Article Title

Circles of Trust: A Proposal for Better Migrant Screening

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Screening potential entrants is a major challenge to any system of immigration. 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 potential entrants have about each other. Certain potential entrants to the United States would have to apply as a small group, called a trust circle. Once inside the country, all members would be subject to 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 becomes involved in hostile or criminal activities, every member of the group would summarily lose his or her privileges. Knowing this, potential migrants will associate only with others they trust and would have incentives to expose others in the group who adopt bad behaviors after entry.

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