Before everyone starts screaming at me, let me be clear: I generally believe in open borders, philosophically at least. However, I just posted an argument from the left side of the libertarian movement and think it only fair to post one from the right side. As with the healthcare issue, immigration issues are significant within the context of contemporary U.S. politics — and there is a major split within the libertarian movement and the Libertarian Party on this issue. I’d not be surprised to see a change in the LP platform position at the 2006 Libertarian National Convention this July pertaining to immigration.
Despite the views of my friends on both sides of this inflammatory and controversial issue, it seems that both sides seem to miss some realities of the situation or turn it into sound-byted fearmongering — as opposed to using rational arguments. I think most people ultimately hope for open borders in a libertopian society, but many don’t see how this can work within the framework of a welfare state (in addition to obvious social programs, I’m including minimum wage laws in this category). Others seem to suggest that terrorists are going to flood across the southern border to blow up every skyscraper from southern California to Texas. It’s time for some reasoned debate within the libertarian movement, and Congressman Ron Paul may have just started the ball rolling:
Today, the overwhelming majority of Americans — including immigrants — want immigration reduced, not expanded. The economic, cultural, and political situation was very different 100 years ago.
We’re often told that immigrants do the jobs Americans won’t do, and sometimes this is true. But in many instances illegal immigrants simply increase the supply of labor in a community, which lowers wages. And while cheap labor certainly benefits the economy as a whole, when calculating the true cost of illegal immigration we must include the cost of social services that many new immigrants consume — especially medical care.
We must reject amnesty for illegal immigrants in any form. We cannot continue to reward lawbreakers and expect things to get better. If we reward millions who came here illegally, surely millions more will follow suit. Ten years from now we will be in the same position, with a whole new generation of lawbreakers seeking amnesty.
Most of us agree on the long term solutions. I’ll make it clear that I disagree with many of Dr. Paul’s statements. However, if Ron Paul is taking this hard a position on immigration, I’d suggest that we all sit back and take a closer look at the issue and the shorter term solutions for the problems. I doubt we can reach any sort of consensus, but perhaps we can try.