Last updated on: 2/5/2015 | Author:

Alex Nowrasteh, MSc Biography

Immigration Policy Analyst at the Cato Institute
Pro to the question "Should the Government Allow a Path to Citizenship for Undocumented Immigrants?"

“The tiered legalization process I propose contains three different options available to otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants. Under this plan, the individual illegal immigrant could choose one path to legal status and could not switch to another at a later date, except maybe by paying an enormous penalty. This plan assumes no other changes in the immigration laws, no enforcement triggers that would have to be met before legalization could begin, and no regulations that would bar the immigrant from getting a green card through marriage or military service.

The first path is a work permit… The second path is permanent non-citizen residency… The third path should eventually lead to citizenship

Each path to legal status has a different series of benefits and costs. The work permit is the cheapest, but also the most limiting. The permanent non-citizen residency option is more expensive, but allows for the immigrant to sponsor additional immediate family members to immigrate. The green card is the most expensive and can eventually allow the immigrant to become a citizen and participate in America’s political system. Crucially, this system will work only if switching between these tiers is not allowed, except for a large fee.”

Alex Nowrasteh, “One Solution to the Immigration Debate,”, Aug. 19, 2015

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Immigration Policy Analyst, Cato Institute, Apr. 2012-present
  • Former Immigration Policy Analyst, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Sep. 2007-Apr. 2012
  • Analyst/Back Office, Fulcrum Securities, 2006-2007
  • MSc, Economic History, London School of Economics, 2011
  • BA, Economics, George Mason University, 2006
  • Has been published in the Wall Street Journal, the Houston Chronicle, the Boston Globe, the San Jose Mercury, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Huffington Post, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, and other media outlets
  • Has appeared on Fox News and other television and radio stations
  • Named one of “20 Immigration Experts to Follow on Twitter” by ABC News on Jan. 4, 2013
  • Twitter handle: @AlexNowrasteh
Quoted in:
  1. Should Children Born on US Soil to Undocumented Immigrants Automatically Have US Citizenship?
  2. Does Illegal Immigration Relate to Higher Crime Incidence?
  3. Should E-Verify Be Mandatory for All Employers?