Re: Boudreaux on Hoppe on Immigration

While Boudreaux doesn’t impress with his feigned ignorance of the many libertarians who do oppose open borders, I’m not sure he’s as wrong as is being stated by Stephan and Tom.

In fact, Beaudreax’s larger argument remains intact as far as I can tell. If he’s arguing that anti-immigration libertarians have failed to come up with actual libertarian policies that should be used to control immigration, I’d have to agree.

Hoppe and others can present theories all day long about how immigration is a type of trespassing, how foreigners are eating up tax dollars, how monarchy is superior to democracy, etc. etc. Many of these theories are useful, but we’re still left with almost nothing useful when it comes to actually carrying out immigration control in a libertarian fashion.

In fact, I’d agree with many of Hoppe’s and Kinsella’s larger theoretical points, as I’ve noted here. But neither has convinced me that we have many options when it comes to actual public policy.

If one is going to establish a libertarian theory for why opposition to immigration is acceptable on libertarian grounds, that’s fine, but the next step is telling us exactly what course of action we can endorse as libertarians.

I fully support measures like Props 187 and 200 because they cut off access to services that citizens don’t have to use like public schooling, free emergency room services, and other welfare services. These services also happen to be the most expensive on a per person basis.

So if this is not sufficient, then what else should be done?

National ID cards? I should hope not. Is a wall a good idea? Ask the East Berliners (or Will Grigg) How about rigorous ID verification procedures for all employees of all businesses? How aobut punishing small businesses with harsher penalties? How about check points at all state borders to verify citizenship? How about more border guards, more police, more government agencies? How about an agressive foreign policy again Latin America?

Which of these exactly do libertarians endorse? If none, then which policies?

And why is it exactly that governments should have the power to stamp some immigrants with the seal of approval while others are verboten?

If you’re going to try and convince me that general spying on the population is necessary to catch immigrants who might drive down a government road or visit a national park, I can predict that I’ll remain unconvinced. Immigrants don’t come here for the roads and the campgrounds. They come here for jobs and, in many cases, for free taxpayer-subsidized education, health care, and so on. And besides, I’d rather have my freedom.

Since, there is ample evidence that immigrants pay at least as much in taxes to cover their use of roads and parks: If a an immigrant agrees to not use welfare services (like public schools, etc.), and agrees to pay taxes, then what is the proper libertarian answer to this? To enforce the “contract” is the only libertarian response I can see.

You could argue that immigrants cause crime – so deport them when they commit actual crimes, and not the government’s made-up crime of “illegal immigration.”


2:08 pm on September 15, 2007