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Let Immigrant Families Pay Us–Cartels–to Come

May 1, 2019 in Economics

By David Bier

David Bier

Last November, Cintia paid $8,000 for herself and her daughter to
travel from Honduras to the border seeking asylum. A few months
before, Christopher from El Salvador paid $12,500. They aren’t alone. Nearly
all—between 80 and 95 percent—of illegal crossers
are paying to come, with smuggling fees
reportedly as high as $9,200 a person. A report released last week
by the Rand Corporation quantifies the total amount given to smugglers as $2.3
billion in 2017 and since then illegal immigration has doubled.

Who gets all this money? Human traffickers. Criminal cartels.
Corrupt officials.

This system enriches criminals, hurts immigrants, and undermines
U.S. security. There’s a better way: the U.S. government should
charge a fee for a work permit. Peaceful immigrants who pass a
background check could skip the extortion racket and fly legally to
U.S. airports, passing through security screening like everyone

Not only would this system effectively eliminate the border
chaos, it would provide billions of dollars in revenue to the U.S.
government to further upgrade border security if Congress still
felt that was necessary. President Trump has demanded money for a
border wall from Congress, but immigrants themselves could easily
give him far more than Congress ever will.

Customs and Border Protection is on pace to arrest 1 million immigrants this
year—nearly all of whom, the agency reports, aren’t criminals. Suppose
Congress sets the visa fee at $10,000 for a five-year renewable
visa. That’s $10 billion in the first year alone. If almost
everyone renews after five years with another payment, that’s
$150 billion over a decade.

That’s more than three times what the Border Patrol spent
in the last decade. With that money, Congress could pay for a
border wall and have billions left over for workforce
training, college scholarships, or vocational education for U.S.
workers. Or it could fund local police to help them catch rapists
and murderers. Or it could pay for infrastructure improvements. Or
anything else it wanted.

The opportunity to spend lots of money is a powerful inducement
to bipartisanship—especially if the spending spree
doesn’t require a tax increase.

Consider our current system. Immigrants pay thousands of dollars to smugglers to get
here. Then, most wait in lines at the fence to turn themselves
in to Border Patrol agents and request asylum. They get background
checks and are generally released into the country, pending an
asylum hearing. After 180 days, they can apply for a work permit, and when most are
denied asylum, they still stay illegally.

Now consider a work-visa fee system: The immigrants would still
pay, …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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