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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/4417/the-libertarian-immigration-conundrum/

The Libertarian Immigration Conundrum

December 8, 2005 by

The immigration issue is heating up in all parts of the world, and libertarians have a major contribution to make to the debate. There is internally debate on the issue but the two main views on this subject are not really at odds. Libertarians can condemn both restrictive and open immigration, under current arrangements, as contrary to liberty and prosperity, in favor of a position that removes the state and its borders from being the primary political consideration. FULL ARTICLE


Lisa Casanova December 9, 2005 at 4:35 pm

I’m completely in favor of getting rid of the welfare state (and the rest of the state while we’re at it, too). In a world of private property, immigration would be a matter of who gives permission for whom to be on their property, but we live in a world of governments. What gets lost in debates like this is that EVERYTHING the government touches turns to incompetence. Why is control of immigration different? We can debate what immigration should be in a perfect world, but here in the real world, the U.S. government can no more control immigration than it can create a social safety net, eradicate poverty, respond to natural disasters, provide insurance, control the money supply, manage the economy, eliminate drug addiction, educate children, clean up the environment, guarantee food and drug safety, or any other of the myriad things libertarians rightly want the state out of because it’s grossly incompetent in getting them done. Since 9/11 we’ve been subjected to rhetoric about how terrorists are going to come in via our open borders and kill us all. Four years later, border control is still like a sieve, which would seem to prove that the government literally could not control the border if our lives depended on it. An expanding welfare state may well cost me more, but the solution is not to steal even more money from my pocket to create an even larger and more oppressive police state in the name of border control. As things are, I’ll acknowledge that immigrants need my permission to come here when I’m told that my fellow Americans need my permission before they bring any more kids into the world. The new clients for the welfare state that we create right here at home are not somehow morally superior or more entitled to what’s stolen in the first place than those who immigrate. If we wanted to keep from “adding more”, there are all kinds of nightmarish rights violations we could employ to do so. That’s not a place I want to go, and I hope no one else does, either.

Curt Howland December 9, 2005 at 5:17 pm

Steamship, why do you continually repeat the same error? Of course there is a principled argument toward open immigration, the same way there is a principled argument for the elimination of taxes. All you’re doing is falling back on the idea that since government does something bad with “immigration”, immigration aught to be prevented.

Government does awful things with education, too. That doesn’t mean getting rid of education is any solution. The solution is to get government out of education. Same for roads, emergency services, insurance, and for that matter everything else.

David J. Heinrich December 9, 2005 at 5:19 pm


I see the point in saying the State is incompetent in everything it does; this is true. So, why not let the law be as it is, but not have the State enforce it, but let private citizens enforce it, and not prosecute them for assault?

I don’t think the new immigrants and new babies thing is a valid comparison. There is an clear difference, in that babies come from someone already living here, paying taxes. It would constitute a violation of your private property rights to prevent you from having a baby. However, the case of an immigrant is different.

Klueless December 9, 2005 at 5:37 pm

Then I guess we just have found a common ground:

1. Eliminate all public schools and state universities. The birth rate will somewhat decrease as a result.
2. Increase # of green cards by the same number, and issue those newly available green cards to the most skilled applicants. Require an invitation as well.

It’s an obvious Pareto improvement – same load on the infrastructure, same population, yet lower goverment expenses (& therefore taxes).

Paul Edwards December 9, 2005 at 5:39 pm

Is this issue not stickier than even the IP question?

I am going to poke at this one just for reactions; i have not landed on a side yet.

Let’s say we agree the courts should be privatized, but yet the government continues to monopolize them. If we cannot abolish this monopoly, can we therefore then advocate at least that minimal justice be executed?

What of the monopoly on roads that we can’t abolish: Should we therefore advocate no stop lights, leave the pot-holes, forget the center lines?

Police: would we advocate less security or more brutality than already provided (remember: abolition of monopolized police market is not the option, we pay what we pay for it).

Therefore borders: immigration should be controlled by private invitation: yes; yet it is not. Given this state of affairs, do we advocate government invites the “hordes who have no invitation to come on down”?

Curt Howland December 9, 2005 at 5:39 pm

In what way is my moving across the street different than my moving across an arbitrary line on a map called a “border”?

If it is possible to relocate myself anywhere *at all* without violating anyones private property rights, then the disagreement here is just so much vapor. If there is an argument against crossing a “border”, then it is just as logical to argue against crossing a street, or crossing into another town.

Who here has never moved? Unless you live in the same house you were raised in, then you, too, were at some point an immigrant.

Klueless December 9, 2005 at 5:46 pm

I fail to see how giving birth to a baby is different from adopting a foreign baby or from “adopting” a foreign worker.
In all cases, (1) invitation comes from someone who lives here, and (2) no. of people in the country increases by one.

SteamshipTime December 9, 2005 at 7:27 pm


I do not oppose all immigration. I would have no problem with simply repealing the 1965 Immigration Reform Act, under which illiterate Liberians are valued the same as Dutch engineers. However, government being government, you can expect immigration policies to bear no resemblance to what would prevail if immigration were controlled by market forces.

And you have yet to address the central point: so long as there are civil rights laws and transfer payments, immigration will always be a form of rent-seeking that helps maintain the existence of the welfare-warfare state.

SteamshipTime December 9, 2005 at 7:29 pm

I would also support returning immigration policy to the States, as it was prior to the 1850′s.

ChssAddct December 9, 2005 at 9:56 pm

Regarding the supposed “hordes who have no invitation to come on down”.

Just because *you* have not invited them, does not mean they have no invitation. That fact that they come here and find work is an indication that there are employers willing to offer them jobs. Such job offers are a de-facto invitation. Someone is essentially saying, “I invite you to come and associate with me. I will give you some of my property (or it’s surrogate, money) in exchange for you using your faculties to help me accomplish my objectives.” And then, others who have property (to rent) essentially say, “I will allow you temporary use of my property in exchange for you giving me some of your property (which you previously aquired in exchange for the use of your faculties in aiding someone else to accomplish some objective)”. Others with property (that can be eaten) will say, “I will exhange some of my property for some of your property”. And suddenly, you’ve got a full participant in the economy.

Sorry. Like it or not, if they come here and find work, they have both an invitation, and very soon after, property. As soon as these supposed ‘hordes’ come here and are completely and entirely unable to find work, they clearly have no invitation, and no property. And in fact, the flow would very quickly dry to a mere trickle, all on it’s own, with no force needed. No one knowingly migrates to a land of no opportunity.

And frankly, that would be a sad day, were it to occur. I’d much rather live in a land many want to immigrate *to* than in a land many want to emigrate *from*

NamedForRep.Ron December 10, 2005 at 12:18 am

Libertarians who buy into the notion of government-enforced political boundaries. Remarkable.

Next time you are waiting at a border or airport, anti-immigration Libs, don’t get angry at the government. For all you know, it might just be a system designed by some “libertarian” who knows exactly who should be allowed to go where and under what circumstances.

Allen Weingarten December 10, 2005 at 12:03 pm

ChssAddct writes “Like it or not, if they come here and find work, they have both an invitation, and very soon after, property. As soon as these supposed ‘hordes’ come here and are completely and entirely unable to find work, they clearly have no invitation, and no property. And in fact, the flow would very quickly dry to a mere trickle, all on it’s own, with no force needed. No one knowingly migrates to a land of no opportunity.”

He is right, for no one comes to a land of no opportunity. Here, there are great opportunities. Not only are there openings for those who work, but even greater rewards for criminals. Even if a man is caught for violent crimes, he is better treated as a prisoner in America than as a free man in Mexico. They are invited here by fences, forgers, and political activists. Next, there are child molesters, with a target rich environment, as well as protection by those opposed to the death penalty, and the opportunity to find God, redemption, and a book contract. Then there are those with leprosy and other diseases who are needed by those who do research. Moreover, there are Muslim insurgents who want their fellow illegals to plant WMD in many locations, for use when the time is right.

So this is a land of oportunity, with invitations, and the likelihood of obtaining property. The Mosques themselves are worth a lot, and the Saudi government pays plenty for using them for ideological insurgency. Also, I wonder if those who knew that 9/11 was going to happen realized the opportunity to sell short on the stock market, and make a real killing. Perhaps they didn’t know it then, but they do now, so this is a great chance to be an entrepreneur, and to use their inside information to determine which stocks are sure to fall. Nor should the government do anything about them, for as we all know, it is the government that is the problem. Besides, illegals are needed for their votes.

ChssAddct then says “I’d much rather live in a land many want to immigrate *to* than in a land many want to emigrate *from*. We can have both, since after the turnsters immigrate here, this can become a land that we have to emigrate from.

David White December 10, 2005 at 6:31 pm

As Hoppe has made clear, “immigration” exists only because states exist; if they did not, the issue would entirely be about “trespass.” But because states DO exist — and, more importantly, because their interventions in human affairs have created enormous distortions in wealth distribution — those states that have allowed the most freedom (and thus the most wealth creation) are now paying the price for “free trade” with those states that have allowed the least freedom.

Bottom line: You can outsource cheap labor via “capital flight” or import it via “open borders,” but either way countries like the US lose — especially when they try to sustain their outrageous consumption levels through massive borrowing (over $2 billion a day) from the same countries that they are outsourcing their labor to.

Face it, America’s third-worldization is on.

Curt Howland December 10, 2005 at 8:13 pm

Steamship, I have addressed your “transfer payments” several times. Don’t hide behind an awful policy for your support of another awful policy. I do not excuse one because the other exists, yet you do. I oppose both, one and the other. Period.

As to the definition of immigration requiring political boundries, then without political boundries there would be no immigration? Ok, if people will argue that consistently I could go along with that.

SteamshipTime December 11, 2005 at 12:04 am


You are incoherent.

Curt Howland December 11, 2005 at 9:11 am

In what way? What have I said that is not comprehendable?

SteamshipTime December 11, 2005 at 2:05 pm


You only repeat endlessly that it’s the transfer payments that are the problem, not immigration so therefore we should not oppose immigration. This makes no sense since immigration itself fuels the welfare state and, so long as the government is controlling it, immigration is just another form of rent-seeking. More diabolically, immigration is the government importing more constituents.

Ideologically, there is no principled argument for immigration so long as the government controls it. Strategically, libertarians who argue for open borders are advocating their own political extinction.

Curt Howland December 12, 2005 at 11:46 am

Steamship, immigration does not “fuel” the welfare state. Politicians seeking reelection, bureaucrats seeking power, do that.

Immigration is people seeking a better life for themselves.

You are correct that I do not oppose immigration. To do so I would have to be a hypocrite, because I myself have moved in order to get a better job and/or better place to live.

there is no principled argument for immigration so long as the government controls it.

I guess my repetitions have not gotten through to you. I oppose government control of immigration. Why do you support government control of immigration?

SteamshipTime December 12, 2005 at 12:33 pm


My argument is equivalent to arguing for lower taxes. So long as there’s a government making policy choices over immigration, I want the government to limit immigration to net tax producers and people literate in the United States’ lingua franca. Your position seems to be that you favor immigration even though the government controls it and uses it to expand its constituency. As I’ve pointed out, there is no principled basis for such a position. It’s like arguing that we should support government welfare because Christ commanded us to provide welfare for the poor and, in the absence of government, we’d be obligated to pay the welfare anyway.

Also as I’ve pointed out, libertarians who support government-controlled mass immigration are advocating their own political and cultural extinction.

Klueless December 12, 2005 at 12:48 pm


You can outsource cheap labor via “capital flight” or import it via “open borders,” but either way countries like the US lose…

David, do you agree or disagree that act of letting one immigrant into the country and act of giving birth to one child create identical externalities?

Julius Blumfeld December 12, 2005 at 1:17 pm

Hoppe is correct that State-permitted immigration entails certain rights violations that would not otherwise occur. For example, if an immigrant avails himself of anti-discrimination laws, he may be able to force a private landlord to grant accomodation, something which would not have happened had the immigrant been refused entry at the borders.

But those rights violations are utterly trivial in scale compared to the gross rights violations that occur as a result of State restrictions on immigration. There is simply no comparison between the two.

At most, one might accept the continuation of immigration restrictions on those carrying dangerous infectious diseases and those with serious criminal records. But any restrictions beyond that are almost bound to infringe more people’s rights and to a greater extent than removing such restrictions.

Hence the correct position for libertarians is surely the removal of all or at least the vast bulk of State immigration restrictions.


Vince Daliessio December 12, 2005 at 2:43 pm

To oppose the current state of affairs re immigration is not to engage in utopianism at all. A principled libertarian will eventually see that freedom is as freedom does, that peaceful immigrants are what made this country great before the heyday of the welfare state, and can again.

However, we have now a situation where the majority are being economically squeezed between illegal immigration (that is actively encouraged by large sectors of industrial patrimony) on one hand, and trade unionism that restricts employment on the other. Neither of these groups has any compunction at all about forcing the average citizen to support policies that are against his own interests.

In a utopian world, Mexico would allow its citizens to obtain and keep inviolable title to property, allowing poor Mexicans to own assets and build wealth. This would greatly diminish the immigration pressure on the US, in all likelihood making it a non-issue.

However long we have to wait for that day, we still must try to coerce peaceful immigrants as little as possible. Certainly a privatized property regime in this country would retard immigration somewhat, though this would not be the primary reason to institute such a reform. Similarly, a recission of the welfare state would go a long way toward de-incentivizing immigration, again, not the primary intent.

What I am trying to say is that our country’s current laws and policies are deeply at odds with any sort of libertarian solution to any problem, and all problems must be carefully analyzed to try to discern all of the aggravating and mitigating factors at work before taking a position that might tend to restrict freedom.

I would like to work toward a world where honest, willing workers will be allowed to travel anywhere to practice their chosen work at a wage agreeable to worker and employer. Scary arguments that this would drive this country into a “Third World” are simply wrong – it is the CURRENT policy that is causing such a devolution, since most (illegal)immigrants from Mexico are those who are willing, by definition to break the law to come here, thereby self-selecting an immigrant population with at least a nominal disregard for the law.

Clearly a sane immigration policy would allow peaceful, law-abiding workers in while tending to keep most rogues and neer-do-wells out, exactly the opposite of what is happening now.

David White December 12, 2005 at 5:12 pm


“David, do you agree or disagree that act of letting one immigrant into the country and act of giving birth to one child create identical externalities?”

I disagree in that the vast majority of the latter are a result of the former — http://www.cis.org/topics/currentnumbers.html — which is why I say again that the third-worldization of American is on.

Some of my fellow libertarians may argue against government control of immigration and favor open borders instead. But from a practical standpoint — i.e., given that nation-states rule the world — the least they can do is act like private property owners and defend their borders against trespass (this being Hoppe’s argument under these circumstances).

I would add that purely as a thought experiment, I proposed to Lew Rockwell that if the United States (1) sealed itself off, North Korea-like, from the outside world and (2) opened its economy up along libertarian lines (i.e., dismantled the welfare-warfare state, abolished the income tax, central banking, etc.), the result would be a land of peace and prosperity the likes of which the world has never seen.

Lew agreed.

Curt Howland December 12, 2005 at 5:38 pm

I want the government to limit immigration

Yep, you support government intervention.

Your position seems to be that you favor immigration even though the government controls it and uses it to expand its constituency.

Then you haven’t been listening. I oppose government control of immigration. Period. I cannot understand why you have not been able to grasp that.

It is a very principled stand. I want government out of everything. Make a list, check it twice, do whatever it is you have to do to understand that everything on that list I oppose.

Now, if you present a line item such as “immigration”, I am going to say that indeed I oppose government intervention in immigration. (For the “deadly infectious disease” folks, that’s up to his insurance issuer. Get it?)

Every abuse people are discussing here are abuses of government intervention. People trying to improve their lives are not the problem, they never have been.

Klueless December 12, 2005 at 6:59 pm

…which is why I say again that the third-worldization of American is on…

This is how I read the numbers:

1) 4M per year = birth rate in the US, has nothing to do with the 3-worldization.

2) 1M per yeas = legal immigration. These people are prescreened based on their health (no TB, AIDS and whatever else is checked), absence of criminal record, and having a job offer or a relative who agrees to support them for the first 10 years.

I argue that the impact of this group is exactly the same as if they never existed, but the birth rate were bumped by 1M per year.

So they have nothing to do with the 3-wordization too.

3) 0.5M per year = illegal immigration.
Not enough information to evaluate their impact for now, especially on the welfare.

Does anyone here know for a fact what benefits are available for someone who does not even have a valid SS# ?

Klueless December 12, 2005 at 7:06 pm

Even if 1M of the 4M US birth rate are births to immigrant women, it still does not qualify as 3-wordization: these children get their education in the US and do not grow to become 2-nd class people (unless you have some stats to prove otherwise).

David White December 12, 2005 at 7:47 pm


What passes for “education” in this country is part of our third-worldization, no matter who’s being “taught.” Or are you going to defend government schooling as well.

Bottom line: welfare socialism and militaristic nationalism have conspired to doom us to the same fate as the former Soviet Union — a process that rampant immigration only exacerbates, sapping what remaining strength we have.

Klueless December 12, 2005 at 8:27 pm

I’m not advocating anything, I am only trying to understand what libertariarism is.

There are three groups of people in the country: natives, immigrants (preselected by the gov according to the current rules) and illegals.

Natives: born within the country, live on their property, so the position toward them seem to leave them alone.

Immigrants: they are identical to the natives, (in the sense of externalities), so any consistent philosophy, including libertarian, should treat them exactly like the natives (that is, leave alone).

quoting from http://www.cis.org/articles/2004/back1104.html
“…research on illegal aliens has shown that they are overwhelmingly of working age. Relatively few illegals come prior to age 18 or after age 50. Since their primary motive for coming is work…”

In other words, they would be very welcome if the immigration policy got changed to a libertarian.

Outcome – the US already has the best policy ???

Klueless December 12, 2005 at 8:39 pm

rampant immigration only exacerbates, sapping what remaining strength we have.

My neihgbor is Mexican-born. If his brother comes to visit him on a tourist visa, and overstays it for one day (thus becoming an illegal), this will sure sap all my remaining strength.


SteamshipTime December 12, 2005 at 9:08 pm


That’s a lovely, principled stand but the government is not going away in your lifetime. Maybe you could put out copies of Human Action at the border to assure that the new arrivals will adopt anarcho-capitalist philosophy.


Immigrants in the Atlanta area generally have about 5 different SS cards in their wallets. SS and DFACS offices in the Atlanta area all have bilingual forms. I would also invite you to go to the ER of Grady Hospital and tell me what you see.

Libertarians, like social democrats, apparently assume that Mexico is bad only because it’s Mexico, and if we plop down a bunch of Mexicans amongst us, they won’t bring Mexico with them.

SteamshipTime December 12, 2005 at 9:24 pm

“Immigrants: they are identical to the natives, (in the sense of externalities), so any consistent philosophy, including libertarian, should treat them exactly like the natives (that is, leave alone).”

You believe this? How many immigrants do you know? (The Kenyan exchange student from the 95th percentile of his homeland doesn’t count.)

Should socialist immigrants receive equal consideration? Islamic militants?

David Heinrich December 12, 2005 at 10:42 pm


Although your intended point is clear despite the error, Human Action is not a book to convince anyone of anarcho-capitalism. Whether or not you agree with him on this matter, Ludwig von Mises was not an anarcho-capitalist, and Human Action is not a book supporting the anarcho-capitalist position.

Vince Daliessio December 13, 2005 at 7:54 am

David Heinrich sez;

“Human Action is not a book to convince anyone of anarcho-capitalism.”

Whether one agrees with your statement or not, it is at least arguable that reading and understanding Human Action in full would naturally and inevitably lead a principled student to an anarcho-capitalist orientation. Certainly it led his brightest student, Murray Rothbard that way. And unlike say Neo-conservatives, anarcho-capitalists by definition must suffer non-anarcho-capitalists to live and do not molest them as long as they reciprocate. Per Bylund’s article simply tries to reconcile non-aggression with sensible approaches to immigration. Too many self-identified “libertarians” have extremely non-libertarian attitudes toward immigrants. This is clearly an emotional approach that does not do our position, our country. or those immigrants any good.

David White December 13, 2005 at 2:46 pm


I am a “self-identified” libertarian who opposes open borders on practical grounds:

1) States are all-pervasive, thus political boundaries are all-pervasive.

2) State intervention in human affairs has varied to the extent that it has created massive income disparities between and among them, the US and Mexico being an obvious case in point.

3) Allowing the US-Mexico income disparity to be reconciled by opening the US border (as is presently the case due to lax enforcement) is the wrong way to go about it so far as the citizens of the US are concerned.

4) The solution, then, is not for the US to open its borders but for Mexico to open its economy.

That said, Mexico will not open its economy. And while the US government may try to tighten control of the border, it’s a moot point in that the US economy is in reality a house of cards that is going to collapse under the weight of its enormous government and consumer debt, thus “solving” the immigration problem.

Klueless December 13, 2005 at 4:21 pm

“Immigrants: they are identical to the natives, (in the sense of externalities), so any consistent
philosophy, including libertarian, should treat them exactly like the natives (that is, leave alone).”

You believe this? How many immigrants do you know?

First: by immigrants I always mean those who immigrated legally under the current rules.

How many immigrants I know -
our family’s primary physician (Russian)
dentist (Chinese)
governor of the state (Austrian:)
owners of a few nearby auto shops (Palestinian, Mexican and Vietnamese)
real estate agent (Italian)
my co-workers from the current and previous jobs (mostly Chinese and Indians, ~80 people total)
University professors (say, another 20)

I am not aware of any reason why would my life suddenly improve or worsen
if all these people got magically replaced with Americans overnight,
provided that the total population in the US remained the same.

So yes, I claim for now that they are equivalent to the natives, and their presence
is equivalent to a corresponding birth rate increase.

The Kenyan exchange student from the 95th
percentile of his homeland doesn’t count.

Of course he doesn’t. He is a visitor, not an immigrant.

If he decides to stay then he either fits the requirements and immigrates legally (see above) or stays illegally (see below).

Immigrants in the Atlanta area generally have about 5 different SS cards in their wallets.

Obviously you mean illegals. I assume they use these cards to get jobs, not to collect 5x benefits.
Therefore, they contribute to the SS fund (under someone else’s name)
without any intention or a chance to collect the corresponding retirement benefits.

Overall contribution is positive: they contribute, but don’t vote.

SS and DFACS offices in the Atlanta area all have bilingual forms.

DMV in California offers a choice of 6 languages. So what?

Existence of goverments guarantees that every country converges to a single language:
The language of the goverment is perceived as a langauge of power, and immigrants make sure
their children study it, regardless of their origin.

I would also invite you to go to the ER of Grady Hospital and tell me what you see.

Should socialist immigrants receive equal consideration? Islamic militants?

Both are valid questions. Don’t know.

Klueless December 13, 2005 at 8:05 pm

found this gem:



the lifetime fiscal impact (taxes paid minus services used) for the average adult Mexican immigrant is a negative $55,200


shutting up for now….

Vince Daliessio December 13, 2005 at 11:16 pm


Not to quibble, but I have actually been the victim of discrimination against ‘foreign workers’. I represented no threat to the economy of the country. I simply wanted to go there and do my job. The visa system (likely in response to US policies) in that country essentially caused me to become an ‘illegal immigrant’. Exactly what purpose was served here? None that I can discern, except to create an opportunity for some minor corruption (and an extra day’s layover in Miami Beach for me at my employer’s expense, boo hoo).

Let me say this – if we had a private-property regime in this country, and we did not have military stationed imperially in over 100 countries, we could control immigration of crooks and unproductive citizens in a completely libertarian manner by limiting access to private property as Professor Hoppe lays out.

David White December 14, 2005 at 8:04 am


I absolutely agree that a private-property based society (i.e., one in which there was no “public” property) would solve the problem, as it would become one of “trespass” rather than “immigration.”

Since this is not the case, however, for the US government not to defend its borders against the onslaught by millions of poor people fleeing their homelands is suicide in that it amounts to “insourcing” the same cheap labor that we are increasingly outsourcing, the combined effect of which is our country’s third-worldization.

Combine this twin scourge with the fact that our prosperity is a debt-induced sham, and it is clear that we are not only on the road to ruin but that we very near the end of it.

Vince Daliessio December 14, 2005 at 10:17 am


What exactly is wrong with “cheap” labor? Whose business is it if a person wants to sell their labor for a penny less than another’s?

All of the arguments against immigration from utility are easily addressed, but this opposition to free, peaceful exchange is the Achilles’heel of your argument as far as libertarianism is concerned.

This is no different than unions’ claims that no one should be allowed to sell their labor at less than the union (price-fixed) wage. This cannot be squared with Austrianism, much less anarcho-capitalism.

Mitchell Nelson December 14, 2005 at 11:07 am

There seems to be one central point in this argument that is forgotten: the countries like the U.S. and Cananda are nations of immigrants. If it were not for immigration, these two countries would not exist. Many of the immigartion laws were created on the basis of exclusion and discrimination, laws to limit the number of Chinese, Italians, Jews and Slavs to name a few.
The end of the 19th century saw a flood of immigration into the U.S. There was no welfare to give them handouts. They were screened for disease. We cannot forget that it was these immigrants that were our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. They quickly became American and became integral into the fabric of American life.
In this day and age, as so many people are quick to point out the problems of the U.S., we should be happy that foreigners still want to come here. It is only in American that they feel that they can have a better life snd it is only in America, not in Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Cuba or Mexico that they can prosper. Immigrants do bnot trample private property rights. No one is going to take property away from its rightfull owner. If there would be no immigrants than lettuce would be over $5 a head and onions would be $8/pound. Many of these immigrants take the jobs that citizens not only do not want, but also will not take. Immigrants today fill other crucial voids such as in engineering. To cut off the number of entrants is to limit the talent pool and limit the innovation that leads us forward.

David White December 14, 2005 at 2:42 pm

Vince and Mitchell,

1) See my posts on Per’s new blog on this subject.

2) If lettuce would cost over $5 a head and onions $8 a pound without rampant immigration, this would mean that American workers did in fact want these jobs, just at wages they were willing to accept. Thus it is a contradiction to say, on the one hand, that prices would be higher, while maintaining, on the other hand, that Americans don’t want such jobs.

Charles June 4, 2007 at 8:23 pm

What is the meaning of this supposed open immigration? I understand the desire to allow Americans to interact with citizens of other countries, even to bring them in for labor, but we’re talking about allowing all the world to come in uninvited _and_ become American citizens. This means, in essence, that we invite everyone in the world to vote in our elections. How long will our freedom last? People here seem to be turning a blind eye to the absolutely massive demographic shifts that would result from having uncontrolled borders, along with the corresponding political shift towards welfare state socialism (at best). If you take this idea far enough, we’re talking about potentially millions of people migrating here purposely to harm us and/or sabotage our elections.

Michael A. Clem June 5, 2007 at 12:54 am

What? Free democratic elections cause harm? ;-)
But seriously, in case you hadn’t noticed already, the elections have already been sabotaged by the alleged “Two-Party System”. And we’re already pretty far along towards welfare state socialism now. Even without immigrants, I doubt that merely voting in the elections will cause any significant changes in favor of freedom.

anna April 30, 2008 at 7:21 am

what is the problem with the phrase “illegal alien”? The undocumented immigrant does not pay taxes on the money earned during a stint in the US. And let’s not forget about the potential for those “undocumented” who may be tempted to operate motor vehicles illegally in the U.S. Where it is mandatory to carry liability insurance in case of an accident, the illegal operation of a car or truck increases the likelihood of an “uninsured” accident.

Of course, that’s only one side of the issue. None of these factors is cause to discriminate, harass or detain people based soley on ethnicity, background or other factors that some mistakenly lump in with the immigration issue. The real problem is a question of legality, not country of origin. Besides, the real problem is not “those damn foreigners.” The problem is “those damn AMERICANS.”

Lest we forget, the people who enter and live in America without going through proper immigration channels are still human beings. In spite of being treated as sub-humans in some cases by employers, law enforcement, and citizens of the communities affected by this issue, illegal aliens are people. The founding fathers stated clearly that humans have certain inalienable rights. Those rights do not cease for want of a passport, visa or green card.

Those who immigrate-legally or not–have many reasons for wanting to come to America. Many are exploited on the way here and beyond. Illegal immigrants are often subject to the same types of hateful practices perpetrated on convicted criminals who are released or paroled; they are employed by those who demand kickbacks, bribes or special consideration. They are also often underpaid because the workers can’t lodge a complaint. They wouldn’t dare, and those who exploit them take full advantage
New York Immigration Lawyer Marina Shepelsky, located in Brooklyn, assists clients from the New York metro area and across the United States in all immigration and naturalization matters http://www.e-us-visa.com

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