Pointless: On the Failure to Adopt an Immigration Points System in the United States

Part of the Immigrants and Minorities, Politics and Policy book series (IMPP)


When bipartisan efforts to adopt comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) legislation collapsed in the U.S. Congress in June 2007, proposals for a merit-based “points system” to select prospective immigrants died with it. We explain why comprehensive reform did not pass and show that points system proposals did not enhance prospects for reform.


  1. Abramowitz M (2007) Immigration bill’s point system worries some groups. Washington Post, May 27. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/26/AR2007052601086.html. Accessed 13 June 2012
  2. American Civil Liberties Union (2005) ACLU memo to interested persons regarding concerns in H. R. 4437, the ‘Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005’. http://www.aclu.org/natsec/gen/22371leg20051207.html. Accessed 23 May 2008
  3. Andreas P (2000) Border games: policing the U.S.-Mexico divide. Cornell University Press, IthacaGoogle Scholar
  4. Associated Press (2007) McCain adjusts immigration stance. November 3. MSNBC.com. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21614851/. Accessed 1 June 2012
  5. Broad W (2004) National Science panel warns of far too few new scientists. New York Times. May 5. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/05/science/05RESE.html. Accessed 13 Jan 2011
  6. CBSNews.com (2012) Bush makes concession on immigration bill. February 11. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/06/14/politics/main2928644.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody. Accessed 1 June 2012
  7. Citrin J, Lerman A, Murakami M, Pearson K (2007) Testing Huntington: is Hispanic immigration a threat to American identity? Perspect Politics 5:31–48Google Scholar
  8. CNN (2006) Hispanics March in Milwaukee against immigration bills. March 23. http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/03/23/latino.March/index.html?iref=newssearch. Accessed 23 July 2008
  9. Davis JH (2007) Rare tactic may allow immigration votes. Washington Post. June 18. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/18/AR2007061801138.html. Accessed 1 June 2012
  10. Democratic Policy Committee (2007) S.A. 1150, the secure borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007, to S. 1348, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007. June 6. http://www.dpc.senate.gov/dpcdoc.cfm?doc_name=lb-110-1-90. Accessed 1 June 2012
  11. Fraga R, Segura G (2006) Culture clash? Contesting notions of American identity and the effects of Latin American immigration. Perspect Politics 4:279–287CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Freeman G (2001) Client politics or populism? Immigration reform in the United States. In: Guiraudon Virginie, Joppke Christian (eds) Controlling a new migration world. Routledge, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  13. Freeman G (2009) From disordered expansion to disordered stalemate: immigration politics in the United States. In: Higley John, Nieuwenhuysen John (eds) Nations of immigrants: Australia and the USA. Edward Elgar, CheltenhamGoogle Scholar
  14. Freeman G, Hill D (2007) Disaggregating immigration policy: The politics of skilled labor recruitment in the U.S.” In: Smith MP, Favell A (eds) The human face of global mobility: international highly skilled migration in Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific, Transaction Press, New Brunswick, NJGoogle Scholar
  15. Gaouette N (2007a) Senate nearing immigration bill. Immigrants and Politics Blog. May 16. http://immigrantpolitics.org/2007/05/16/the-z-visa-and-a-point-system/. Accessed 13 Jan 2011
  16. Gaouette N (2007b) Illegal immigrants would comply with bill, Poll Says. Los Angeles Times. June 21. http://articles.latimes.com/2007/jun/21/nation/na-immigpoll21. Accessed 1 June 2012
  17. Gimpel J, Edwards J (1999) The congressional politics of immigration reform. Allyn and Bacon, BostonGoogle Scholar
  18. Gross G (2007) Tech groups urge return of immigration reform bill. ABC news. http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/PCWorld/story?id=3261378. Accessed 8 Mar 2011
  19. Huntington S (2004) The hispanic challenge. Foreign policy, Mar/Apr: 30–45Google Scholar
  20. Kaplan L (2007) Use of point systems for selecting immigrants. Testimony before the United States House of representatives committee on the judiciary, subcommittee on immigration, citizenship, refugees, border security and international law. May 1. http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/May2007/Kaplan070501.pdf. Accessed 1 June 2012
  21. Kapur D, McHale J (2005) Give us your best and brightest: the global hunt for talent and its impact on the developing world. The Center for Global Development, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  22. Kirkegaard F (2008) The accelerating decline in America’s high-skilled workforce: implications for immigration policy. Peterson Institute for International Economics, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  23. Konet D, Gelatt J (2007a) Congress and white house release competing proposals for immigration reform. Migration information source. April 16. http://www.migrationinformation.org/USfocus/display.cfm?id=595. Accessed 13 Jan 2011
  24. Konet D, Gelatt J (2007b) After long negotiations, senate takes up immigration reform again. Migration information source. May 15. http://www.migrationinformation.org/USFocus/display.cfm?ID=601. Accessed 13 Jan 2011
  25. Krikorian M (2004) Strange bedfellows: left and right on immigration reform. Center for Immigration Studies, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  26. Leal DL (2009) Stalemate: U.S. immigration reform efforts, 2005–2007. People and Place 17:1–17Google Scholar
  27. Leopold G (2006) High-tech groups laud senate immigration bill. CRN. May 26. http://www.crn.com/news/channel-programs/188500681/high-tech-groups-laud-senate-immigration-bill.htm. Accessed 13 Jan 2011
  28. Lowenstein R 9 July (2006) The immigration equation. The New York Times Magazine. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/09/magazine/09IMM.html. Accessed 13 Jan 2011
  29. Massey D (2006) Education, skills, and U.S. immigration policy testimony before the U.S. senate committee on health, education, labor, and pensions. September 14. http://www.help.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Massey.pdf. Accessed 1 June 2012
  30. Migration Policy Institute (2007a) Proposed points systems and its likely impact on prospective immigrants. Migration policy institute, May, No. 4. http://www.migrationpolicy.org/pubs/PointsSystem_051807.pdf. Accessed 13 Jan 2011
  31. Migration Policy Institute (2007b) Top 10 migration issues of 2007. Migration Policy Institute. December.http://www.migrationinformation.org/Feature/display.cfm?id=65. Accessed 13 Jan 2011
  32. Morgan Lewis Resources (2007) Senate introduces high-tech worker relief Act of 2007. Morgan lewis resources immigration alert. April 17.http://www.morganlewis.com/pubs/MLR_ImmigrationAlert_HighTechWorker_17apr072.pdf. Accessed 13 Jan 2011)
  33. Papademetriou D (2007a) Selecting economic stream immigrants through points systems. Migrating information source. May. http://www.migrationinformation.org/Feature/display.cfm?id=602. Accessed 13 Jan 2011
  34. Papademetriou D (2007b) Examining point systems as a method for selecting immigrants: testimony of MPI President Demetrios G. Papademetriou before the House Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law.” May 1. http://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/testimony.php. Accessed 1 June 2012
  35. Pear R (2007a) High-tech titans strike out on immigration bill. The New York Times. June 24. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/25/technology/25tech.html?_r=2&pagewanted=print. Accessed 13 Jan 2011
  36. Pear R (2007b) A point system for immigrants incites passions. New York Times, June 5. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/05/washington/05immig.html?pagewanted=all. Accessed Nov 2011
  37. Perelman D (2007) The Cantwell-Cornyn answer to tech employers prayers. eWeek. http://www.eweek.com/c/a/IT-Management/The-CantwellCornyn-Answer-to-Tech-Employers-Prayers/. Accessed 1 June 2012
  38. Rosenblum I (2007) Issues and influentials in the immigration reform debate. The Washington Post. May 28 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpsrv/nation/documents/immigration_primer_060807.html. Accessed 13 Jan 2011
  39. Rutenberg J (2007) As senate deal sinks, so does bush’s power. The New York Times. June 9. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/09/washington/09bush.html?_r=3&hp&oref=slogin&oref=slogin. Accessed 13 Jan 2011
  40. Sandler M (2007a) Immigration bill faces renewal amendment assault. CQ Today. June 4. http://www.usairish.org/pdfs/Immig%20Bill%20Faces%20Renewed%20Amend%20Assault.pdf. Accessed 13 Jan 2011
  41. Sandler M 6 June (2007b). Senate rejects efforts to bar legalization of many immigrants. CQ Today. June 6.http://www.usairish.org/pdfs/Senate%20Rejects%20Effort%20to%20Bar%20Legalization.pdf. Accessed 13 Jan 2011
  42. Sandler M (2007c) Critics take aim at heart of immigration bill. The New York Times.June 19. http://www.nytimes.com/cq/2007/06/19/cq_2911.html. Accessed 13 Jan 2011
  43. Sandler M (2007d) Fall agenda: immigration overhaul. CQ Weekly (September 3). http://library.cqpress.com.ezproxy.lib.utexas.edu/cqweekly/weeklyreport110-000002576958. Accessed Nov 2011
  44. Schwartz E (2007) Immigration reform’s high-tech impact. Merit-based immigration, alterations to H-1B Provisions, and caps head the hot-button issues as senate bill 1348 takes shape. InfoWord. June 5. http://www.infoworld.com/d/adventures-in-it/immigration-reforms-high-tech-impact-513. Accessed 13 Jan 2011
  45. Snyder J (2007a) Businesses’ push for guest worker plan faces resistance. The Hill. May 12. http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/3392-businesses-push-for-guest-worker-plan-faces-resistance. Accessed 13 Jan 2011
  46. Snyder J (2007b). Immigration interests look to new ways to satisfy concerns. The Hill. July 7. http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/3187-immigration-interests-look-to-new-ways-to-satisfy-concerns. Accessed 13 Jan 2011
  47. Terrazas A (2007) Comprehensive immigration reform eludes senate again. Migration policy institute. June 16. http://www.migrationinformation.org/USfocus/display.cfm?id=611. Accessed 13 Jan 2011
  48. Terrazas A, Konet D, Gelaat J (2007) Senate immigration bill, attached from all sides, gains second chance. Migration information source. June 15. http://www.migrationinformation.org/USfocus/display.cfm?id=607. Accessed 13 Jan 2011
  49. Tichenor D (2002) Dividing lines: the politics of immigration control in America. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  50. Tichenor DJ (2008) Strange bedfellows: the politics and pathologies of immigration reform. Labor Stud Working-Class Hist Am 5:39–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. UK Border Agency Home Office (2010) Points based system tier 1, general migrant. UK Border Agency. December 23. http://www.ukvisas.gov.uk/en/howtoapply/infs/inf21pbsgeneralmigrant. Accessed 13 Jan 2011
  52. Wasem R (2006) CRS report for congress: U.S. immigration policy on permanent admissions.” Washington: ongressional research service. May 12. http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/66512.pdf. Accessed 22 July 2008
  53. Wasem R (2007) Immigration reform: brief synthesis of issue. CRS report for congress, RS22574. May 10. http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/91856.pdf. Accessed 13 Jan 2011
  54. Wasem RE, Haddal CC (2007) CRS report for congress: point systems for immigrant selection: options and issues. June 5. http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/crs/rl34030.pdf. Accessed 1 June 2012
  55. Weiner E (2007) Immigration proposal draws mixed reaction. NPR. May 21. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10293272. Accessed 13 Jan 2011
  56. Weisman J (2007) Deal on immigration reached. The Washington Post. May 18. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2007/05/17/AR2007051700253.html. Accessed 13 Jan 2011
  57. White House (2007) Fact sheet: immigration fact check: responding to key myths. May 22. http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2007/05/20070522.html. Accessed 1 June 2012

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TexasAustinUS

Personalised recommendations