Two of the U.S.’s closest allies provide a possible blueprint for returning some immigration authority to states to help the U.S. capitalize on immigrants’ immense potential.

Key points:

  • The Australian and Canadian immigration systems are highly reliant on a skilled-based immigration system. As such, the countries are able to define and reach national economic goals for foreign labor.
  • The Australian and Canadian systems have active state, territory, or provincial programs that take advantage of local labor knowledge to employ immigrant labor more efficiently.
  • American immigration was not always exclusively handled by the federal government. The pre-Reconstruction era saw states wielding influence in attracting and admitting immigrants.
  • By applying state-based approaches, similar to the ones used by Canada and Australia, the United States can take advantage of economic benefits and re-enshrine the principles of federalism.