An Intriguing (but Probably Flawed) Idea - the Sacrifice Bunt Visa

By David North on May 6, 2011

I am not at all sure it is a good idea, but it certainly is an intriguing one.

The reference is to the proposed "Sacrifice Bunt Visa." An illegal alien in the U.S. would agree to leave the nation, and in return, he or she would nominate one other illegal alien to be legalized. Thus at a single stroke, the total population of the country would shrink by one, and the population of the illegals in the country would drop by two.

Greg Siskind, an immigration lawyer who writes frequently for Immigration Daily, raised the idea in the May 3 issue and attributed the notion to his friend John Lamb. He described Lamb in this way: "[he] is an in-house corporate lawyer by day and an immigration reform activist in his spare time."

Let's open with some dreamy speculation: let's suppose heightened immigration enforcement had brought the arrival of illegal aliens down to a trickle, and let's further suppose (this is dreamy) that half the illegal alien population agreed to leave (and stay away), legalizing the other half of the illegal population. We would go from 11 million illegals to none, as there would be no illegal aliens left in the land – half would have voluntarily self-deported themselves, and the other half would have become legal aliens. We would also have 5.5 million fewer people in this over-populated country.

We might further suppose that, in this dream scenario, the weaker, the less successful part of the illegal alien population would have departed, leaving the stronger, more prosperous segment of the population in the U.S., and they, in turn, because they now had legal status, would prosper further. The decrease in the size of the work force, and the disappearance of the easy-to-exploit illegals would do wonders for the American residents at the bottom of the labor market.

The weaker of the illegals would leave because the stronger ones had either muscled them, or paid them, to do so.

The last three paragraphs are imagined by me, and should not be attributed to Messrs. Lamb and Siskind. I would want the exchange to be made only for the permanent departure of an illegal but they speak in terms of a departure for a "given length of time."

I have been working in the field of immigration policy for a long time, and have a sense of what many nations do, and what they have tried, but this sounds like a genuinely new idea to me, and I am grateful to the two lawyers for sharing their idea with the rest of us.

But is it a good idea? And if so, at what scale could it operate?

How many illegals that we would want to leave under these circumstances would do so? How many would just turn around and come back under a different name? How could that be prevented, or at least managed?

And would the departing illegals be able-bodied workers and/or women in their childbearing years, or would we just be losing some people who wanted to retire to their home villages, anyway, thus not doing much to reduce our burgeoning population, or our overcrowded labor market?

Wouldn't we want to make sure that we were not seeing the departure of cowed, conned illegals, and the retention of assertive (perhaps criminal) illegal aliens?

Maybe somebody can figure out how to run at least a small version of such a program that would be both useful to the country as a whole, and somehow attractive enough to some illegals to actually cause some departures. Certainly if money is to change hands, some of the funds could be siphoned off to fund a regulatory function.

I can't devise such a program in my head unless it involved the government heavily, but perhaps others will have the needed concepts.

Please send any ideas you have to me at [email protected].