A better plan than giving $ 450,000 to each separate immigrant

President BidenJoe Biden Idaho House of Representatives Passes Workers’ Compensation Bill Biden Submits 2016 Climate Treaty to Senate for Ratification Rubio Pledges to Delay Biden’s China and Spain Ambassador Candidates MORE has spoken: The United States will not pay $ 450,000 to each of the family members who were separated at the border. Biden made the statement in a exchange with a reporter last Wednesday.

From Biden dismissal leaves little room for doubt, “$ 450,000 per person? That’s not going to happen. “But it also doesn’t answer the most pressing question: What will the United States do in its place?

Economists have long had an answer to this question: sell immigration space. With the proceeds from the sale, Congress could pay all costs of the deal at no cost to taxpayers and have money to help those who lose from immigration and globalization. It is a policy that all groups should celebrate, immigrants and natives alike.

In 1992, the Nobel laureate Gary Becker defended opening the doors to immigrants on the condition that they could pay for their own travel. By auctioning immigration sites, the country could select successful immigrants who would immediately contribute to the economic success of the country. Immigrants have already been pay the smugglers and lawyers, why not let the rest of us get paid?

The sale of a visa could also generate a considerable sum. Our research at the Center for Growth and Opportunity shows that the United States. could charge $ 80,000 for each green card. In total, that’s $ 67 billion at current immigration levels. Paying a settlement to the 5,500 separated family members would cost less than $ 2.5 billion.

To be clear, by selling visas, the United States could not only settle any lawsuits brought by separated families, but also had $ 60 billion left over. Those billions could then go to struggling economic areas and fund retraining programs for those left behind by globalization. And it’s all funded by new contributors, not you and me.

The $ 80,000 price tag of the visa may justifiably surprise you. Paying it is much easier than it seems. On the one hand, poor immigrants from Central and South America already pay smugglers Thousands for the unsecured passage of successful entry and no legal status once they are here. A more expensive and secure option will be more valuable. Also, immigrants could pay it off with a loan, just like you pay for your house or car.

The real answer here is that a visa put option select more talented workers who can pay the cost. $ 80,000 is not a huge cost for someone who can earn six figures a year by coming to the country. Additionally, companies pay thousands of dollars in immigration-related application fees and for attorneys to process paperwork. Like covering moving expenses, companies could step in to pay for the visa or offset some of the costs.

Of course, open avenues for further migration by selling visas to the next Elon muskPlus it does not mean shutting down America’s refugee program. America should remain a brilliant city on a hill for those who yearn to breathe freely. Those sentiments still ring true to the American spirit. A robust refugee resettlement program honors our humanitarian obligations to today’s crowded masses.

Not only can we help those in need outside the country, we can also use the funds to help Americans. Recent research on the effects of globalization, generally called “the China shock”, shows that the government has not done enough to support the industrial communities that suffered from trade. In short, international trade has improved the situation for most of the country.

But many of the areas that suffered the brunt of the effects still need help to recover. Detroit is a prime example of a city lost in competition with China and the rest of the world. The billions of dollars raised from visa sales are a promising well for restoring Detroit and other communities that have suffered similar fates.

Almost 30 years since Becker’s proposal, now is the time to start a program to sell visas. The number of people queuing at the border and at the arrears in government agencies they are an indication of the value others place in coming to the United States. The funds it could raise are more than enough to bridge partisan divisions and offer a helping hand to Americans who have not shared the recent economic expansions.

Josh T. Smith is a research manager for the Utah State University Center for Growth and Opportunity.


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