Cato Institute's Alex Nowrasteh has proposed creating an additional visa category called the gold card that would give foreigners the option of working and living legally in the United States— but not citizenship—after paying a tariff. Congress could adjust tariff rates by age and education to guarantee that all immigrants make a net positive fiscal contribution. This would potentially cut back illegal flows and give the country much greater operational control over the border than physical barriers ever could. It would also generate additional funds to go after drug traffickers or criminals who pose a genuine security threat.Let me carry that a step further. How about a quasi-governmental outfit, along the organizational lines of the Fed, with a monopoly contract to mind the border. The Acme Border Company (ABC) is put in charge of the border with the charter that as it sells the Gold Cards, it keeps a percentage, minus a fixed fee for every fence jumper caught on this side of the line or Gold Card holder found guilty of a felony offense. ABC would also be responsible for upkeep of the border barrier which they have an incentive to do in the most cost efficient manner.
Thus ABC would want to install climb and tunnel resistant structures in urbanized areas, and a modest fence or vehicle barrier with cameras out in the hinterlands.
If the government paid ABC for each fence jumper they caught, ABC would have an incentive to leave a hole in their barrier and truck "fence jumpers" to the hole on the Mexican side, put them on company trucks on the US side, and run them back to the government game wardens for the bounty. Split the bounty with the jumpers, and voila! instant money. Let ICE catch the jumpers and the government dock ABC for each one caught and suddenly jumpers have a negative value giving ABC an incentive to beef up weak areas as they are found. If ABC spots some jumpers, they can notify ICE who can then come pick them up at no charge to ABC.
This organization could thus be self financing with Gold Card fees set by congress and adjusted annually. One presumes that the issuance of Gold Cards is the province of ICE and would include at least some sort of background check.