Doug Bandow has a great article at The American Spectator on the benefits legal immigrants bring to our shores, as opposed to the costs imposed to our society by the illegal crowd, and the issues this raises regarding our offical immigration policy. First the benefits:
"Researchers at Duke, Harvard, and New York University have been studying the impact of immigration on economic competitiveness. They discovered that between 1995 and 2005 immigrants founded one in four engineering and technology firms, which in 2006 generated $52 billion in revenues and employed 450,000 people. The largest number of entrepreneurial immigrants came from India; United Kingdom, China, Taiwan, and Japan followed as sources of productive immigrants.
The latest study by the same researchers found that immigrants "were named as inventors or co-inventors in 25.6 percent of international patent applications filed from the United States in 2006. This represents an increase from 7.6 percent in 1998." The rate of increase has been rising, growing fastest since 2004."
Next, the issue with the official policy's limitations.
"Yet for all of these benefits, the U.S., a nation of more than 300 million people, awards only 120,000 employment-based visas for permanent residence every year. Moreover, fewer than 10,000 are available for any one country, even those, such as India and the United Kingdom, which provide so many talented entrepreneurs. Yet there are about 560,000 principals and 620,000 family members, for almost 1.2 million overall, in employment-based categories awaiting visas."
Overall, the wait time to get a visa application approved is approximately 4 1/2 years. The primary issue is the low number of visas, which needs to be increased (how much is certainly debatable). The second is the horrible wait times in processing the applications, and the solution might be to turn it over to a private firm (IMO). Certainly something has to be doen when up to 1/3 of those waiting are considering dropping out of the process entirely and returning home.
Long story short, we have to make distinctions on who is allowed to both enter the country and who is to remain, and the better we can control this entire process, the btter off we will be.