The following arguments are often touted to close borders, build “Berlin” walls and have Stasi & KGB type security at the border shooting immigrants as they attempt to cross over. As we shall explain, all these arguments fail the basic libertarian tenet of freedom and voluntary interaction.
Arguments are made that many immigrants end up as wards of the State and are a drain on resources of the host country. However, numerous studies show that immigrants contribute more in taxes than they draw as welfare. Nevertheless, let’s grant this argument validity – immigrants end up on welfare. The libertarian answer is to end welfare for all. No welfare by the State for anyone. There is no other debate. Period. Fight this battle, my libertarian friends!
Immigrants dilute the local culture. How? All actions and interactions are voluntary. So, how is my culture diluted? If it has value, scarcity would make it even more valuable in the marketplace, right? So, leave it to the free market to determine the value of competing cultures, which is always better at preserving value than the State has ever been. People of a free country must have the freedom to discriminate with whom they associate and it’s up to each one of us to limit or eliminate any interactions that we choose not to have. Yes, please do fight to end anti-discrimination laws. Those are not libertarian laws. We always discriminate and choose. We decide whom to marry, partner with or allow to enter our homes. That freedom must extend to all business entities as well. If I want to have a restaurant for Norwegians only, so be it. And if my business model fails because of it, so be that, too.
The failure of the State in providing security to its people – arguably a State function deemed acceptable by many libertarians – is used as a reason to bar immigrants. Yet there is no evidence that immigrants are more prone to criminal behavior than the hosts. In fact, all evidence points in the contrary direction. However, even if this were true- it’s a State failure. It may be better to outsource the function to private companies to carry out fast background checks and then take action if past criminal behavior is proved. To treat all immigrants as potential criminals is nonsensical, especially as many are fleeing State-launched criminal atrocities of which they have been victims.
There is enough evidence to show that the more people in a city, the higher are the income gains due to specialization. Every time population doubles, productivity increases by 10%. Why do you think there is constant migration from rural to urban areas worldwide? It is because cities offer greater opportunities, not remote villages or deserted islands. If migration results in more cities in the US and more people in cities, it would be hugely beneficial to the economy as a whole.
Again, the State failure to provide and price roads, and hence control traffic, is taken as a justification for barring immigration. The answer is to end State monopoly on the ownership of roads and other so-called infrastructure. Fight that good battle libertarians and don’t use traffic and infrastructure to bar immigrants.
Immigration Causes Unemployment
This may be true of some industries or businesses. However, it is also true that as immigrants buy stuff and carry out their activities, they generate employment. They have to… every time they buy homes, cars or food. The same spurious arguments are made against freedom to trade. Unemployment is caused as it’s incentivized by welfare and doles. The more benefits are given to sit at home by governments, the more the number of people who sit at home shall increasae. Simple. Another cause is minimum wages, which leads to unemployment across the board. So, fight to end minimum wages and welfare. If a U.S. family hires a Mexican immigrant to mow their lawn and do their house chores, it’s a voluntary association. What right do you or I have to object? Supposedly the objection is that they are putting legal workers on welfare, but if welfare is eliminated, that will no longer be a problem. And if we don’t have the right, the State which is our supposed agent doesn’t have the right either.
If All of Mexico Moves to the US
Another nonsense espoused is that if all or a majority of Mexicans moved to the U.S., it would be catastrophic. No, it would not. The demolition of the Berlin Wall was not a catastrophe, even though the West German government handled it terribly, by providing huge subsidies by way of a favorable exchange rate for the East German currency. If all Mexicans cross into America, then Mexico automatically becomes the U.S., without firing a shot. And this same argument applies to border controls with Haiti and against Haitians and any other nations or nationalities.
Liberty is a basic right. And, we want progress. Let’s strive to remove borders that infringe on these.
I will be presenting more of my case for open borders at the #FreedomFest 2019 event; and look forward to a fruitful discussion on the same.
Rakesh Wadhwa has long been a passionate proponent of the free market. He is the only person to have been nominated six times for the Frederic Bastiat Prize for Journalism, held by the International Policy Network, the UK. In addition, he is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society, a leading global free market organization, which also has members such as Professor Milton Friedman and Dr. Robert J Barro.
Born in 1957, Mr. Wadhwa is a commerce graduate and a chartered accountant. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in law (LLB) from Delhi University. He wrote weekly for the business page of The Himalayan Times, a leading English daily in Nepal, from 2002 to 2008. He also was an Advisor for “The Boss,” Nepal’s leading English business magazine promoting the free market.
Mr. Wadhwa writes regularly on his blog, voicing his views on liberty and free markets. Mr. Wadhwa is also the co-author of The Deal Maker, a book that puts forth India, in all its glory and challenges, with the message of democracy and freedom, and how the country is working to get rid of the chains of poverty. Having worked with businesses in India, Nepal and Dubai, Mr. Wadhwa has a unique perspective on the differences in business environment, ease of doing business and nation-specific challenges for foreign businesses wanting to invest in India.