Libertarian position on immigration

There are a few issues libertarians love to argue about. One of those is immigration.

I like this twitter account and agree with most of the tweets. But I think this line of reasoning on immigration is way off base. You hear it all the time among many libertarians that enforcing immigration laws violates the Non-Aggression Principle or that people have a natural right to the freedom of movement. I disagree on several fronts.

I will concede that in a Stateless society there would be no borders like we currently have. It wouldn’t be up to one entity to repel all people seeking to cross the Rio Grande.

But keep in mind all property would be privately owned. So it would be up to individual landowners to invite in or refuse entry to anyone who comes along. So there is no freedom of movement. In a truly free society, you can only travel at the pleasure of the owners of the properties you seek to enter.

Currently, the State claims ownership of huge portions of land in the US including almost all transportation infrastructure. “Legal” US residents are taxed to pay for this infrastructure. The State can either allow or disallow immigrants to use this land and travel freely on it. If you believe no immigration laws should be enforced under this situation, then you’re basically saying anyone, anywhere in the world, can show up in the USA and use public land with no thought to where the cost burden lies. If a million Chinese people flock into Oklahoma City all at once, then no one can stop them and the State will just have to build more roads I suppose.

Beyond just the issue of public land, the State violates the freedom of association of its subjects. So if a group of property owners would prefer to not accommodate foreigners, they have no legal right to do so under the current regime. Own an apartment building, restaurant, retail store? You can’t discriminate against anyone the State has let into the country. Set aside whether you think it’s good or bad to have your town’s demographics radically altered. The fact is, the local existing residents are barred from legally doing so if they desire. Their local governments are forced to do the same by the DC regime so that they must provide emergency services and education to any immigrant minors. This is not freedom under any sense of the word.

Why is it so morally virtuous to be “pro” immigration anyway? Is it somehow evil to prefer your own culture to foreign ones? Is every foreign culture going to automatically enrich the American one? That’s a value judgment where the State favors the immigrant and pro-immigrant crowd against the restrictions. It’s not a black-and-white libertarian issue. The obvious thought experiment to counter the pro-immigration view is whether you think the people of Japan would be morally wrong to oppose a million Russians moving into their country every year or if they have a right to maintain their society as they see fit.

Finally, I don’t understand the libertarians who think mass immigration into the US is going to lead to a freer society. It’s just not practical. The country has gotten less free as the immigrant level has increased. Foreigners and their children don’t favor smaller government, quite the opposite. If you think a million central Americans arriving in California are going to read the Road to Serfdom and vote for Spike Cohen, you’re dreaming.

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