Last year, U.S. employers filed over 336,000 petitions for H1-B visas for highly skilled foreign workers, but only 197,129 were approved. Complicated visa rules — for tourists versus job-seekers, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workers versus agricultural laborers, and students versus non-students — would all vanish. This would save resources and give employers new access to talented human capital.
The time people waste re-entering the country will evaporate. How often do you face long delays when entering Oklahoma from Texas? Never. But how often do you experience delays when you leave other countries for the United States? Almost always. One study pegs the cost of wait times at the U.S.-Mexico border alone to be more than $12 billion a year.
Economic efficiency will increase both in the USA and in immigrant-sending countries, because different kinds of labor will be better matched around the world to their most productive activity. This benefits the immigrants who earn higher incomes, but also U.S. consumers who face lower prices for imported goods and services. One academic study predicts that if borders were open everywhere, world gross domestic product could be twice its current value.