Circles of Trust: A Proposal for Better Migrant Screening
26 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2017 Last revised: 6 Sep 2017
Date Written: February 9, 2017
Screening potential entrants is a major challenge to any system of immigration, and has become particularly salient in the Trump era. At bottom, the problem is one of information asymmetry, in which migrants hold private information as to their abilities and intentions. We propose a new approach that leverages information that refugees, migrants and guest workers have about each other. Potential applicants to enter the US from disfavored classes would have to apply as a small group, called a trust circle. Once inside the country, all members would be subject to periodic, onerous bureaucratic requirements, but these would be waived over time for trust circles that remain in good standing. However, if anyone within a trust circle became involved in hostile or criminal activities, every member of the trust group would summarily lose their privileges. Knowing this, potential migrants will only associate with others they know to be trustworthy, and would have incentives to expose others in the group who adopt bad behaviors post-entry.
Keywords: immigration, refugees, guest workers
JEL Classification: K1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation