Open Borders and Libertarianism

Letter 1:

From: G
Sent: Friday, March 08, 2019 9:04 AM
Subject: Open borders

Good morning Walter,

We have clashed on a couple of issues in the past, but you are correct in your position concerning open borders in my opinion.

The reason that this subject is so misconstrued, and that such so much passion is evident, is because the underlying causes and complicity of government in this issue is overlooked. Whether it be welfare in any form, or government allowance through legislation that leads to trespassing or harm of private property, this subject is much more complex than the obvious misconstrued anger and emotion.

Should all property be private, as is the optimum situation, open borders would never be a problem. In addition, much good could come from such an arrangement due to voluntary exchange including work, art, science and the like due to a free market system. Immediately in a proper environment such as this, good people would come, and bad people would not be welcome. This does not have to be government controlled. Actually, if government were eliminated from the equation, instead of problems from immigration, there would be positive effects accepted by the majority.

Today’s immigration problems stem from aggressive interference by the West, mostly the U.S. and NATO, into the lives of so many around the world. These interferences include brutal sanctions that do nothing if not forcing those populations to seek a better life. Adding welfare to the mix, in the form of straight forward payments, free medical care, housing, state protection from criminal activity, schooling, just to name a few, forces the worst situation possible to exist.

With 100% private property, and elimination of government interference, we would not even be having the conversation about immigration and walls.

This is complicated in scope, but I am only attempting to support your position in simple terms.

All my best, G

Letter 2:

Dear G:

As a deontological libertarian, I have two main arguments in favor of open borders.

First, immigration without permission is not a per se violation of rights. To prove this, all I need is one example, even a theoretical one. Here’s mine: a Martian, or an African, comes to totally virgin territory in Alaska, or the Wyoming Rockies, and starts homesteading. He violates no rights. This is a victimless “crime.” In my book Defending I, I defended the pimp. Even if none of them refrained from beating up his prostitute, still, I could conceive of this occurring. That is all I need in my defense of the pimp, and the same goes for the illegal immigrant. Even if none of them homesteaded virgin territory, I can still conceive of this occurring.

Second, a reductio ad absurdum: an immigrant comes from outside of the US. So do new babies. The stork brings them from Storkovia (you’ve been led astray in your biology classes if you think otherwise). Thus, if it is justified to regulate the incoming of immigrants from Mexico, Africa, Asia, it is justified to regulate the incoming of babies from the country, Storkovia.

How, then, do we protect ourselves from rape-fugees, from truck-fugees, from being inundated by trillions of nice Martians, but with a different culture so that we lose ours? I answer this utilitarian objection as follows: privatize every single square inch of the US. Then, if immigrants come here, they must have the permission of the owners of the property in question. If not, they are trespassers. They no longer commit a victimless crime.

Libertarian theoreticians who favor regulated borders are so concerned about being over-run, about being victimized by criminal immigrants, that they are throwing the libertarian baby out with the utilitarian bathwater. They do not realize that immigration is not a per se violation of rights (if done on virgin territory)

On Mar 8, 2019, at 11:57 AM, Walter Block <> wrote:

Letter 3:

From: Gary Barnett []

Sent: Friday, March 08, 2019 11:13 AM

To: Walter Block

Subject: Re: Open borders

I agree Walter, so long as regulated by property owners, and not controlled by government.

When I said open borders would not be a problem, I meant as in the horrific mess we have today due to the factors I mentioned in my reply. Obviously, regulation by individuals to protect property and natural law would be imperative.

Best … Gary

Letter 4:

Dear Gary:

We’re sure not clashing here, except for one minor (?) point. I would say, instead of this:

“Should all property be private, as is the optimum situation, open borders would never be a problem.”


“Should all property be private, as is the optimum situation, regulated borders would be justified.”

Best regards,


Letter 5:

Yes, I agree. Regulated by the owners, of course.


Here are my publications on this subject:

Block, 1983A, 1983B, 1988, 1990, 1998, 2004, 2011A, 2011B, 2013, 2016A, 2016B, 2017, 2018; Block and Brekus, 2019; Block and Callahan, 2003; Deist, 2018; Gregory and Block, 2007;

Block, Walter E. 1983A. “How immigrants CREATE jobs,” North Shore News, p. A6, January 30;

Block, Walter E. 1983B. “Protect Canadian Jobs From Immigrants?” Dollars and Sense. February 7; reprinted in Block, Walter E. 2008. Labor Economics from a Free Market Perspective: Employing the Unemployable.  London, UK: World Scientific Publishing; Perspective/dp/9812705686/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336603241&sr=1-7;

Available for free here:;

Block, Walter E. 1988. Dollars and Sense: “Migration patterns tell real story.” January 12;

Block, Walter E. 1990.  “Immigration,” Fraser Forum, January, pp. 22-23.

Block, Walter E. 1998. “A Libertarian Case for Free Immigration,” Journal of Libertarian Studies: An Interdisciplinary Review, Vol. 13, No. 2, summer, pp. 167-186;

Block, Walter E. 2004. “The State Was a Mistake.” Book review of Hoppe, Han-Hermann, Democracy, The God that Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy and Natural Order, 2001May 25.

Block, Walter E. 2011A. “Hoppe, Kinsella and Rothbard II on Immigration: A Critique.” Journal of Libertarian Studies; Vol. 22, pp. 593–623;

Block, Walter E. 2011B. “Rejoinder to Hoppe on Immigration,” Journal of Libertarian Studies Vol. 22: pp. 771–792;

Block, Walter E. 2013. “Rejoinder to Todea on the ‘Open’ Contract of Immigration.” The Scientific Journal of Humanistic Studies, Vol. 8, No. 5, March, pp. 52-55

Block, Walter E. 2015. “On immigration.” December 21;

Block, Walter E. 2016A. “Contra Hoppe and Brat on immigration.” Management Education Science Technology journal, Vol 4, No. 1, pp. 1-10;;; (1333)

Block, Walter E. 2016B. “A response to the libertarian critics of open-borders libertarianism,” Lincoln Memorial University Law Review; Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 142-165;;

Block, Walter E. 2017. “Immigration and Homesteading.” March. The Journal Jurisprudence. Vol. 35, pp. 9-42;

Block, Walter E. 2018. “A libertarian theory of immigration.” The Scientific Journal of Humanistic Studies. March, Issue18, pp.34-42;;

Block, Walter E. and Drew Brekus. 2019. “On the Problem of 3 Billion Immigrants Crashing the Border.” April 21;

Block, Walter E. and Gene Callahan. 2003. “Is There a Right to Immigration? A Libertarian Perspective,” Human Rights Review. Vol. 5, No. 1, October-December, pp. 46-71;

Deist, Jeff. 2018. “Block on immigration.” September 4;

Gregory, Anthony and Walter E. Block. 2007. “On Immigration: Reply to Hoppe.” Journal of Libertarian Studies, vol. 21, No. 3, Fall, pp. 25-42;;;


8:12 am on July 27, 2019