A Modest Proposal For Immigration: The $100,000 Green Card
Editor?s note: Guest contributor Scott Banister is an American serial entrepreneur and investor. He most recently co-founded Zivity with his wife, Cyan Banister, who is also a TechCrunch columnist.
Permanent residence in the USA is a valuable asset that is enjoyed by most of you reading this article. Many potential immigrants from around the world want to acquire that asset and become valuable members of American society alongside us.
Why don?t we let more of them join us? There are two common objections: they will drive down wages, or they will be a drain on tax-funded programs. Some existing immigration paths, like the H1B visa-to-green card route, are based on the idea that for some immigrants, the benefits will outweigh these potential costs.
But the H1B path is a bureaucratic nightmare. Small startups don?t even bother with it. And for the immigrant, the H1B path puts them in the awkward position of having their visa status tied to their job until their green card is approved. You think having to leave your health insurance plan when you lose your job is bad? Try having to leave the country.
If being defined as ?highly-skilled? outweighs the potential costs of immigration, wouldn?t the payment of an entrance tax deliver the same margin of safety? Let anyone under age 50 pay a $100,000 fee toward the retirement of the US public debt, satisfy the usual anti-criminal criteria, and get their green card. No quotas and no requirements to prove that their skills are ?special? and ?needed?.
Think the existing immigration paths are already providing enough green cards? The queue for Filipino siblings of US Citizens to get green cards stretches back to requests from 1988. The queue for H1B workers from India to get green cards stretches back to 2002. An Indian H1B visa holder who has been working in the US since before the Google IPO likely still doesn?t have their green card. Why not give them the option to pay this tax and end the wait?
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