There is nothing inherently wrong with an immigration "point system". As others have pointed out, certain other developed countries, are using such a system and claiming to be doing so successfully. Canada, in particular, has been using a point system as a means of achieving a high level of diversity, non-discrimination and fairness in its ethnic mix. Therefore the issue is not whether a particular country, such as the US, should adopt a "point system" per se, but rather what kind of point system it proposes to adopt and what the purpose of adopting the point system would be.

After the Trump administration took office in 2017, it proposed establishing a so-called "Merit-Based" point system that was marketed as a way to favor skilled immigration over family and diversity based immigration. Trump attacked those latter two immigration vehicles as absolute evils.

Trump, in particular, blasted legal family immigration (which he called by the pejorative term "chain migration"( favored by white supremacists and other anti-immigrant extremists) as "horrible" in a December 29, 2017 tweet. See Washington Post, January 2, 2018:

Family ties drive U.S. immigration Why Trump wants to break the 'chains'

Trump, also as usual without the slightest evidence, attacked legal family-based immigration as a source of crime, just has he had previously attacked unauthorized immigrants as "criminals","traffickers" and "drug dealers". (This was despite independent studies showing that all immigrants, including unauthorized ones, have lower crime rates than native-born Americans.)

While Trump was arguing for his version of a "Merit-Based" system, two of his allies, Senators Cotton (R-Ark) and Purdue (R-Ga,) introduced the RAISE Act in Congress, This failed proposal was based on a point system that was very obviously skewed toward immigrants from white, European countries, because it favored applicants with high levels of skill, education and English proficiency.

Family and diversity immigration, on the other hand, even though both were originally instituted expressly as a way of preserving white dominance in America's legal immigration mix, have come to be associated with legal immigration from Asia, Africa and Latin America far more than from Europe.

Family immigration was included in the 1965 immigration reform act in the express belief that it would promote immigration from Europe and help keep America white. Two decades later, in 1987, the original AA-1 version of the green card lottery was introduced to favor immigrants from countries that were allegedly "Adversely Affected" (hence: "AA") by the 1965 act, which had opened up our immigration system to Asian, African and Middle Eastern immigrants for the first time since 1924.

The countries on the AA-1 green card lottery list were mainly (though not entirely) limited to white countries of Europe. At the time that family immigration was instituted in 1965 and AA-1 was instituted later on, there was no opposition to these programs from immigration nativists or white supremacists.

It was only after after both family and diversity immigration became identified with immigration from other parts of the world besides Europe that we started to hear arguments to the effect that these programs should be cut back or eliminated in favor of "Merit-Based' immigration. And how sincere is the Trump administration in supporting "Merit -Based " immigration anyway?

If Donald Trump and Stephen Miller really support having the "best and brightest" immigrants in America, why is their administration so savagely attacking H-1B and other skilled worker visas?

See my December 13, 2019 comment:

New report confirms major increase in H-1B RFE's and denials under Trump-Miller administration. "Specialty occupation" is prime target.

The attack on "specialty-occupation" n H-1B adjudications is not accidental. The Trump-Miller administration has recently announced that it will be issuing new rules redefining the term "specialty occupation". We can be sure that this will not be in the direction of making it easier to prove this essential requirement of all H-1B petitions.

In an upcoming comment, I will go into more detail about the strategies that the Trump administration is using to argue that few, if any H-1B positions qualify as H-1B specialty occupations.

As is the case with so many other of Trump's blatant immigration abuses of power, (for which the House Democrats have unconscionably and inexplicably given him a total pass pass on impeachment), these anti-H-1B strategies did not start with Donald Trump. They go back as far as the Clinton administration. But trump and Miller are now putting these strategies on steroids.

They include such hings as wild distortions of specialty occupation.descriptions in a widely used US Department of Labor Handbook (OOH) and an almost total rejection of expert opinion about which positions qualify as specialty occupations. This new, vastly stepped up attack on the concept of what is si specialty occupation, appears to be aimed at nothing less than eliminating the H-1B visa entirely.

Of course, as is well known, a large percentage of H-1B workers are from India, not from Trump's preferred "Countries like Norway". Similar restrictions are being imposed - also without any input from Congress in the case of other visas for highly skilled workers, such as L-1 and even EB-5, among others.

This underscores the hypocrisy of the Trump administration's claim that the only reason it wants to reduce or eliminate family and diversity visas is to encourage "Merit-Based" immigration. For Trump and Miller, "Merit -Based" immigration depends on ethnicity and nationality, not education or skill, just as was the case for the 40 years beginning in 1924.

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law

Roger Algase is New York based lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. His practice has been concentrated in skilled and professional immigration for more than 30 years.