What’s the price tag on American citizenship? How about $50,000?

Not a citizen of the United States? Want to be?
   For $50,000 you could buy American citizenship. That is, if a proposal by a prominent economist someday is adopted by lawmakers.
   Gary Becker, University Professor of Economics and of Sociology at the University of Chicago, proposes a novel solution to the problems of immigration: Sell U.S. citizenship for a hefty price. Becker, a Nobel laureate in economics, discussed his ideas in the Spring 2008 issue of Chicago GSB Magazine from the University of Chicago business school.
   Becker sees three advantages of his proposal. It would stem the tide of illegal immigration. It would attract highly skilled and educated immigrants (those who could afford the price tag). And, it would generate revenue for the nation.
   Setting the right price is key. Too low and it would draw too many unskilled workers. Too high and illegal immigrants won’t turn themselves in, because they couldn’t afford to pay the price. A loan program could help those who can’t afford the sticker price.
   Becker acknowledges that the idea of selling citizenship is “repugnant” to most people, but we’ll get used to it, he argues.
   So, what do you think? Is selling US citizenship a repugnant or refreshing idea?  Should American citizenship be up for sale?  Should citizenship be a commodity?  Is there something sacred about citizenship?
   And, if you like his idea, what should the price of citizenship be?

Care to read more?

   Here’s Dr. Becker’s autobiography at the Nobel Web site.
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