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

President Biden has spoken: The U.S. will not pay $450,000 to each of the family members who were separated at the border. Biden made the statement in an exchange with a reporter last Wednesday.

Biden’s dismissal leaves little room for doubt, “$450,000 per person? That’s not going to happen.” But it also doesn’t answer the more pressing question: What will the U.S. do instead?

Economists have long had an answer to this question: selling immigration slots. With the funds from the sale, Congress could pay all of the settlement costs without it costing taxpayers a dime and have money left to help those who lose from immigration and globalization. It’s a policy that every group should celebrate, immigrants and natives alike.

In 1992, Nobel laureate Gary Becker advocated opening the doors to immigrants on the condition that they could pay their own way. By auctioning immigration spots, the country would be able to select successful immigrants who would immediately contribute to the economic success of the country. Immigrants have already been paying smugglers and lawyers, why not let them pay the rest of us?

Read the full op-ed at The Hill

CGO scholars and fellows frequently comment on a variety of topics for the popular press. The views expressed therein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Center for Growth and Opportunity or the views of Utah State University.