With almost ten million undocumented immigrants in the US, working without most legal rights and exploited by the day, even as hundreds of thousands more stream across our borders because of desperation back home, there is a human rights crisis serving food at your local restaurant, taking care of children on our playgrounds, and cleaning our offices. I am a radical on immigration and advocate open borders, but that's not going to happen any time soon. So the question is what reforms could potentially gain political support AND improve the lives of these immigrants.
The cost could financed through loans rather than being collected up-front.
Newman points out that in spite of the heafty price, many immigrants would be better off even financially after purchasing a green card. Undocumented immigrants are often forced to accept jobs at below the minimum wage because they are in no position to enforce their legal rights. The proposal has political appeal because it is immune from the (highly disputed) charge that immigrants consume more in public benefits than they pay in taxes. Newman concludes
I'm not necessarily happy with the solution of selling green cards, but it in many ways appeals as the least bad of any program likely to have a chance of enactment. There is something distasteful about auctioning off American citizenship, but there is something far more noxious about out half-ass de facto policy of instead auctioning off slots in our sweatshops to those who survive the brutal and sometimes deadly border crossings.