On October 30, 2007 I wrote a post (click here) suggesting a practical, common sense solution for the problem of illegal immigration. Essentially, I proposed a system whereby those who wished to work temporarily in the U.S. would purchase an insurance policy. This policy would have several purposes:
1) The policy would pay for any extraordinary public or private expenses that the worker might cause due to criminal activity, hospitalization, welfare costs, etc. Mexicans now pay “coyotes” (human smugglers) from $2,000 to $3,000 for transport across the border. This same sum would pay for quite a handsome insurance policy for a year’s work. A U.S. based employer might be willing to pay all or part of this policy premium.
2) The policy becomes a legal immigration document. No additional bureaucracy would be needed. It could all be done through private insurance transactions, leaving the worker free to enter the country and leave at the expiration of his work or the policy’s one year term.
3) There could be a rebate at the policy’s expiration if no claims were paid from the insurance. This would be an additional incentive for the worker to return home when the policy expires.
The original article, linked above, discusses the benefits of this approach from the viewpoint of those who oppose Mexican illegal immigrants on cultural or economic grounds, and by those, like vegetable growers, who want the benefits of Mexican labor.