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I’m Pro-Immigration and Pro-Open Borders

My comment to Michael Barnett’s post Anti-immigration libertarians are treading in dangerous waters, where he linked to my article “A Simple Libertarian Argument Against Unrestricted Immigration and Open Borders“:

Mike, my article was to provide a simple argument against unrestricted immigration. I did not imply that I agreed with it. I was trying to emphasize a few points: that the real owners of public property in (say) the US are the taxpayers, not outsiders; that there is no way for the state to manage the property in a way that satisfies all owners, short of returning it; that if an outsider is prevented from using the public property held by the state but owned by US citizens, this does not violate the rights of the outsiders, any more than if the natural owners were to forbid them use of it. But it’s an argument about second- or third-bests, and one meant to focus on the main point: some private people (victims of the state) are the natural owners of or claimants to the property; the state is the legal owner, but should not be. Ideally it should dissolve itself and return the property to the real owners; but if it does not, the question arises as to what rules it should set if and so long as it does legally control the resource. I sought to tie in some implications of this notion to the immigration issue.

In any case, let me be clear that I completely oppose any state laws or action that restricts immigration.


{ 3 comments… add one }

  • AnonCoward April 27, 2010, 11:59 am

    Nice post.

    But another question, what are the ethical considerations of ranchers taking the law into their own hands when illegal immigrants attempt to cross the border on their land?

  • Sukrit September 5, 2010, 7:18 am

    In any case, let me be clear that I completely oppose any state laws or action that restricts immigration.

    Not sure how that follows from your argument at lewrockwell.com. You say that an unrestricted entry rule given the current statist world would result in less comfort and restitution for existing Americans. Given state ownership, some usage rule must be developed, and it seems to me you prefer a usage rule that places reasonable restrictions on immigration.

    But now you’re saying you are pro-open borders. However won’t that mean rampant forced integration? What’s the justification for your statement above?

    All agree with the conclusion that over-usage of scarce resources will result from an open-borders position given the existence of the State (even though they may not agree with the way you exonerated people from being unlibertarian if they are for closed borders). So, are you saying that you’re fine with the reduced restitution that arises from an open-borders position?

  • Stephan Kinsella September 5, 2010, 7:42 am

    Sukrit, note that i never said the argument I presented was mine, or that I agreed with it. I said it was “an argument” against open borders. One purpose was to show this is a muddied issue mired in second-best claims and that those who attack anti-open-borders libertarians (especially those who are actually anarchist and thus ultimately don’t favor any immigration laws) ought to have a bit of charity. But yes, in the end, I cannot support the federal government policing the borders.

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