The most compelling alternative to ethnic nationalism is what we might call “meritocrat” or “individualist” nationalism. This is a system in which people are allowed to migrate to a country on a meritocratic basis. In other words, whether a person is allowed to come into a country is solely determined by whether they are, in some respect, good enough. In the real world, these meritocratic criteria usually have to do with occupational status, health, and income. In theoretical discussions, the idea of only letting immigrants in who have a certain IQ score is also often brought up.
This proposal has many attractive qualities. The most often cited problems with immigration, welfare abuse, crime, political ideology, etc., could seemingly be avoided by only allowing certain kinds of immigrants in. Why, then, should we care about what ethnic or racial group an immigrant belongs to?