I have wanted to jump into this for awhile with it being in the news (Bless your heart, Mr Trump) and all, but in my typical procrastinatory fashion, I put it off. No more! First, a brief history of my views on immigration. I have been on both sides and I have said truthful things both ways. There are some uncomfortable truths on both sides.
When I started out on the issue, I was still infected with socialist views, so much so, that I was a bit harder on immigration than most socialists. I probably would love Bernie Sanders had I remained infected. At that time, I was opposed to illegal immigration and wasnt fond of even legal immigrants from the stereotypical areas either. I even once said that America was meant to be a black and white cookie with yellow sprinkles (brown people need not apply).
However, if people were willing to come legally and learn English, and all that, I didnt really care. When the SB 1070 debate came out, I shocked quite a few conservative friends by vigorously defending it. A few months later (my fifth anniversary just passed), I became a libertarian. My views on immigration didnt change, nor did some of my other views. Economics flew fast, but I suppose Ive always been a social conservative.
It was not until a traumatizing incident when entering the United States from Canada with a close friend who was denied entry that I changed. Retrospectively, the passion of that incident took over my rational thought. I came out in full support of fully open borders. No one should dare ask for papers when crossing an imaginary line. Over time, that evolved further to a point where I would say that we should deport socialists who dont work and welcome immigrants who would love to work. This is the crux of the libertarian argument, and it makes a good point.
So why did I go back? Well, I read some things and the old nativist came back. I have always been a critic of libertarian hyperindividualism; groups exist, was something I would say (that should be a post itself). Indeed, they do. Humans group up, whether ideologically (Freestaters) or familially (Jews) or something else. These bonds become secure to varying degrees to the point that they sometimes even disregard individualism that might be better for specific people. An example would be when the Free State Project kicked out a man who was very libertarian because they were uncomfortable about a few of his views. Their in-group priorities corrupted their view of the larger picture. While I disagree with the decision, this actually served two good purposes: one, the formulation of a group (freestaters); and two, it demonstrates that groups exist and are inevitable.
The issue is that groups are different from each other. There are certain groups here in America, and other groups south of the border. The individuals part of these groups are at least partially a product of these groups. No one is an independent automaton. Recognizing this makes it a bit easier to understand the need for immigration control. And even a basic semblance of control can be supported by the most hard core open borders supporters. A friend stated “There is zero moral justification to deny entrance to the country to anyone who’s not a runaway from justice for crimes against life, liberty and property.” A true open borders advocate would prefer to wait until the immigrants are about to commit another crime to deter them. And thats where the insanity begins.
Having a wide open border, especially with a country vastly divergent in standard of living, is a recipe for disaster. People from there will want to come here, and that is reasonable and rational. If it were just the specific workers, it would not be so bad, but our family reunification policy ensures that wives and children and parents and siblings and cousins and uncles and nephews and worse can come as well. Often, these people dont have the same hard work ethic, or have connections to crime and drug trade. Or they have nothing to do and decide to rape 14 year old girls.
However, there is even a problem with even letting in workers. We already have in excess of 100 million able bodied people who dont work. Immigration proponents say that immigrants take jobs people her dont want. Well, the reason they dont want the job is because its easier to fill out a welfare form. Eliminate welfare and those people will go pick fruit. A friend once told me that we do need poor, low IQ immigrants to do mundane tasks. Yet, here in New Hampshire, I have met pretty white girls who are at least average intelligence, cleaning bathroom stalls (The state is 97% white, the city is 82% white). Myself, I stock shelves in a supermarket. Is it a shitty job? Yes, but for now its a job until I get my own business together. In a world devoid of farm hands, I am open to farm work. There is something to be proud of working with your hands and providing food. Ive always romanticized farming. Lets not forget that Israel was built by high IQ farmhands (more on Israel later, and the Zionists also did hire immigrant Arabs, ironically causing the problems of later).
Open immigration is both unnecessary and harmful, but lets look at it from a libertarian perspective, because a libertarian can still rightly say “who cares?” in response to the above. Workers should be able to work, while guns and security systems can deter crime. What follows will demonstrate the idea is suicidal and reveals perhaps a fatal flaw in libertarianism.
California has become a disaster as of late, with a vastly overstretched government finance, extremely high housing costs, overcrowded prisons, and a water shortage. All of this points to one thing: overpopulation. Now, overpopulation isnt the Malthusian horror we are taught about, but it does cause growing pains when population grows faster than a society can absorb and assimilate. In the past 35 years, the population there grew by 67%. The United States, meanwhile, grew by 42%; and the Amish grew by 345% (they have their own land problems). This causes a strain on the system, even if the system shouldnt exist. Immigrants, legal and illegal from south of California come from poor health, do not have good income, and drive up demand for bilingual services and schools. This costs a lot of money. Its no wonder that the state is in trouble, while other socialist states with fewer immigrants are faring less bad (see Oregon, Washington, and Vermont).
They also vote for social programs and more welfare. Or if they dont, their children do. Obviously, the programs should not exist, but we still live in a democracy and not many libertarians are keen on the Pinochet Option. They end up voting 5-1 and worse for the Democrats, and while the Republicans arent libertarian, they are somewhat better. The immigrants and their children pressure both parties towards socialism. Obamacare would not have passed without the support of these voters.
Conveniently, Pew Research has polled four libertarian issues among Hispanics, native and foreign. They found that while 57% of US born Hispanics support marijuana legalization, only 27% of foreign born Hispanics support it. For whites, 52% support. Regarding gun rights, only 39% of whites want to restrict it, while 59% of native Hispanics, and 82(!)% of foreign Hispanics want restrictions. And then lets talk about minimum wage: only 67% of whites want to raise it, while 84% of Hispanics do (there was no separation for birthplace). Abortion is the fourth issue and Hispanics are more opposed than whites. Take that how you want: either as more proof they are anti-liberty, or proof that they are (they value life).
Welcoming millions of people who vote 5 to 1 against liberty is pure insanity and suicide. There is no way to argue around this. Some libertarians and so-called conservatives will stick their fingers in their ears and continue to shout “WHO CARES”, or somehow insist that those who voted for the PRI in Mexico, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, Morales in Bolivia, and Chavez/Maduro in Venezuela will magically become libertarian capitalists here.
Perhaps we can educate and enlighten these poor, low IQ immigrants in the virtues of libertad! In between picking fruit and producing babies, maybe they will read some Bastiat, or perhaps their own countryman, Faustino Ballvé. But by the time we educate them, there are already new immigrants to push things back. As the past century has shown, democracy is a long march towards socialism.
The solution of course, is fairly simple, and is not really that anti-libertarian. Indeed, it costs less to build a fence on the border and maintain it than all the direct services that illegal immigrants use, not to mention what they vote for, and the crime they cause. Some claim that all that is needed to thwart a fence is a shovel or a ladder. Israel had a similar problem in the late 2000s and early 2010s, with thousands of “infiltrators” from Eritrea and South Sudan invaded and just sat around on welfare, raped and robbed, and brought hell to Tel Aviv in a way Arabs never could. Finally, the government had a fence built, and immigration dropped 99.5%. A similar fence was built with the territories in the early 2000s, and terrorism dropped by 99.5% as well. I guess Africans and Arabs dont know what ladders are. As is said, good fences make good neighbors. Once the wall is built, we can talk about other relevant issues (deportation vs amnesty vs status quo).
What makes this all odd is that libertarians usually have no problem with borders on a personal basis. There, they open up to unfettered totalitarianism, as long as its on private property. Seriously speaking, private property is just a bunch of imaginary lines. Indeed, the communists argue this as a reason to abolish land property, and also apply it to national borders. Libertarians, for some reason, still apply it to national property lines despite the insanity of it. A trespass is a trespass. Its just as wrong on your land as it is on the vast frontier. In a libertarian society, there would be no commons at the border and the border would likely be heavily fortified. It wouldnt exactly be a border; it would be where group A tapers off and group B tapers on. A or B may find it a good idea to build some fences.
Now, certainly, there is a freedom of movement concern. I should know, considering the incident I mentioned. However, it is worth noting that Canadians dont pose as much of a threat. I actually do support a largely open border there, despite the fact that their immigration system is a bit nuts, and a few terrorists have crossed from there. Unfortunately, we still have the government and all its programs around. And the immigrants who mow our lawns and pick our fruit like what that government does. Its pure insanity to continue to allow them in until that can be wrestled under control. Perhaps then, when government is a minarchy, or nonarchy, we can talk about welcoming them in. But by then, maybe they wont be so interested.
Ron Paul on Immigration and Borders
Ron Paul on Immigration and the Welfare State
¡Adios, America! by Ann Coulter — I understand she is not a popular figure in our community, but this book provides a wealth of what statistics and information on illegal immigration and even legal immigration that I could never do justice to. Coulter goes into the history of post-1965 immigration and policy since then. She also documents that the 11 million number has been bandied about for over a decade, which is impossible. She speculates that the number is at least 30 millions. She also contradicts claims that immigrants, even illegals, cause less crime than natives. Indeed, prison statistics suggest that even legal immigrants are more criminal. The book is well worth a read, and is available for download in certain quarters, or is probably at a local library.
There are several misconceptions when it comes to immigration. I live in Texas and do criminal defense. Obviously, when an illegal immigrant crosses the border they have made an illegal entry and are in violation of the law. Once they are here, they want absolutely nothing to do with law enforcement because of the risk and expense they incur from getting caught. Statistically, if you take away the initial crime of illegal entry, they do in fact have a lower crime rate than citizens. The joke here is that if you see someone driving the speed limit or slightly below, it’s because they must be here illegally. I don’t know where Ann Coulter gets her stats because it is not the reality on the ground and runs counter to the stats I’ve seen. You can get a pretty firm number based on ICE statistics, but keep in mind, many of these crimes are simply illegal re-entry. I stay clear of the stats manufactured by partisan news organizations since the left or the libertarians can manipulate stats one way and the right the other way.
I suppose you could arrive at a high crime rate if you include traffic violations or offenses such harboring or transporting an illegal alien. Most have family members who live with them who are also illegal. But as far as the crimes pundits like to have us imagine (rape, theft, murder, drug smuggling, etc.), these are not the types of crimes undocumented workers are committing. The undocumented people here are actually quite admired because they embody the capitalist spirit. The harder they work, the more they get paid. If they don’t work, they don’t survive. They don’t receive entitlements. They do pay local taxes. They do spend money. They pump money into Social Security even though they will never be able to draw out of it. Many wish we could trade out these workers for the lazy, welfare dependents in this country.
I’m not arguing having open borders is a good thing, and I understand there is definite harm. And not all undocumented workers work in the agriculture industry. There are many who are skilled laborers who do take jobs of painters and construction workers and drive down wages in this job sector. The tricky thing is that the typical person doesn’t want to do anything about illegal aliens because they (the typical person in Texas) benefit from low home construction costs that allows them to have a higher standard of living than they’d otherwise be able to afford.
And agribusiness has a complicated relationship with undocumented workers. They might push to criminalize illegal entry but they don’t necessarily want it stopped. A worker here illegally is unlikely to seek out law enforcement to report exploitation and hazardous work conditions. Legalizing these workers would then drive up their wages because then they would become people with worker rights. This would kill some agriculture businesses because paying extremely low wages is what allows them to compete with the global food prices.
Additionally, everyone in Texas knows the wall is a joke. Politicians like to talk about it because northerners are impressed by the notion, but in reality, in the places where there is a wall, people just carry lightweight ladders, prop them up against the wall, and cross over. The bigger deterrent is the desert on this side of the border and Los Zetas drug cartel on the other. The much easier way to cross is to “borrow” legal papers from an LPR and come over using their identity. Not that that’s right. It’s just what happens. People have this skewed image of a flood of illegal immigrants swimming across the river or jumping over the border, dodging the night vision of border patrol. Yes, that does happen, but there are many other ways to get across the border. The true irony about “the wall” and tighter border security is that it actually keeps illegal aliens in our country. Many would prefer to come here and make some money and then go home to their families. As it becomes harder to go back and forth, many just end up staying and bringing their families over rather than attempt multiple crossings which increase the probability of getting caught.
I don’t have a solution and I’d be a horrible lawmaker since I always tend to seek out “on the other hand.” The other hand often ends up slapping me in the face. Life is so much easier with a hand tied behind your back. I do credit you for being open and allowing your positions to evolve over time.
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