Public policy expert: US has become 'outlier' on immigration practices

The United States has become an “outlier” on immigration compared to the rest of the world, according to public policy expert Justin Gest.

Gest, who is an assistant professor of public policy at George Mason University, says even though the U.S. has historically been a leader in immigration, the government is now using an outdated model and way of thinking.

“We are really trailing behind in many ways,” Gest told Hill.TV during an interview on Tuesday. “We are the outlier in the world and not because we’re sort of innovating and doing new things but actually because our policy is stuck in this kind of formaldehyde.”

“We’re stuck in 1960 policies and we haven’t updated them to what the rest of the world is doing,” he added.

Gest is now calling for lawmakers to adopt what he calls the “moneyball fix” for immigration, which would vet prospective immigrants based on a broad range of qualifications such as educational credentials and employment potential among other factors. 

He argues that neither the nation’s current emphasis on family reunification or President TrumpDonald TrumpRobert Gates says 'extreme polarization' is the greatest threat to US democracy Cassidy says he won't vote for Trump if he runs in 2024 Schiff says holding Bannon in criminal contempt 'a way of getting people's attention' MORE’s proposed employment-based migration system are comprehensive enough to determine the success of prospective immigrants.

"You can still appreciate peoples’ family ties in a system that also considers educational credentials, likelihood of employment, previous visits to the country and the possibility that we may be rescuing people from disaster," he told Hill.TV. “We can bring these things together while still respecting the value of family.” 

Gest's comments come after Trump named former Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli (R) as acting head of Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Cuccinelli, who has been an outspoken advocate of Trump’s immigration policies, is now tasked with administrating the nation’s legal immigration system as the Trump administration looks to crack down on illegal immigration and restrict immigrants who use public benefits. 

But Senate Republicans have warned the White House that Cuccinelli will not be confirmed by the GOP-controlled Senate.

"I think … he would have had a hard time getting confirmed," Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGOP rallies around Manchin, Sinema McConnell gets GOP wake-up call Democrat on controversial Schumer speech: Timing 'may not have been the best' MORE (R-S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican told reporters on Monday.

—Tess Bonn