University of Cincinnati Law Review


Control over immigration is generally seen as a purely federal power that cannot or should not be exercised by the states. Although some scholars have challenged this assumption, their focus is almost always on the ability of states to regulate (or remove) immigrants who are already within their borders. This Article calls for states to intervene in the immigration process at a much earlier stage. It proposes delegating to the states the power to admit new immigrants into the country by giving states control over the issuance of temporary and permanent visas. States would also be able to buy excess visas from one another, allocating a scarce resource equitably throughout the country. By embracing both federalism and free market incentives, this Article’s proposal would break the democratic dysfunction that currently prevents reform at the federal level, while allowing for innovation that better reflects the desires and needs of local communities.