That I came up with the Buy A House, Get A Visa idea before Thomas Friedman or Alex Tabarrok...I think. My exact idea was buy outright a house that had been foreclosed and get full citizenship. I posted this on on Oct. 3, 2008.
I'm not accusing anyone of anything. Sometimes folks get to the same point coincidentally. Though I am interested if someone thought of the idea before I did. I did notice an immigration group propose something similar on Sept. 23, 2008:
This proposal alleviates the current US economic crisis, by motivating the US high skilled, legal immigrant workers to purchase homes. The size of this immigrant population is approximately 800,000 individuals. This effort if successful would inject up to US$ 20Billion approximately into the economy (approximately US$ 100 Billion in houses sold across the country) , while at the same time directing this money into the root cause of the economic crisis – the illiquidity of the national housing market. The above calculation is done
assuming a median US home price of $212,400 and buyers making a down-payment of 20% of the cost of the home. Roughly estimating 400,000 buyers.
Undoubtedly, we are all devastated by the shake up on Wall Street in the past 15 days. Experts agree that the underpinning problem is the housing crisis caused by sub-prime mortgage loans. Many of us, who cannot afford our monthly mortgage payments are losing homes and putting them up for sale and foreclosure, which further adds to the crisis. At the same time, most of the Employment-based (EB) immigrant community would like to purchase homes and make the United States a permanent home for their families. These EB immigrants however, are living in a state of limbo, mostly in rental apartments because of the delays and uncertainties involved with the EB immigration procedure. The wait times in EB categories are exacerbated by the delays in processing by USCIS, even though eligible applicants have filed for Permanent Residency also known as Adjustment of Status. Such processing delays have resulted in the wastage of 218,000 immigrant visa numbers (Page 52 of USCIS Ombudsman Annual report 2007). The current Department of State visa bulletin shows 7+ years of wait times in certain categories. We strongly believe that legislation can be worked out in such a way that the housing markets all over the country can move towards recovery, while at the same time motivating the Green Card applicants to catalyze this recovery.
It should be noted that this proposal by no means brings more immigrant workers into the US. The workers in the EB, skilled category are already present in the US, doing skilled jobs that no US worker is available to do. They are part of the long queue of backlogged cases that USICIS will eventually process; however, this wait can take years and in that case could not be used as a tool to minimize the course of the current economic crisis.
Congress can pass legislation that exempts EB green card applicants and their dependents from the numerical limits of visa numbers, provided applicant(s) have bought a home making 20% down payment on the sale price of the home, for a time period deemed necessary by the congress.
And of course the pro-immigration wing of the free marketers and libertarians have, for some time now (before I came up with my idea) advocated increasing immigration in general to make the demand for housing go up.
But Thomas Friedman quoting Shekhar Gupta endorses an idea very similar to mine:
Leave it to a brainy Indian to come up with the cheapest and surest way to stimulate our economy: immigration.
“All you need to do is grant visas to two million Indians, Chinese and Koreans,” said Shekhar Gupta, editor of The Indian Express newspaper. “We will buy up all the subprime homes. We will work 18 hours a day to pay for them. We will immediately improve your savings rate — no Indian bank today has more than 2 percent nonperforming loans because not paying your mortgage is considered shameful here. And we will start new companies to create our own jobs and jobs for more Americans.”
For good reason, Immigration law cannot directly target various ethnic groups for immigration privileges. They can, I do believe, adopt generally applicable policies that incidentally benefit various ethnic groups. If the criteria was "buy a subprime house, get a visa OR citizenship," it probably would get more Indians, Chinese and Koreans because they hold more US dollars. Likewise, my land standard of selling unused federal land to various nations and in turn permitting them to immigrate a certain number of citizens per acre would be available to any nation but would incidentally benefit those nations that hold large amounts of US currency like China.
I'd appreciate any additional info from readers if they are aware of anyone coming forth with similar or the same idea on this matter before I did.