Viewpoint: Immigration

Scott Sandersfeld

(Brent Schwert)

In the last few years, the immigration debate has reached a fevered pitch in this country. The conservatives want to restrict immigration. Some want to deport all illegal aliens; some have called for sealing the borders. The left generally calls for less restrictive immigration policies, but calls for more aggressive socialist policies. In this way, the left has discredited the pro-immigration side of the debate, leaving the “rational” conservative viewpoint to become the dominating position.
Despite seemingly different viewpoints between the left and the conservatives, neither side has been able to offer any sort of principled defense of open, unrestricted immigration. But there are some of us who can.
My position is clear. I am for completely open borders, with some minimal screening to check for criminals or people with infectious diseases.
Human beings have a right to be free from force and government coercion, no matter where they happen to have been born. The government is not the giver of rights, but the protector of rights. All humans have the right to liberty because that is what our nature as rational beings requires. It is immoral to deny this right to any person because it belongs to them by birthright, not by government gift-giving.
One of the most pervasive arguments against liberal immigration policies is the fear that “Immigrants will take our jobs.” Our? The only job a person has a claim to is the one they currently hold. Just because you were born in a certain place doesn’t mean that you have the right to a job that someone else provides – you only do if you can earn it.
The same is true with immigrants. When an employer or landlord seeks to do business and trade with someone, they should be allowed to do it without interference from the government. If Juan wants to rent an apartment from Bill and Bill wants to sell it to him, he should be allowed to do so. If a meat packing plant wants to hire Mexican workers at $3 an hour, they should be allowed to do so (needless to say I am against any sort of minimum wage legislation). In America, individuals have rights, not the tribe or any other gang.
Like the previous argument, most arguments against liberal immigration are collectivist and some variation on “This is OUR stuff, not yours.” But in a free society, only individuals own things, not groups. American citizens do not collectively own the land; only individuals can claim ownership to their particular property.
One of my favorite anti-immigration arguments is the “terrorists will cross the border!” claim. This argument is ridiculous on its face. Like the Department of Homeland Security, conservatives try everything they can to keep from actually having to fight an offensive war against militant Islam.
The idea that our enemies can be defeated by “sealing the border” and examining America with a magnifying glass is completely absurd and shows an utter lack of understanding of the threat that we face from the enemy. On top of that, I venture to claim that no amount of border security could keep out a determined terrorist. There is only one way to protect America from Islamic terrorism: Win the war.
As with all moral acts, allowing others to immigrate freely to our country has nothing but benefits in store. Immigrants are willing to work jobs that genteel Americans no longer want or need to work. This allows everyone to move into a more productive area of the workforce and improve their lives.
Immigrants, by their very nature, are a courageous and heroic people. They come here in search of a better life, often without a promise of success and without speaking the language. They do this often at great personal risk, especially if they come here illegally.
They are freedom loving, and for that reason we drain other countries, even the socialist countries of Europe (what has been called the “brain drain”) of their best and brightest. Because of this, some of the greatest Americans in history have been immigrants themselves, such as Ayn Rand, who fled the Soviet Union and became a far greater defender of America than any of us natives would have become without her.
In conclusion, the right to liberty is unquestionable. The benefits of immigration are numerous and plenty. Open the borders, let them come.