The US system for work visas hasn't changed much since 1965, despite fluctuations in the economy and in demand for foreign workers. Immigration reform must include more flexibility. One way is to create an independent body that regularly advises Congress on visa limits.
Congress is considering comprehensive immigration reform, including amnesty, work visas, and guest worker programs. What this path to citizenship could mean for 11 million illegal immigrants can be seen in the 1986 amnesty of 3 million legalized in the last major immigration overhaul.
The tide of brain drain – from developing countries to industrialized nations – has turned. Human capital is returning home to Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Africa, while some European professionals squeezed by the recession, turn toward developing countries for advancement.
More than 82,000 young illegal immigrants have applied for a work permit under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). But the November elections could be key to what happens next.