Salmon: The No-Brainer Immigrant-Entrepreneur Visa

Most fundamentally, however, this visa is a great idea just because without it, the incentives are all wrong. As Stuart Anderson demonstrates, "in a practical sense, it may be easier to stay in the United States illegally and start a business than to start a business and gain legal temporary status and permanent residence (green card) as the owner of that business."

If we want to reduce illegal immigration, we obviously have to make it less attractive than legal immigration: As Jeb Bush and Clint Bolick point out, you can only realistically ask illegal immigrants to "return to their native countries and wait in line like everyone else" insofar as there is, actually, a line to wait in. Right now, there isn't one.

The only real question, when it comes to this visa, is how it's going to get signed into law. The proponents of immigration reform tend to fall into one of two groups: U.S. employers, on the one hand, who are looking to increase the size and/or quality of the pool of potential employees they're choosing from; and illegal immigrants, on the other hand, along with their families and friends, who want to stop living in the shadows. Neither group has much incentive to support an immigrant-entrepreneur visa. But let's hope we manage to get one somehow, anyway.

-- Written by Felix Salmon.

Read more of Felix's blogs at Reuters.