The immigration reform saga in Washington has garnered a load of attention lately and a couple of scholars have a suggestion in the most recent City Journal: Let states sponsor regional visas, and, consider requiring those with such visas to purchase a primary residence in cities with plenty of vacancies, like Detroit.
Detroit is expected to receive $100 million for blight removal and Emergency Financial Manager Kevyn Orr's restructuring plan unveiled to the city's creditors last Friday calls for investing $1.25 billion in public services, $500 million of which would be for blight removal.
The possibility of requiring regional visa applicants to have a permanent residence is an interesting idea to consider, especially here — Gov. Rick Snyder wants to attract immigrants and Orr is also toying with the possibility of lowering property and income taxes in the city.
The pair who float the idea, Brandon Fuller and Sean Rust, describe the process as such:
A regional visa with a home-purchase requirement would bear some resemblance to the EB-5 visa, which offers immediate residency and green cards to wealthy international businesspeople who invest at least $1 million in an American company (or at least $500,000 in certain distressed areas). Though the home-purchase condition would require a much smaller investment, regional visa holders would face a longer path to residency than EB-5 visa holders do.
There's enough riding on immigration reform — The Affordable Care Act could ruin it! It's necessary for Republicans to win White House! The vote of Houston-based nuns depends on it! — that it's still a possibility it can fail. There's plenty of variables that would play into and influence a regionalized immigration system, but it's another idea to throw into the suggestion box.
(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)