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What does the “merit” in merit-based immigration mean? Depends on whom you ask.

Apr 17, 2018

Immigrants arrive at Ellis Island in 1915.
Credit Library of Congress

One of the cornerstones of President Trump's vision for America is reducing the flow of immigrants into the country. He wants to cut legal immigration by about 500,000 people a year over the next five decades – a 44% reduction. He also touts an immigration system based on merit, but just what does merit mean?

John Carson, an associate professor of history at the University of Michigan, explores this question in his book, The Measure of Merit, along with a recent piece he wrote for The Conversation.

Carson joined Stateside to discuss the history of merit-based immigration; the Canadian system of immigration, which President Trump often points to as an example the U.S. should follow; the role of chain migration in U.S. immigration policy and Trump’s threats to it; and the importance of having a conversation on how to define "merit."

Listen above.

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