1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar
Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5658/the-fruit-of-immigration-controls/

The fruit of immigration controls

September 22, 2006 by

People who favor having federal goons arrest undocumented workers and send them home imagine that this is a great thing for American culture and society. But of course no government program quite turns out that way you expect it to.

In this case, the results have been to create a huge labor shortage in the fruit picking industry. People who only want to come to this country to work and then leave with their earnings–people who received an invitation and who provide productivity and cost nothing and thus satisfy every condition of Hoppeite immigration norms–are not allowed in or are too frightened or favor higher paying jobs that allow a more permanent residency.

The odd result of the crackdown, then, has been that fruit is rotting on trees, and not being made available to consumers. This is bad for producers, bad for consumers, and bad for workers. The only winners are the goons themselves, who can enjoy the satisfaction that comes with treating people like animals (some people like doing that apparently), and the government in general, which gains more power over person and property.

But we were only trying to stop crime and clean up the culture, say the advocates of border crackdowns. And we were only trying to create fairness and equality, say the socialists.

Here is the story:

LAKEPORT, Calif. — The pear growers here in Lake County waited decades for a crop of shapely fruit like the one that adorned their orchards last month.

“I felt like I went to heaven,” said Nick Ivicevich, recalling the perfection of his most abundant crop in 45 years of tending trees.

Now harvest time has passed and tons of pears have ripened to mush on their branches, while the ground of Mr. Ivicevich’s orchard reeks with rotting fruit. He and other growers in Lake County, about 90 miles north of San Francisco, could not find enough pickers.

Stepped-up border enforcement kept many illegal Mexican migrant workers out of California this year, farmers and labor contractors said, putting new strains on the state’s shrinking seasonal farm labor force.

Labor shortages have also been reported by apple growers in Washington and upstate New York. Growers have gone from frustrated to furious with Congress, which has all but given up on passing legislation this year to create an agricultural guest-worker program.

Last week, 300 growers representing every major agricultural state rallied on the front lawn of the Capitol carrying baskets of fruit to express their ire.

This year’s shortages are compounding a flight from the fields by Mexican workers already in the United States. As it has become harder to get into this country, many illegal immigrants have been reluctant to return to Mexico in the off-season. Remaining here year-round, they have gravitated toward more stable jobs.

{ 95 comments }

TGGP September 24, 2006 at 9:35 pm

Jared Diamond was better was when he stuck to the important topic of “Differences between ethnic groups in testicle size“. Hahaha!

Seriously, Jared Diamond should know better than to say some of the things he says. If he were a less public figure I bet he’d sing a different tune.

I see plenty of evidence of property rights being essential to prosperity, but posessing lots of natural resources seems negatively correlated with it to me (see Africa, Middle East). England and Japan are islands and Hong Kong is just a city. Now having coastal areas for ports does seem like a good thing, but Switzerland seems to have done pretty well separated from its neighbors with mountains.

bstender September 25, 2006 at 7:59 am

nick your question #1 is impossible to agree with, it is a hypothetical and what you call “property rights” needs definition.
but even assuming a real world scenario of great abundance, i think disputes would nevertheless occur or not occur depending more upon the social agreement. plains indians come to mind, living in very meager conditions yet communally.

Your Q2 seems a reasonable hypothesis. but only necessary were the community fractured in some way–different tribes or geographical features. the use of the word ‘rights’ is leading to something i presume?

number 3 is of course false, as it is based on presumptions in 1 and 2. the Introduction of the concept of “Natural Law” needs definition.

Nick Bradley September 25, 2006 at 10:55 am

bstender,

Any economist will tell you that the reason people have property rights AT ALL is because of scarcity. All #1 is saying is that if there was no scarcity, there would be no property. Why should I own something if I could just conjur up whatever I wanted by blinking my eyes? It may be a reductio ad absurdum argument, but it proves my point.

on #2 — It is irrelevant to my hypothesis whether the community is fractured or not. If it was all one happy commune, somebody in the commune would have to say who gets what. IF we reduced the scenario to one family of four, somebody in the family would have to decide who gets how much of each scarce good.

So you rejected #3 because it was built on #s 1 and 2. But you said you agreed with #2 as long as it wasn’t a utopian commune (which i Disagree with you on). And you dismissed #1 because it was hypothetical; #1 was a reductio ad absurdum argument to prove a point (exxagerating points to their logical extremes).
For a nice primer on Natural Rights and Law, see Locke: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Locke

Anthony Gregory September 25, 2006 at 12:53 pm

“The waves of European immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th century brough with them socialist ideals, providing a catalyst for the Progressive Era and the New Deal. Thanks!”

The demographics behind Progressivism coincided mostly with the Protestant Yankee tradition that was in the US for its entire history, and purifying the immigrant culture was part of its ethic. You can’t blame Wilsonianism on the immigrants. The first European managerial statists came to America a long, long time ago.

Anthony Gregory September 25, 2006 at 1:03 pm

The public schools were largely set up by nativists who wanted to Americanize immigrants. Now that they take advantage of these compulsory institutions, they are still being attacked. If you don’t like the system, blame the Americans who put it in place, not the illegal alien children who attend public schools. Many of them don’t even go to public schools. They’re too busy working.

Anthony Gregory September 25, 2006 at 1:05 pm

“Why should my county give free health care to mexican immigrants when I have to pay for my health insurance?”

It shouldn’t.

” It seems I must deal with a bi-lingual culture just so that my neighbor can have cheap lawn care.”

Why should I have to pay for your border controls just because you can’t stand hearing more than one language?

Nick Bradley September 25, 2006 at 1:49 pm

Anthony Gregory,

“The first European managerial statists came to America a long, long time ago.”

– I may be mistaken, but didn’t Murray Rothbard write about how our public school system was modeled after the Prussian system designed to make “good little soldiers” and was brought here by German Inteligestia?

“If you don’t like the system, blame the Americans who put it in place, not the illegal alien children who attend public schools. Many of them don’t even go to public schools. They’re too busy working.”

Do you have any source for your claim that many illegal immigrants do not go to school? The only ones who don’t go to school is when they drop out or get pregnant at 15.

“Why should I have to pay for your border controls just because you can’t stand hearing more than one language?”

The cheap lawn care AND the bi-lingual culture would no exist if it weren’t for the state subsidies to immigration in the first place.

I don’t think anybody here is opposed to open borders as long as state subsidies to both legal and illegal immigrants to come here in the first place are removed. The market acted as a natural selector of who would become an American in the 19th Century. Those that came here and worked hard enough to make it stayed; those that did not went back home. Massive Government subsidies to illegal workers has so distorted the market that this process no longer works. The government has also sibsidized the market for illegal labor through agricultural subsidies.

In the interim, I propose that immigration policy be devolved back to the states, wherein immigrants must first become the citizens of a state before becoming US citizens. States would be able to deny immigrants various subsidies without violating the current interpretation of the 14th Amendment (the Leftist court that struck down Prop. 187 notwithstanding). States would pick the immigrants that they wanted to live there. If California has such a “big” problem with fruit rotting on the vine, they can import menial labor if they so choose. Only a Centralizer would deny the states that right. The quickest route back to liberty, as both Lew Rockwell and Hans Hermann-Hoppe have stated, is through decentralization of power back to the state and local levels. CATO and Reason MAgazine may disagree, and I do not feel it is a councidence that they are leading the charge for open borders from a libertarian perspective.

Anthony Gregory September 25, 2006 at 2:30 pm

“I may be mistaken, but didn’t Murray Rothbard write about how our public school system was modeled after the Prussian system designed to make ‘good little soldiers’ and was brought here by German Inteligestia?”

The modern system, yes. But Germans were among the first major immigrant groups. Who is NOT supposed to be excluded?

“Do you have any source for your claim that many illegal immigrants do not go to school? The only ones who don’t go to school is when they drop out or get pregnant at 15.”

No, but I figure even if 90% or 95% of them do go, then in absolute terms a lot don’t go, which can’t be discounted if we’re to be methodological individualists considering a policy of expulsion.

“The cheap lawn care AND the bi-lingual culture would no exist if it weren’t for the state subsidies to immigration in the first place.”

What are you talking about? Huge parts of what is now considered the jurisdiction of the United States government have been inhabited by Spanish speakers for a very long time.

“In the interim, I propose that immigration policy be devolved back to the states, wherein immigrants must first become the citizens of a state before becoming US citizens. States would be able to deny immigrants various subsidies without violating the current interpretation of the 14th Amendment (the Leftist court that struck down Prop. 187 notwithstanding). States would pick the immigrants that they wanted to live there. If California has such a “big” problem with fruit rotting on the vine, they can import menial labor if they so choose. Only a Centralizer would deny the states that right. The quickest route back to liberty, as both Lew Rockwell and Hans Hermann-Hoppe have stated, is through decentralization of power back to the state and local levels. CATO and Reason MAgazine may disagree, and I do not feel it is a councidence that they are leading the charge for open borders from a libertarian perspective.”

Well of course the issue should be denationalized. And of course they shouldn’t get welfare. And of course they shouldn’t get citizenship—heck, citizenship itself is not exactly a libertarian construct. But none of this means we should champion federal officials rounding up peaceful people and deporting them, or a wall along the border to keep out both the invited and those attracted to welfare.

Nick Bradley September 25, 2006 at 7:57 pm

Anthony Gregory,

“What are you talking about? Huge parts of what is now considered the jurisdiction of the United States government have been inhabited by Spanish speakers for a very long time.”

You are from the Bay Area, as am I. Third Generation or longer hispanic families aren’t exactly fluent in Spanish anymore. Their culture is American. It is the immigrants that have came to the US since the ’65 Immigration Act (Thank you, LBJ) that are creating the biculturalism that is afflicting “Mexifornia” and other parts of the country. I don’t buy this “border crossed us” gibberish from the Chicano brownshirts at MeCHA. Those who made such claims clearly “crossed a border”, a border that has clearly been in place since the 1850s.

“…or a wall along the border to keep out both the invited and those attracted to welfare.”

What is it with the opposition to a wall along the border? $1m – $2m dollars a mile for 2,500 miles. A few billion dollars equals many times over savings in the first year alone. It is not akin to a new government project, it is akin to fixing a leaky faucet. The only way you could oppose such a project is if it is your hope that so many illegals (and legals) enter the country that the welfare state collapses as a result (which I see as unlikely).

Isn’t it libertarians who are always saying that liberty arises from the culture, that it cannot be arbitrarily implanted? Isn’t this one of the libertarian cases against the Iraq War (i.e. Lew Rockwell’s “Liberty cannot be imposed from above”)? Why should we now believe that massive immigration from a culture that has NEVER upheld libertarian values to change overnight? Hispanic culture has always been very statist, and that cultural viewpoint will be carried at the ballot box. You are more likely to get marxist values from massive hispanic migration than libertarian ones. What remains of our Founding Libertarian Principles will be “Mexified” out of our society.

You also strike me as a libertarian with no plan of action. Just oppose statism in all forms, even if a lesser form of statism is rooting out a stronger form of statism, eh? You have no plan. Hoppe has a plan, Rockwell has a plan. You do not. Perhaps it is a prerequisite if you reside in Berzerkeley to be reflexively anti-western in orientation.

Go Bears, by the way.

bstender September 26, 2006 at 12:27 am

Any economist will tell you that the reason people have property rights AT ALL is because of scarcity. All #1 is saying is that if there was no scarcity, there would be no property. Why should I own something if I could just conjur up whatever I wanted by blinking my eyes? It may be a reductio ad absurdum argument, but it proves my point

nothing is proven by that statement, (even if you could get an economist to say it!;) i see a few problems; the first is that it is a regime, not a natural law. and your premise fails to explain why property laws are more advanced and elaborate in the richest of nations and insignificant in poor societies rather than the converse. or why people routinely give away their own food and other critical goods in emergency conditions of actual scarcity. and it also fails to explain the expansion of such laws to protect one’s things far beyond anyone’s concievable needs.

i say again, the need for strong and elaborate property laws, (and elaborate apologies for those laws,) are tools to keep the peace, peace that is under threat NOT because have-nots are unable to percieve this so-called self-evident reality of ubiquitous scarcity, but because of basic inequity, injustice, and artificial scarcity made possible by this legal device.

and furthermore, the notion of ‘scarcity’ is a bogey. most everyone can relate to conditions of real scarcity, and though almost everyone who has lived through such an experience has done so through cooperative effort and personal fortitude rather than through property laws, it is nevertheless effective to point to it as justification for permitting completely unrelated exploitation to occur, (and more subtly unnerving than the threat posed by the thief) it is an apology for greed, more than anything else i believe. much like the threat of terrorism is used today to justify completely unrelated Imperialism.

and also, btw, i don’t think that having the State own all of the property solves more problems. we’re all living at the collective level of our own incompetence, to quote Peter. maybe we’ll find new better ways to coexist, or maybe we’ll just go extinct…odds are running against us at present by my book, swearing allegiance to “Almighty Property” being a critical error.

Anthony Gregory September 26, 2006 at 1:24 am

Nick Bradley:

“You are from the Bay Area, as am I. Third Generation or longer hispanic families aren’t exactly fluent in Spanish anymore. Their culture is American.”

There are thousands of more recent Hispanics in the Bay Area who speak both languages.

“It is the immigrants that have came to the US since the ’65 Immigration Act (Thank you, LBJ). . .”

What about the immigration before the first national immigration laws—at least, the ones not directed at the Chinese—which all came during the Progressive Era? It was not classical liberalism that gave us the first federal restrictions. It was socialists. Going back to 1964 isn’t the answer. I say repeal the whole 20th century when it comes to domestic leviathan, including the immigration controls that are part of the welfare state.

“. . . that are creating the biculturalism that is afflicting ‘Mexifornia’ and other parts of the country.”

California is a Spanish word. A hybrid between it and “Mexico” does nothing to illustrate biculturalism. California, like most of America, is not a homocultural nation. It never was.

“I don’t buy this ‘border crossed us’ gibberish from the Chicano brownshirts at MeCHA. Those who made such claims clearly ‘crossed a border’, a border that has clearly been in place since the 1850s.”

Sure, and people should get over the nationalism on both sides of the imaginary line, but if we are going to get collectivist and support such lines, we must at least recognize that it was established by Polk’s wholly unjust war of aggression.

“What is it with the opposition to a wall along the border? $1m – $2m dollars a mile for 2,500 miles. A few billion dollars equals many times over savings in the first year alone. It is not akin to a new government project, it is akin to fixing a leaky faucet.”

A government that can’t even keep drugs away from people in prisons is going to seal off 2,500 miles, and you think this is “akin to fixing a leaky faucet”?

Well, I suppose the state will implement this intervention just as you expect it. . . .

“The only way you could oppose such a project is if it is your hope that so many illegals (and legals) enter the country that the welfare state collapses as a result (which I see as unlikely).”

I could also oppose it if I simply do not consider it the proper role of the state to nationalize migration over the border at a cost of coercively appropriated money.

“Isn’t it libertarians who are always saying that liberty arises from the culture, that it cannot be arbitrarily implanted? Isn’t this one of the libertarian cases against the Iraq War (i.e. Lew Rockwell’s ‘Liberty cannot be imposed from above’)? Why should we now believe that massive immigration from a culture that has NEVER upheld libertarian values to change overnight?”

I didn’t ever imply that mass immigration will bring about libertarianism. Do you think shutting it out will?

“Hispanic culture has always been very statist, and that cultural viewpoint will be carried at the ballot box.”

So has American culture, for goodness sakes. You are speaking as though America were a libertarian country to guard against a horde of statists.

“You are more likely to get marxist values from massive hispanic migration than libertarian ones. What remains of our Founding Libertarian Principles will be ‘Mexified’ out of our society.”

Latin America adopted Marxism from European culture, not vice versa.

“You also strike me as a libertarian with no plan of action. Just oppose statism in all forms, even if a lesser form of statism is rooting out a stronger form of statism, eh? You have no plan. Hoppe has a plan, Rockwell has a plan.”

What plan is that? On immigration, Rockwell favors denationalization, but does not seem to favor the wall:

“The second point is that unfortunately the people who are advocating border control tend to want to put businessmen in jail for hiring an illegal. They want to give more power to the federal prosecutors, more supervision by the federal government, put more people in jail, more cops, more spies and so forth. You know, I don’t think that’s the way either. I must say I’m not entirely sure what to do. . . .

“I worry about the idea that we should further empower the federal government. I don’t think there’s any excuse ever to give the federal government more power for any reason whatsoever! I don’t care what the excuse is. We need to be focused on decommissioning them.”

My greater plan, by the way, is to do all I can to spread the libertarian ethic, for only by withdrawing our consent from the state can we ever bring about liberty. I think while critiques of mass immigration in the context of the welfare state are not without merit, immigration national statism is a deviation from the libertarian ethic, and not useful in the long term. I have no expectations for a quick, short-term solution.

“You do not [have a plan]. Perhaps it is a prerequisite if you reside in Berzerkeley to be reflexively anti-western in orientation.”

Yup, that’s me. I’m terribly Anti-Western. Heck, Berkeley is so far to the West, it’s practically part of the East!

When you criticize U.S. foreign policy, is it anti-Western? No. And neither is criticism of U.S. interventionist immigration policy, which I see as one of the tragic developments of the rise of national collectivism in the 20th century.

“Go Bears, by the way.”

Thanks, I suppose. : )

Peter September 26, 2006 at 1:54 am

and your premise fails to explain why property laws are more advanced and elaborate in the richest of nations and insignificant in poor societies rather than the converse

No it doesn’t. It seems that way to you only because you’re reversing cause and effect. The richest of nations are the richest of nations because they have more highly developed property rights. Poor nations are as poor as they are because they don’t.

Nick Bradley September 26, 2006 at 4:31 am

Anthony Gregory,

Nowhere in Rockwell’s Interview did he oppose a wall. He is more upset with crackdowns on employers, and he is right. Why should the government crack down on employers who are hiring the same workers the government sibsidizes to come here in the first place???

I cannot find any past statements by Rockwell opposing a wall.

In “Bush Says: Put up a Wall”, Rockwell attacks US calls for foreign states to control their own emigres, ala East Germany. But that is not what we are talking about here. We are talking about defending borders. So, later in the article Rockwell makes the following statement:

“Hence, if the US wants less Mexican immigration, it is not up to the Mexican government to crack skulls to prevent people from leaving. It is up to the US to prevent entry. So too with regard to every country in the world.”

Sounds like a pretty good endorsement of immigration restriction to me.

You are quite aware of Hoppe’s view on the issue of immigration.

Rep. Ron Paul belives that we must physically secure our borders.

Arguments against a wall usually employ lame historical comparisons. Many use the Berlin Wall analogy, even though it is erroneous because the Berlin Wall was built by E Germany to prevent emigration, not by the West to prevent immigration. The Maginot Line is also used, but there are many roblems with this comparison. The Maginot line defeated NOT because it was assaulted and defeated, but because the Germans simply WENT AROUND it through Belgium. That would be like saying a US-mexico wall doesn’t work afte ronly building it across california and seeing all the immigrants pouring through Arizona.

And fences DO work to stop immigration. A 10-mile border fence near San Diego has dramatically reduced illegal immigration to California. However, Arizona’s influx of illegals has risen sharply. A wall across the whole border would fix the problem.

TGGP September 26, 2006 at 8:16 am

Anyone who thinks the government can’t stop Mexican immigration needs to look up the offensively named but nevertheless succesful “Operation Wetback”. They aren’t stopping anything now because Bush and the high-ranking members of the party DON’T WANT TO. This is the issue in which party leaders and the broader American people diverge most on. This also means it is more likely that politicians will be forced by their constituents to do something about,as is unfortunately not the case with much of the welfare state.

Yes, relatively speaking the United States is a rather libertarian country, and Mexico is not. Look at the Fraser Institutes Economic Freedom of the World index and you’ll see the U.S much higher. That is why we are wealthier and Mexicans want to come here. Does this mean those Mexicans believe in capitalism? NO! Yes, it strikes you and me as stupid that they do not, but that is unfortunately the case.

Why should I give a flying one whether or not Polk’s war was justified? No one around back then is still alive. If Mexico thinks the territory rightly belongs to them, they can suck eggs. Until their government gets its act together to the extent that its people stop fleeing it, I don’t see how there is any sense in giving them more territory and people to control.

870873 September 26, 2006 at 8:35 am

Under Spanish rule California’s population was extremely sparse. What we think of as California is a creation of Anglo settlement from the eastern US. Think Steinbeck, not Garcia Marquez. And there is very little comparison between the coolies of the 19th century and the current polyglot cooked up in the civil rights era.

Also, criticisms of nationalism are ignoring a tidal wave of history. People will always connect with their own over others, and the fortunate trend worldwide is the devolution of the multicultural empires into their constituent nations. Do you want to answer to local patriarchs competing for net tax producers or do you want to answer to Bill Clinton and his globalist corporate backers?

Anthony Gregory September 26, 2006 at 9:51 am

Nick Bradley, this position would indicate at least some hesitation about the wall:

“I worry about the idea that we should further empower the federal government. I don’t think there’s any excuse ever to give the federal government more power for any reason whatsoever! I don’t care what the excuse is. We need to be focused on decommissioning them.”

This statement here appears more to be a generic statement that immigration limits are the responsibility of the countries into which people are immigrating, not from which they are emigrating:

“Hence, if the US wants less Mexican immigration, it is not up to the Mexican government to crack skulls to prevent people from leaving. It is up to the US to prevent entry. So too with regard to every country in the world.”

And there’s this statement: “In the meantime, it does no good to keep calling for a crackdown on immigration. . . . But most people are unwilling to make these distinctions. They see immigration as the problem or the solution, whereas the real problem is the state and the only solution is freedom.”

You say, “Arguments against a wall usually employ lame historical comparisons.”

Well, my arguments don’t. But let me ask you this. Do you trust the state? Do you trust it to guard your liberty, and not violate it? Because it seems to me obvious that any government wall that can possibly keep all the immigrants out is also able to keep everyone in. You trust this government with that kind of infrastructure? I think it’s very dangerous.

Anthony Gregory September 26, 2006 at 9:54 am

“Why should I give a flying one whether or not Polk’s war was justified? No one around back then is still alive. If Mexico thinks the territory rightly belongs to them, they can suck eggs. Until their government gets its act together to the extent that its people stop fleeing it, I don’t see how there is any sense in giving them more territory and people to control.”

Personally, I don’t think any state should rule the area in question, U.S. or Mexican. If the result of having the government remove itself is more people of Mexican descent in the region, then I suppose that is one result of freedom that those of us who love freedom must tolerate.

Reactionary September 26, 2006 at 10:32 am

“If the result of having the government remove itself is more people of Mexican descent in the region, then I suppose that is one result of freedom that those of us who love freedom must tolerate.”

If you’re lucky, you’ll get a fascist Norte Mexico where the Spaniards still run things. If not, you’ll get Venezuela and Cesar Chavez’s birthday will be a national holiday.

Anthony Gregory September 26, 2006 at 10:41 am

“If you’re lucky, you’ll get a fascist Norte Mexico where the Spaniards still run things. If not, you’ll get Venezuela and Cesar Chavez’s birthday will be a national holiday.”

Man, I sure would hate to live in a country where we celebrate the birthday of a tyrant. Good thing none of our revered presidents have been nearly so ruthless, corrupt and dictatorial as Chavez.

Reactionary September 26, 2006 at 11:16 am

Anthony,

Is your argument against closed borders that the US is already authoritarian? Do you think that will be any different after the importation of 20 million pan-Hispanic nationalists?

Nick Bradley September 26, 2006 at 11:17 am

Anthony Gregory,

No, I do not trust the state. That is why most of the Federal Establishment is against the construction of a Wall, and in FAVOR of migrant worker visas! IT is private citizens and “militias” such as the minutemen that support a wall. The Minutemen are building their own fence, with private money. And who is standing in the way of the project? The US government!

The feds have stated that the border is a federal issue and that the minutemen have no right to protect it.

Check out their project: http://borderfenceproject.com/

The Border Fence Project claims that it can build fencing for $5 a foot, equipped with electronic sensors, cameras, etc. It is being built with donated labor and money.

Is it “un-libertarian” to support a mild statist program in opposition to a massive statist program? I think not. The Corporate Right and the Multicultural Left both support massive immgration for thier own purposes. The Multicultural Left gets a nice big proletariat to keep them in power for the foreseeable future, and the Corporate Right gets cheap labor and can pass on costs to the taxpayer. IT is the same reason that big corporations support socialize medicine: They can pass off big costs to the government while stifling smaller competition at the same time. They currently support the corporatist health care system that subsidizes employer-provided health care; the bigger the company, the cheaper plan they can provide per employee. Advantage: Big Business.

Nick Bradley September 26, 2006 at 11:24 am

Reactionery,

“Do you think that will be any different after the importation of 20 million pan-Hispanic nationalists?”

A very good point. Do open-border libertarians believe that the US will become MORE libertarian or LESS libertarian after tens of millions of immigrants from Latin America flood the US?

If somewhore believes it will be MORE libertarian, I would like to hear their reasoning.

I guess, from a libertarian standpoint, one could support massive immigration if it would cause secession.

Nick Bradley September 26, 2006 at 11:35 am

Oops, I meant “someone”; I don’t know how a typo that bad got in there :)

Reactionary September 26, 2006 at 11:39 am

“I guess, from a libertarian standpoint, one could support massive immigration if it would cause secession.”

That’s the theory any way. I don’t think we’ll be so lucky. I think they’ll just elbow in at the social democratic trough along with everybody else. And with a global tax base for the welfare state to draw upon to sustain itself into perpetuity, there will be nowhere to hide.

Anthony Gregory September 26, 2006 at 11:39 am

“Anthony,

Is your argument against closed borders that the US is already authoritarian?”

No. My argument is that immigration controls are themselves statist, and are thus tainted by all the problems of other government programs—they are coercively funded, centrally planned, involve force against innocents, and will have terrible unintended consequences.

Anthony Gregory September 26, 2006 at 11:46 am

Anthony Gregory,

“No, I do not trust the state. That is why most of the Federal Establishment is against the construction of a Wall, and in FAVOR of migrant worker visas! IT is private citizens and “militias” such as the minutemen that support a wall. The Minutemen are building their own fence, with private money. And who is standing in the way of the project? The US government!”

If ever the establishment does turn in favor of an immigration control, you can also bet it won’t be for the sake of liberty. Why trust these politicians to change their nature and do something you think will reduce their power?

“The feds have stated that the border is a federal issue and that the minutemen have no right to protect it.”

Certainly, they have a right to protect their private property. But the Minutemen emphasize that they are more about alerting the feds about illegal crossings than they are about using force to protect their own property. Also, they were among the big voices for the REAL ID Act. No thank you.

“The Border Fence Project claims that it can build fencing for $5 a foot, equipped with electronic sensors, cameras, etc. It is being built with donated labor and money.”

People should be able to build whatever fences they want on their private property. But what if there are people along the border who want to use their property as a gateway to invite people in? The feds would stop them.

“Is it “un-libertarian” to support a mild statist program in opposition to a massive statist program?”

Yes, but I don’t consider a federal war on immigration to be a “minor statist program.” In fact, I consider it more egregious than any realistically expected boost in welfare statism.

“I think not. The Corporate Right and the Multicultural Left both support massive immgration for thier own purposes. The Multicultural Left gets a nice big proletariat to keep them in power for the foreseeable future, and the Corporate Right gets cheap labor and can pass on costs to the taxpayer.”

Bug Business doesn’t want them all to be legal, though. If they were all legal, there would be no power relation. The immigrants wouldn’t feel as stuck with their employers, and could ask for higher wages. There would be more of an equillibrium achieved in the cost of unskilled foreign vs. native labor.

“IT is the same reason that big corporations support socialize medicine: They can pass off big costs to the government while stifling smaller competition at the same time. They currently support the corporatist health care system that subsidizes employer-provided health care; the bigger the company, the cheaper plan they can provide per employee. Advantage: Big Business.”

This is not a bad analogy. But the answer is not more government interventions against Wal-Mart and its employees. It is to get rid of government healthcare.

Anthony Gregory September 26, 2006 at 11:49 am

“Do open-border libertarians believe that the US will become MORE libertarian or LESS libertarian after tens of millions of immigrants from Latin America flood the US?”

I’m not a utilitarian. I oppose immigration controls because they themselves violate libertarian sensibility and principle, distort the market, and put power in the hands of the state. I also oppose censoring Marxists and conservatives, even though there might be negative consequences to their freedom of advocacy. I oppose initiating force.

Reactionary September 26, 2006 at 12:05 pm

“But the answer is not more government interventions against Wal-Mart and its employees. It is to get rid of government healthcare.”

Which, notwithstanding arguments on principle, gets us back to the heart of the problem: how to get rid of the welfare state when it can always just import more constituents and enlarge its tax base.

“But what if there are people along the border who want to use their property as a gateway to invite people in?”

Then they and their invitees will have to pay adjoining and intervening landowners for the increased load and for rights of passage, which costs are currently offloaded on others. There is no right to immigrate, nor even a right to invite and accept immigrants.

Anthony Gregory September 26, 2006 at 12:14 pm

“Which, notwithstanding arguments on principle, gets us back to the heart of the problem: how to get rid of the welfare state when it can always just import more constituents and enlarge its tax base.”

I don’t understand. Are you saying the welfare state is harder to repeal the more people there are, whether they are paying into it or pulling out of it?

“Then they and their invitees will have to pay adjoining and intervening landowners for the increased load and for rights of passage, which costs are currently offloaded on others. There is no right to immigrate, nor even a right to invite and accept immigrants.”

If there is no right to immigrate, there is also no right to have children or do anything else that has such externalities. There is no right to get obese because you will put more stress on the roads and take up more space. There is no right to have a bigger car. There is no right to smoke cigarettes in your backyard. Some intervention—the establishment of commons and the welfare state—becomes an excuse for future interventions to limit the burden on the commons and the welfare state. The rationale for immigration controls ends up being nothing less than the rationale for social democracy.

Anthony Gregory September 26, 2006 at 12:17 pm

Sorry, I meant to write that if there’s not even a right to invite immigrants, then there is no right to have children. The objections are similar: “Hey! Not fair! We already set up these commons, and there he is bringing in newcomers.”

Reactionary September 26, 2006 at 12:20 pm

And my last sentence above is I think the point that open-borders libertarians are missing. There is no such thing as a right to travel, which is why you have to erect an armed bureaucracy to protect this made-up right. It is in the very nature of land ownership to be exclusive and discriminatory: it’s how you maintain the value of your property. It is really no step at all from a private corporation decreeing, even over the objections of minority shareholders, who is and is not allowed on the property and a polity doing the same thing.

Reactionary September 26, 2006 at 12:39 pm

Anthony,

You are correct: there is no right to impose externalities on others. Since you impose externalities just by virtue of existing, societies have to come up with rules to figure out which externalities are punished and which are ignored. This is why libertarianism is not up to the task of dealing with reality. Its principles can be carried through only in a hypothetical world where nobody need impose any externalities on others. Since we’re dealing with reality, not theory, the libertarian argument for open borders is basically that their externalities are the ones that should be given deference.

“Are you saying the welfare state is harder to repeal the more people there are, whether they are paying into it or pulling out of it?”

No. I said what I said, but objections aside, yes, because in general people, always and everywhere, want something for nothing and the expanded economic activity postpones the welfare state’s day of reckoning, and will probably do so indefinitely.

Anthony Gregory September 26, 2006 at 1:18 pm

“And my last sentence above is I think the point that open-borders libertarians are missing. There is no such thing as a right to travel, which is why you have to erect an armed bureaucracy to protect this made-up right.”

What do you mean? You are the one advocating an armed bureuacracy — an immigration control agency. Before the immigration policies of the late 19th and early 20th century, America pretty much had free immigration, without any bureuacracy necessary to ensure it.

“It is in the very nature of land ownership to be exclusive and discriminatory: it’s how you maintain the value of your property. It is really no step at all from a private corporation decreeing, even over the objections of minority shareholders, who is and is not allowed on the property and a polity doing the same thing.”

Is is is not a step, it is a gigantic leap! Bosses also have a right to drug test you — and yet, libertarians oppose the government’s efforts against drugs. They also are expected to give you money in exchange for a service — and yet, libertarians oppose welfare and national service alike. Private communities can charge a fee for maintaining the commons or providing services — and yet, libertarians oppose taxes. The jump from private communities to state communities, from private rules to government rules, is the jump from freedom to communism.

bstender September 26, 2006 at 1:18 pm

Anthony Gregory writes:
Good thing none of our revered presidents have been nearly so ruthless, corrupt and dictatorial as Chavez.

this is sarcasm i trust…?

Reactionary September 26, 2006 at 2:09 pm

Anthony,

Prior to the 20th century, there were no civil rights laws and very little public welfare. Prior to the 20th century, the technology for transporting large numbers of people vast distances did not exist without the sponsorship of imperial powers. There is simply no comparing the situation then with immigration post-1965. By the way, what is your position on the 1965 Immigration Reform Act? Do you think it limited or expanded the scope of government?

Anthony Gregory September 26, 2006 at 3:28 pm

My understanding is the act neither clearly limited nor expanded the scope of government, but rather altered a policy in the domain of an existing government power. The essential scope of the state in regard to immigration policy remained the same. It would be similar to the government reducing penalties for marijuana possession while increasing them for marijuana dealing. The basic power is the same.

Nick Bradley September 26, 2006 at 3:46 pm

Anthony Gregory,

I really don’t see the question of “more or less liberty” as a utilitarian one. Utilitarian would be more along the lines of “what would grow the econmy the most?” If the question of “more or less liberty” is a utilitarian one, then you might as well state that the US under the Articles of Confederation, arguably the closest we’ve ever came to anarcho-capitalism on a grand scale since medieval Iceland, is no different that the Pol Pot’s Cambodia in the grand scheme of things; after all, they are both statist, no? There has to be some shades of gray when examining these issues. One cannot simply state they oppose all forms of statism when a complex (post hunter-gatherer) stateless society has ever existed outside of Medieval Iceland or ancient Ireland.

Anthony Gregory September 26, 2006 at 4:59 pm

“I really don’t see the question of ‘more or less liberty’ as a utilitarian one. Utilitarian would be more along the lines of “what would grow the econmy the most?” If the question of ‘more or less liberty’ is a utilitarian one, then you might as well state that the US under the Articles of Confederation, arguably the closest we’ve ever came to anarcho-capitalism on a grand scale since medieval Iceland, is no different that the Pol Pot’s Cambodia in the grand scheme of things; after all, they are both statist, no?”

It was far from anarcho-capitalist under the Articles, but of course it was lightyears better than Pol Pot’s cambodia. The question is, do you support creating a small government, because it might forsetall the creation of a big government? Do you kill 100 people to save 200, or engage in aggressive war and kill innocent people to liberate others? The libertarian answer is no, even if indeed the result of the initiated force is less aggression in the long term.

In other words, I don’t think we should ever support trading a little bit of liberty here for more liberty there. It’s a dangerous approach to violate libertarian principle in order to protect it.

Nick Bradley September 26, 2006 at 6:03 pm

Anthony Gregory,

“It’s a dangerous approach to violate libertarian principle in order to protect it.”

What libertarian principles are being violated in this case? The right of a foreigner to gain inbridled access to US public property? The right to subsidies by illegal immigrants? The right of employers to hire labor at below-market wages, below market due to government intervention???

Anthony Gregory September 27, 2006 at 1:53 pm

“What libertarian principles are being violated in this case?”

The same libertarian principle that forbids government agents from rounding up and deporting you or me for the crime of standing in the public sphere, or having used government property as a thoroughfare to get where we happen to be right now. If immigrants don’t have a right to access public property, neither does anyone else. If the implication is the state can forbid immigrants from using it, there’s no reason it couldn’t forbid others from doing so.

Also, there’s another libertarian principle at steak—the same libertarian principle that precludes welfare programs—that is, the principle that taxation is theft. If it is wrong to steal from some to give to others, it’s wrong to steal from some to build a wall or fund a border patrol. There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Immigration Control.

And then there’s the general libertarian principle: Don’t trust the state. Don’t give it power. Don’t make exceptions just because there’s something you’d really like to see done.

Anthony Gregory September 27, 2006 at 2:47 pm

I wrote, “there’s another libertarian principle at steak.”

Sorry. I must have food on the mind.

Nick Bradley September 27, 2006 at 6:51 pm

Anthony Gregory,

“If immigrants don’t have a right to access public property, neither does anyone else.”

I don’t know if that’s necessarily true. Hoppe argures that the Government doesn’t own property, but is the caretaker of the collective expropriated assets of the taxpayers. Hoppe believes this gives government, as long as were are still living in a statist world, the right to regulate access to public property by non-citizens.

“Also, there’s another libertarian principle at steak—the same libertarian principle that precludes welfare programs—that is, the principle that taxation is theft.”

I too feel that taxation is theft. However, it would prevent further theft in this case. This presents a conundrum for libertarians that I feel is not discussed enough.

“And then there’s the general libertarian principle: Don’t trust the state. Don’t give it power. Don’t make exceptions just because there’s something you’d really like to see done.”

Agreed. This applies well when it comes to morals and social norms. But what about when it comes to reducing current intervention by the state?

Anthony Gregory September 28, 2006 at 11:12 am

Nick Bradley:

“I don’t know if that’s necessarily true. Hoppe argures that the Government doesn’t own property, but is the caretaker of the collective expropriated assets of the taxpayers. Hoppe believes this gives government, as long as were are still living in a statist world, the right to regulate access to public property by non-citizens.”

So who decides? The taxpayers, or the citizens? How is their decision to be expressed by the state? The market can allow people to express different decisions, but the state can’t. Are you advocating democracy on the issue?

If it’s just taxpayers, why them? What about people who pay little in taxes but who are greater victims of the state than the average taxpayer? What about the fact that many net taxpayers actually make their profits because regulations is tilted in their direction? Heck, if we give weight to the bigger taxpayers — big business — they’d probably want immigrants anyway. And what about children? They aren’t net taxpayers. Do they have no rights to walk on public roads?

The point is, we can’t pretend like the state is the market, no matter how much we might want to. And we shouldn’t let it police “its” property on our behalf, as if it were a private owner. Because it’s not.

“I too feel that taxation is theft. However, it would prevent further theft in this case. This presents a conundrum for libertarians that I feel is not discussed enough.”

That’s utilitarian, the ends-justify-the-means reasoning. By similar logic, we can justify nearly any statism.

“Agreed. This applies well when it comes to morals and social norms. But what about when it comes to reducing current intervention by the state?”

Reductions in state intervention are good. Immigration controls are themselves an intervention. Trusting them is like trusting antitrust law as a weapon against the excesses of corporate welfare. Remove interventions already in place. Never add new ones to reduce the harm of others.

Will Jolly May 11, 2007 at 6:41 pm

What most people on here seem to be ignoring is the fact that illegal immigrants are not eligible for welfare. When Clinton signed his “welfare reform” bill in 1996, he explicitly exempted “illegal” immigrants from recieving any form of assistance with the exception of K-12 education and emergency medical care (the denial of which is illegal to anyone under any circumstances). All this bleating about immigrants swelling the welfare rolls is way overblown. The vast majority of illegal immigrants are gainfully employed and, according to one study, two-thirds of all “illegal” immigrants pay, at the very least, Social Security, Medicare, AND personal income taxes. Most immigrants don’t sign up for welfare because (A) they generally don’t know how and B) they’re too afraid of getting deported for being here “illegally”. Anti-”illegal” immigrant hysteria is BULLSHIT!

Will Jolly May 11, 2007 at 6:41 pm

What most people on here seem to be ignoring is the fact that illegal immigrants are not eligible for welfare. When Clinton signed his “welfare reform” bill in 1996, he explicitly exempted “illegal” immigrants from recieving any form of assistance with the exception of K-12 education and emergency medical care (the denial of which is illegal to anyone under any circumstances). All this bleating about immigrants swelling the welfare rolls is way overblown. The vast majority of illegal immigrants are gainfully employed and, according to one study, two-thirds of all “illegal” immigrants pay, at the very least, Social Security, Medicare, AND personal income taxes. Most immigrants don’t sign up for welfare because (A) they generally don’t know how and B) they’re too afraid of getting deported for being here “illegally”. Anti-”illegal” immigrant hysteria is BULLSHIT!

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: