Republican from Indiana said. “Match up people to the skills needed for jobs in this country.”

Young’s proposal is simply un-American.

If immigrants arrive in the United States with the proper documentation, that should be enough. If we turned some away based on their skills (or lack thereof), it would contradict the very spirit of the United States.

Setting aside the Machiavellian nature of Young’s concept, the logistics of such a system would be staggering and constantly changing based on the economy, job market and other exceedingly complex factors.

Young is right about one thing — the United States needs immigrants to join the workforce. With unemployment at 3.9 percent in the United States (a 17-year low), immigrant workers are needed more than ever to fill many types of jobs, from agriculture to service industry positions to health care workers to teachers.

“We’re facing a labor crisis,” said Jacob Monty, an immigration attorney. “There aren’t enough U.S. workers to do a whole host of jobs. It affects every industry from construction to agriculture to the service industry and manufacturing.”

The problem with Young’s idea is that it would turn away some simply because they don’t have the in-demand job skills. Basically, the United States would be running a system of selective immigration, calling to mind President Donald Trump’s ignorant comments back in June.

The president asked why the United States would admit “all these people from shithole countries,” adding that the nation should accept more immigrants from places like Norway.

Sen. Young’s wrongheaded strategy for culling immigrants isn’t racist, but it would mark a major departure from the concept of America as a destination for people from across the globe who love liberty and want freedom.

Young’s program would push us toward a dark era of selectivism.