Net Zero Migration Market
A modest proposal for truly comprehensive immigration reform
Instead of the byzantine web of open borders, immigration attorneys, visa lotteries, and states transporting busloads of random foreigners without identification back and forth in the middle of the night, a more orderly and equitable way for the federal government to reform immigration is by applying market principles to it.
Imagine a system that fixed the net migration level at zero. In theory, it could be pegged higher or lower, but we’re going to begin at zero and see how it goes. Every time somebody emigrates from America, there is an opening to immigrate which goes to the highest bidder, with a big part of the payout going to the person who emigrated.
This system would pay for itself, improve the quality and self-reliance of the immigrants we do receive, incentivize the departure of immigrants who aren’t thriving here, reduce the complexity of the system, and strongly incentivize the government’s enforcement of illegal immigration and visa fraud. It would make the whole thing fair, and give the American citizenry and their government a “master control knob” for determining exactly how many immigrants we receive.
Such a system would formalize the informal racket immigrant lobbies already have, requiring them to bid in an open market for more of their own instead of ply our politicians with graft and favors to get ahead in the game. If Ilhan Omar wants more Somalis here, she and her friends can outbid the other ethnic lobbies. If corporations need more coveted engineers with X skillset, they can purchase them on the market. If disgruntled migrant communities figure out that the American Dream is a big fat lie, then their flight back home is fully paid.
Paleocon and White Nationalist critics will correctly object to citizenship being “for sale,” appealing to things like heritage, identity, and relative assimilability. I agree with all of those complaints, but they’re obviated by demographic and political facts on the ground. We should have thought about that a few generations ago, and nothing short of a revolution can achieve the sort of rebalancing they demand.
American citizenship is for sale, and it has been for generations. The question is whether that market is transparent and working in the interests of the country or whether it continues to be a shadowy and corrupt racket infested with human traffickers, lawyers, and millions of people forced to pretend to be “refugees” with the aplomb of soccer players pretending to be injured.
As for the actual “refugees,” the federal government would have a strong fiscal incentive to treat refugees like actual refugees, carefully monitoring their activities and locations to ensure they’re not bringing any of their radicalism from the war-torn regions they’re confirmed to be from and ensuring that they’re returned to their homelands in an orderly manner when major hostilities have actually ceased.
The elegance of the Net Zero Migration Market is that if American priorities change in the future, it’s a simple matter of fine-tuning the market to demographically transform the immigration streams in the preferred manner. Especially as the rest of the world catches up in terms of industrialization and quality of life, many who’ve come here “for a better life” will do the math, take the cash, and return to their country of origin.
Unlike more hardline immigration reform proposals, this one serves key american nationalist interests while also having built-in support from a large subset of immigrant communities and corporations that are currently losers in the rigged game that favors Mexican laborers and organized immigrant community rackets embedded in the political system over every other constituency.