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Pay to Stay: Selling the Right to Live in the United States

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Publication Date: January 2008

Publisher(s): Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace

Author(s): Gary S. Becker

Series: Hoover Digest

Topic: Population and demographics (Immigration and immigration policy)

Keywords: Immigration

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


Selling the right to live in the United States would benefit legal and illegal immigrants alike. It would be the most effective approach to illegal immigration, could reduce taxes and negate the argument that immigrants get a free ride when they gain health care and other benefits.[BREAK] Instead of offering free amnesty to illegal residents, this approach would give them an opportunity to legalize their status without giving them advantages over those who wait to come legally. Moreover, making immigrants pay for residency would attract the kind who came much earlier in American history: younger men and women who are reasonably skilled and want to make a long-term commitment.