Brief Answers on Immigration
Conservatives disagree with libertarians about immigration. To the complaints of conservatives, Lynn Atherton-Bloxham offers some answers.
Lately it seems whether I am with relatives, good friends, on line or doing a radio interview the majority of people who disagree vehemently with me on immigration are Conservatives. I actually have pretty harsh words for Democrats too, as I think both groups are only concerned with the Latino vote and care nothing about the principles they should be upholding. So much for civil liberties for all people, free markets and allowing peaceful exercise of meaningful choice.
What follows are the short answers to the questions I hear most often. Please understand, particularly if you disagree with me, that there are now many libertarians, much more wise and credentialed than I, who have written prolifically on “Freedom of Movement.” Please research this issue carefully for two major reasons. One, it is the principled position and you will be sadly embarrassed for having held the anti-immigrant position later on down the road. Two, whatever freedoms we deny others, only sets up the mechanisms for those same freedoms to be taken from you and your posterity.
Welfare: There are those on welfare who are illegal but that is not the norm and has happened because of breaking rules. My point is that no one should get welfare. There are many programs we need to dissolve. We should be working to get rid of all infringements on individual property ownership and sovereignty.
Open Borders: Many wiser than I in the field of law enforcement (and the particular ones to whom I am referring are among the few left in that occupation who are cognizant of individual liberties) say that simple gates through which all the immigrants can come and go freely as it was for decades, would still work well. Monitoring would be reserved for the few bad characters rather than the strawberry pickers and drywall installers.
Movement vs. Citizenship: A communication problem I have with most conservatives is making a clear distinction between voting and citizenship which are totally separate issues from the libertarian principle of allowing others the freedom of movement they themselves desire. All who honor the words of the Declaration of Independence, that all men are created equal with inalienable rights, know those words are not meant to designate only citizens.
Trade: We should welcome all peaceful people who are traveling, working, buying, selling, visiting, and even buying homes and living in them. These are agreements between willing buyers and sellers. If one is a supporter of a market economy rather than a centrally planned and bureaucratic system then this is consistent with freedom.
Illegals voting: This issue is a ruse. Many elections were won with skullduggery. Whether the instigators used illegal people, legals repeat voting, or graveyard residents, it is still voter fraud. Nowadays, they barely bother with actual people; much simpler to do a switch on the computer. Neither Republicans nor Democrats care a whit about personal freedoms for legal or illegal people, they only want their vote. The politician's bad intentions are not the fault of the immigrants.
Lower Wages: Books upon books in the Austrian library have been written explaining in great detail why no employer can afford to pay more or less than the market for wages. Wages must reflect what the market will bear. I cannot understand why conservatives can understand this so well on many examples but yet not on immigrants. However, every interference in the market produces unintended consequences and one of the primary dislocations now is not immigrants but rather the long-term unemployment checks to legal citizens.
High Skilled Immigrants Only: Volumes of work by many economists of the Austrian school substantiates that immigrants are a benefit whether they are low skilled or highly skilled. The bureaucracy of the whole system is like all agencies, totally inefficient and ineffective. Markets are far superior in knowing labor needs and wage and pricing realities.
Go to the Back of the Line: There is no "line," rather a wait of 30-75 years for most people. Even 10 years is a lifetime to a small child separated from a parent.
Conservatives should be serious about disassembling the welfare-warfare state and not using a scapegoat for all our problems. The collectivist/statists love it that the conservatives are singing their song on racism (yes, most statists are racists as Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell well understand), eugenics, dependence and non self-determination. Now conservatives have painted themselves into a corner as their anti- immigrant, pro-statist position on immigration can be used to support the statist's agenda.
The response to this that I often hear is always that I am a something of a one off who, all by myself, has cooked up this idea of open immigration. Let me assure you that if I had, I would be proud to claim it as it is totally consistent with individualism and personal liberty. But, I am a student of many who spoke thus long before this current anti-immigrant agenda began.
Image Credit: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 (Flickr)/stillthedudeabides