Justin Amash

Justin Amash's Confusing and Contradictory Immigration Record

His mixed immigration record might be good for a Republican, but it's not exactly impressive for a Libertarian.


The Libertarian Party (L.P.) has always stuck up for mobility rights unencumbered by political barriers—in other words, for open borders. If its commitment to economic freedom has distinguished it from the Democratic Party, its commitment to the freedom of movement (along with civil liberties and reproductive rights) has distinguished it from the Republican Party. "A truly free market requires the free movement of people, not just products and ideas," the party platform's immigration plank declares.

So one key question for the five-term Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, a former Republican who recently joined the L.P., is whether he will advance this commitment or dilute it if he succeeds in getting the party's presidential nomination. He called out President Donald Trump's hateful anti-immigrant rhetoric when his erstwhile Republican comrades either stayed silent or played along. When Trump called immigrants "invaders" and contemptuously told Rep. Ilhan Omar (D–Minn.)—who emigrated from Somalia as a child—to return "home," Amash voted in favor of a resolution condemning these comments.

But his voting record on legislation and explanations for his votes paint a mixed picture at best. Despite his well-deserved reputation as one of those rare politicians who puts principle above party or president, he's got a maddening habit of splitting the baby when it comes to immigration. He's certainly less restrictionist than every Republican out there right now, including even self-styled Trump nemesis Sen. Mitt Romney (R–Utah), who during his own failed presidential bid in 2012 mused about making life so miserable for undocumented immigrants that they'd "self-deport." But notwithstanding Amash's other virtues, he seems less pro-immigration than his libertarian rivals.

This was evident during Saturday's L.P. presidential debate in Kentucky, when Jacob Hornberger, the founder of the libertarian think tank Future of Freedom Foundation, raved about the party's 1990 platform that unambiguously called for the "elimination of all restrictions on immigration [and] the abolition of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Border Patrol." He castigated Amash, noting that the congressman claimed to "love free enterprise" but went along with the "evil, immoral, socialist, central planning, Republican-Democratic system of immigration controls which has brought death and suffering to countless people" and resulted in a "brutal police state consisting of highway checkpoints and other initiations of force against innocent people." Meanwhile, Jo Jorgensen, the 1996 L.P. nominee for vice president, promised to "immediately stop construction on President Trump's border wall boondoggle, and work to eliminate quotas on immigration so that anyone who wishes to come to America could do so legally." She asked Amash point blank if he would do the same. He refused to answer—just as he did repeated requests from Reason for an interview for this piece.

In public comments two years ago, Amash noted that it is "important" for America to remain a "welcoming country" where immigrants like his dad, a Palestinian refugee from Ramallah, "feel they have the opportunity to come and start a new life." A few weeks ago, he told Reason's Nick Gillespie that he "supports immigration" and wants to "fix our immigration system so that people can come here lawfully."

Still, when he was a Republican in Congress, he too often ended up on the pro-immigration side for narrow procedural reasons, not fundamental principled ones. Indeed, Amash repeatedly said he agreed with several restrictionist ends and disagreed merely with the means deployed to achieve them.

In a 2013 letter Amash co-signed in support of Sen. Rand Paul's efforts to elevate the GOP's tone on immigration (back before Paul found his inner restrictionist), Amash said that immigration reform should be treated like a "three-legged stool" that combined expanded legal immigration with enhanced border security by "both the physical border and the 'virtual' border of visa enforcement." Last year, even as he became the sole Republican to join a Democratic bill to stop Trump from declaring a national emergency to seize funds to build his wall (while criticizing his fellow Republicans for trading "massive, wasteful spending" in exchange for wall funding), he assured everyone that he doesn't "have an inherent objection to a border wall."

As for visa enforcement, he says he's "skeptical" of E-Verify, a program that requires employers to check whether their hires have work authorization against a federal database, because enforcing immigration laws is the government's job and private businesses shouldn't be asked to do it for them. But that opens the question of how far he is prepared to let the government go to do this job. Is it acceptable for the IRS to conduct audit raids (as it did under President Barack Obama) or for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to conduct physical raids on businesses (as it did under Presidents George W. Bush and now Trump) to ferret out undocumented immigrants?

Amash's record has also been mixed when it comes to defending sanctuary jurisdictions. Last year, he voted against the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, a punitive law that sought to strip certain federal funds from sanctuary cities that refused to cooperate with Uncle Sam's deportation efforts. But his objections did not center around anything morally objectionable about this particular bill, just that it went "too far." In fact, he went out of his way to assert that in the past he had "voted to defund sanctuary cities."

In the same vein, he voted against Kate's Law, which was named after the California woman accidentally shot by an unauthorized immigrant who was later acquitted on murder charges. That law sought to strip immigrants accused of illegal reentry—a felony—of the right to challenge their removal order while they were being criminally tried. Amash, to his credit, noted that eliminating this right was unconstitutional. Yet he did not go so far as to question the criminalization of unauthorized entries in the first place, which should have been a no-brainer for a self-described small-l libertarian.

Among Amash's most inspired actions as a congressman was his vote two years ago against a Republican plan to put Democrats on the spot by forcing them to vote on a resolution supporting ICE, an agency with a history of brutal border enforcement. So when Trump implemented his zero-tolerance border policies and started separating babies and other children from Central American migrant moms seeking asylum, the progressive left joined longstanding (and admittedly unpopular) libertarian calls to abolish ICE. The Republicans' resolution tried to exploit that, praising the "heroic law enforcement officers who make sacrifices every day to secure our borders, enforce our laws, and protect our safety and security" and daring Democrats to vote against it. Amash condemned his fellow Republicans and demanded to know why a party that has historically counseled vigilance against an overweening federal government would "treat a federal agency as though its beyond reproach and reform." But he did not go so far as to join calls to abolish ICE.

As for zero-tolerance border enforcement, all Amash could bring himself to say was that the government shouldn't forcibly separate families seeking asylum in the United States "unless absolutely necessary." One would be hard-pressed to find any statement by Amash noting why providing asylum was a humanitarian imperative, particularly for a nation founded by people fleeing persecution.

Also praiseworthy was Amash's slam of Trump's so-called Muslim travel ban in 2017, which barred entry for all refugees for 120 days and barred entry for foreign nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days. Even as most other Republicans stayed mum, Amash called the ban "unlawful" and "extreme." He beseeched Trump to work with Congress if he wanted to change immigration law. But here again, Amash diluted his message by acknowledging the need for more vetting of refugees, despite the facts that refugees at the time were already being subjected to a multi-agency, multi-year review and that the number of Americans killed in a terrorist attack by a refugee since 1980 is exactly zero.

Since then, Trump has gutted the refugee program that Amash's own dad used to come to the country, slashing the annual refugee cap from 110,000 during Obama's term to 18,000, an all-time low. But since this is within Trump's executive authority, Amash hasn't bothered to really protest; it's as if only the legality of the president's actions matter, not their morality.

Amash hasn't just hemmed and hawed when opposing anti-immigration proposals. He's also slapped down pro-immigration measures for unclear reasons.

Amash claims he supports the legalization of Dreamers—folks who were brought to this country as minors without proper authorization and have been here ever since with hardly any contact or time spent in their birth land. But last year he voted against the American Dream and Promise Act, which would have created a path to lawful permanent residence and eventual citizenship for Dreamers who met certain stringent conditions. If the Supreme Court this summer upholds Trump's decision to scrap the Obama-era Deferred Action Against Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which handed Dreamers temporary legal status, Trump could eject them from the country en masse.

The bill never made it to the Senate, but Amash's vote is puzzling since he criticized Obama for using his executive authority to create DACA—and then Trump, too, when he used his authority to eliminate the program. Amash urged Trump to work with Congress, yet when Congress, which has abdicated the issue for two decades, took a stab at protecting Dreamers, Amash balked, even as seven of his fellow Republicans voted for it.

Amash also voted for an amendment that prohibited funds for the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) program because the program was extended to DACA recipients. This creative program, which hasn't escaped Trump's assaults, is the brainchild of a conservative Federalist Society lawyer who received the MacArthur Genius Grant for it. It allowed the Army to recruit legal immigrants who have skills considered to be of vital national interest and give them a path to permanent residency and citizenship. But Heritage Action, the lobbying arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation, dubbed the extension of the program to DACA holders "amnesty" and urged Republicans to vote for an amendment to defund it. That's exactly what Amash did.

Amash also voted "no" on last year's Farm Workforce Modernization Act after he'd quit the GOP. This bill would have expanded the H-2A visa program and allowed farmers to not just hire more foreign guest workers but to do so for the full year, instead of only seasonally. It would have also permitted undocumented aliens to obtain permanent residence if they had worked in domestic agriculture for at least 10 years and were willing to continue working in the industry for an additional four years. The bill contained an ill-advised E-Verify mandate for farmers, and that's certainly an affront to civil liberties. But it would suggest a strange and selective punctiliousness if that's what turned Amash against the bill, given his support for a wall, defunding sanctuary cities, and enhanced refugee vetting.

All of this (and more) has earned Amash a career score of 81 percent—a solid B+—and a recent score of 66 percent from NumbersUSA, a rabidly restrictionist outfit.

Amash's immigration record might be heroic for a Republican, but it is tame by libertarian standards—and confusing, too. He has repeatedly tried to reassure libertarians that he intends to "earn" the party's nomination by addressing concerns and explaining himself. If he's serious about that, he ought to clarify where exactly he stands on an issue that is central for his new party and that is going to be a major national issue as restrictionist forces ramp up to turn Trump's current temporary pause on immigration into a permanent one.

NEXT: Tennessee May Finally Reform Draconian Drug-Free School Zone Laws

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Amash is just not pure enough.

    It’s almost like he’s just another politician.

    1. So you prefer Democrats and Republicans?

      1. I prefer politicians who don’t support Deep State coups and Invasion USA.

        Unfortunately, you only find such politicians in the Republican Party, and still too few of them even there.

    2. Personally, I’m voting for that Libertarian candidate who stripped naked during the convention. Then, I’ll vote Demcrat in the November election because voting 3rd party would be a waste of my vote.

    3. Your analysis is completely flawed and based on a theoretical “Fantasy” world that does not exits.

      You CANNOT have open borders and a welfare state; Period!!!!

      What we call poor in this country is super rich throughout the world and billions would come to get our handouts.

      You can say we should get rid of the welfare and I would be with you on that, but that is the US we live in and you must weigh ones voting record based on the reality we actual live in.

      In addition you don’t think ISIS is like heck open borders, send 10K suicide bombers to the US.
      Until Libertarians start a country they need to get out of the fantasy world and not push polices with devastating effects. And only allowing open borders would be just that.

      What we should do it overhaul legal immigration and make it merit based and increase the number of immigrants, but only after it is merit based, where we allow and the best and brightest in instead of people wanting to get on our welfare program.

      1. “You CANNOT have open borders and a welfare state; Period!!!!”

        Reality never intrudes on the moral commitments of deontological loons.

        “Borders are bad, m’kay?”

      2. I agree. We cannot have open borders and the welfare state. As a former faithful Libertarian voter, I generally no longer support Libertarian candidates in national elections for this reason. Amash sounds like he might be fairly reasonable on this issue though.

    4. I can understand his confusion. “Open borders” has been a Libertarian shibboleth for years, regardless of lessons from reality. Look, even an outright Anarchist (like me) will tell you that you can’t let just anybody come onto your land, your property, because inevitably some of them are robbers, slavers, and worse. “Discrimination” is a dirty word, but we *do* have to discriminate against certain people — because of their observed behavior, and nothing else. The great ideal of “open borders” must die, and I think Amash is a realist enough to see this.

      1. I don’t think it’s the bad guys that make the idea unworkable. It’s the fact that we are a heavy welfare state, and that you can not bring in a significant amount of people that will pay below the average tax rate.

        It’s simple math, if you have per capita expenses of X and low skilled immigrants pay less than X in taxes, then other citizens have to make up the difference.

        Now if we’re willing to effectively charge every low skilled immigrant a fee that covers the average deficit in taxes up front, then the system might work. But is that the path we want to take?

        Or just take the successful Canadian/Australian approach and heavily bias towards high skilled immigrants, who do pay enough in taxes to cover their per capita costs.

        1. Now this is REASONable!
          Preposterous dilution of this economy may help this author feew better about his white privilege, but
          “”evil, immoral, socialist, central planning, Republican-Democratic system of immigration controls which has brought death and suffering to countless people” diatribes are simply repugnant!

  2. “In a 2013 letter Amash co-signed in support of Sen. Rand Paul’s efforts to elevate the GOP’s tone on immigration …”

    GOP’s tone on immigration don’t NEED no elevation! Is fine ass is!

    BAD Amash! BAD Amash!

    Now go to your bad-Amash corner and wear your blue MALGA hat!

    MALGA for Make America Less Great Again, because ALL good conservatives KNOW that immigration is BAD-BAD-BAD!!!! Immigrants non-American, un-American, dontcha know?!?!

    1. That kind of detached unhinged post is why no one questions the fact that you told us you eat your own shit.

    2. Unlimited and unrestricted immigration is an absolute necessity for a thriving economy, except in the technical and medical powerhouse that is the state of Israel. Remember, America is great because of magical soil.

    3. Much of America is still waiting for Trump’s *actions* on immigration to match his rhetoric.

      They have to go back.

      1. “They have to go back.”

        Go ye back!!!

        The prey fauna and megafauna of North and South American no doubt did NOT invite the first “Native American” humans to come here and prey on them, so no doubt, those first “Native American” humans were the victims of “human trafficking”!!!

        When Europeans first came here, they were then similarly un-invited victims of “human trafficking”!!!

        WHEN can we all get back to being just plain humans, and treating each other as such?

        Anti-free-movement slavers, fuck the hell off!

        1. The Mega Fauna could have used a big beautiful Wall.

          The domestic slavers allying with foreign slavers to enslave Americans can go fuck themselves with a rusty pipe.

          1. Says the slaver who wants to tell me who I can associate with, and not associate with, and who I can buy and sell from!

            1. Associate with anyone you want to.

              But neither immigration policy nor tax policy will cater to your hatred of America.

  3. “its commitment to the freedom of movement”

    Not possible as long as one actively supports coercive monopolies in either the short term oi the long term like state government which inherently require borders.

    You can’t support freedom of movement while at the same time supporting limited coercive monopolies – it is a contradiction.

    1. What is the “coercive monopoly” where a state is concerned? Is it the property you can’t move out of state? Is it the people? The ground itself?

      Nothing about having a border makes it impossible to open that border. But maybe it’s not a great idea.

    2. The definition of government includes borders. Anarcommunists could declare themselves Comanches and try to retake Texas, Kansas and NM.

      1. If it makes them feel any better, they can think of the US Gov as my self-defense agency.

  4. From a Koch / Reason perspective, the only acceptable immigration position is 100% open borders. Anything else should be denounced as alt-right white nationalism.

    Fortunately the Democratic Party is embracing unlimited, unrestricted immigration even more rapidly than I had predicted. I guarantee Joe Biden will win in November by explaining to voters that Charles Koch’s immigration agenda is exactly what this country needs in a time of record unemployment.


    1. From another perspective, one could call attention to the avalanches of convicted rapists, armed robbers, and serial killers freed by Democratic State Governors under COVID-Release that are returning to the jobs that both upstanding Americans and decent Mexican immigrants refuse to do.

      1. #SyriaModel

  5. So what’s the difference between open borders and no borders?

    1. I’m pretty sure that almost all “open borders” folks will draw the line at literal armies (armed forces of other Governments Almighty) crossing over to our side, and adding yet more endless bullshit and needless damage, on top of what endless bullshit and needless damage that our own homegrown Governments Almighty already wreaks upon us!

      1. No one cares what you think shiteater.

    2. Open borders is an over-simplification of the issue and generally a straw-man argument from the right.

      1. LOL

        “The Libertarian Party (L.P.) has always stuck up for mobility rights unencumbered by political barriers—in other words, for open borders.”

        It’s not a strawman. It’s what we Koch / Reason libertarians explicitly support.

        1. It’s what that goat rodeo the L.P. supports. All the more reason we need Amash to take the reigns.

          1. reins* FUCK edit button now reason

            1. goat rodeo very funny. reigns = Freud.

              1. I can’t take credit for “goat rodeo”. That was the descriptor Kevin D Williamson used in his NR podcast.

                1. six/half-dozen.

        2. Open Borders is @Reason’s “core value”.

          In the 21st century, libertarians are going to have make common cause with the globalists of all parties, with the people whose core value is the right of individuals to move freely around the planet.

          Watching The Brink made me think that for all the other differences Reason has with the socialist magazine Jacobin, it may matter far more that we share a belief in open borders.


        3. And it is exactly the reason that Libertarians are considered Radical nuts without any common sense. Dalmia’s “pure” ideas of morality, seem to ignore the constitutional idea of separation of powers. Or does he/she want yet another imperial president. Amash is the only candidate with a chance of exceeding 5% votes and getting a toe in the door for viable national 3rd party. Don’t let ideological “perfection” defeat realistic hopes of “good” government.

          1. ” Dalmia’s “pure” ideas of morality, seem to ignore ”

            or yearn for the destruction of America her policies would bring about.

      2. detention = concentration camps
        concentration camps bad
        no detention
        no detention = open borders

        How else do you plan to enforce a not totally open border?

        1. I submitted several contracts for laser-targeted auto turrets at the border, but the DoD rejected them

        2. Most people on this side of the issue would start with not burdening law enforcement with detaining people who simply want to come here and work. If we made work visas easy to get with a background check and unlimited then we could focus on securing the border against actual threats. Of course nobody wants standing armies, violent criminals, or terrorists to come across the border. Which the restrictionists always imply with the term “open borders.”

          1. Most people on that side of the issue are crying out for mass house arrest of Americans, freeing violent felons, and totalitarian government

            1. You’re confusing Democrats, who seem to support more open immigration purely as a means to turn the electorate in their favor, with libertarians who support it from a personal liberty standpoint.

              1. And there are a boatload more democrats than “libertarians” thus most.
                I’m not confusing anything, you’re trying to cherry pick to avoid the implications of your shallow and poorly thought out preferences

              2. I remember a time when Conservatives and Republicans were looking to immigrants for new members. They noted that most immigrants are conservative, family oriented and hardworking. But that the past and today they are banking on their support from old white men.

  6. Welcome to the litmus rest Justin. Administered by Shreeky and the LP purity patrol. It’s kind of like the Democrats with their abortion murder test except you get ice cream.

    1. I don’t see Shikha arguing that we shouldn’t consider Amash for the nomination. She’s just trying to document his positions.

      Shouldn’t we consider his position on the issues relative to the party platform?

      1. How about just concluding that he is more in favor of open borders than either of the other 2 candidates. I’m so sick of purity tests. we don’t have to agree 100% on every issue. We also shouldn’t be out there campaigning to completely tear down all restrictions. That is not a position that will win. Let’s just agree that Amash is better than Trump or Biden and then when we win we can debate the parameters of the envelope we’re trying to push.

        1. Right now the question is more about Amash vs other LP candidates. We’re to the point where we should consider all candidates and what they bring to the table. Purity vs pragmatism is a good debate to have. Amash may be able to communicate the LP platform more widely due to his name recognition, but it’s worth questioning whether we want him carrying the message on immigration for the LP given his positions in the past.

          All I’m saying is it is worth debating his libertarian bona fides if he is going to be carrying our message in this election.

      2. Agreed that this was a decent summary of Amash’s record. Shikha’s wagging finger was palpable, though.

  7. The problem with open borders is the unspoken corollary that, once people cross your open borders into your country, your government is required by law to take care of them. The people who want to cross your open borders are aware of this.

    1. That’s the difference between libertarians and democrats. I don’t know anyone that identifies as a libertarian that would say that the government should support anyone, let alone immigrants.

      1. It’s fine if libertarians don’t believe the government should support anyone but the fact is the government does indeed offer support for immigrants and it will not end any time soon. In the real world, a libertarian open-borders policy would flood our cities with even more uneducated, low skill immigrants who will get support from the government through “free” health services, schooling, law enforcement, food stamps for their children, etc. So how does the libertarian open-borders argument square with the reality
        of government support?

        1. Totally right, Andiobe. Libertarian ideology is like 50s rock and roll: wonderful stuff, but mostly nostalgic. On subjects like immigration, it’s completely disconnected from present reality.

      2. Yes, but that’s what will actually happen in this world. Open borders=Democrats forever=libertarians enjoy the dustbin of history forever.

    2. Whose government? I don’t have one.

  8. I’m not sure I understand Dalmia’s position.

    Is she for a rule of law? If so, then the law must apply.

    Is she for immigrants running roughshod over the country? That is contrary to rule of law.

    We do need immigrants to keep the economy going, but at the same time, America isn’t the home they left behind. Some assimilation is required…like Mohammadites losing their notion of rape culture and honor killings.

    1. Is she for a rule of law? If so, then the law must apply.

      No matter the law?

      1. If it is the law, then yes. If it is unjust, or unconstitutional, then work to repeal it.

  9. There cannot be free mobility with private property rights.

    1. Well, if you define your “property rights” to include me harmlessly walking over it, or flying over it, or stealing an acorn from it, or looking at it, or taking a photo of it, we have a problem! If you want to kill me for offending against any of these kinds of “property rights” we have a problem.

      If you define our common LACK of “property rights” to mean that literal foreign armies should be able to invade and impose THEIR Government Almighty’s Tulpa-shit on top of OUR Government Almighty’s Tulpa-shit, then we have another kind of problem!

      In between, we have a sensible middle ground! I could visit you on your property, and vice versa, while respecting your property, and you, mine! NO laws of physics, or chemistry etc., would be violated! It is possible!

      1. dude those are my acorns.

      2. Get off my lawn.

      3. The owner has a right to prevent you from walking on his property, asking you to leave, and forcibly ejecting you if you don’t leave. Deal with it.

    2. There cannot be private property rights if the Government can claim dominion over ALL property and tell the property owners who they can and can’t allow on their property.

      1. The gov cannot tell me who can come onto my property, but it can tell who can come onto government property. So as long as you don’t violate the commonly held property rights, go for it.

        1. Buy some property right smack dab on the USA border with another nation, or the sea, or buy yourself an international airport, and welcome all comers, and see just how far (zero, legally) your “freedom of association” goes! You’re free to welcome all comers, onto your property, only if you don’t get caught, you “human trafficker” you! All Hail Government Almighty!

  10. “If its commitment to economic freedom has distinguished it from the Democratic Party, its commitment to the freedom of movement (along with civil liberties and reproductive rights) has distinguished it from the Republican Party”

    This statement implies that only democrats and libritarian are committed to civil rights. When has a Democrat ever cared about civil rights? “to be sure” this is an exceptionally retarded thought… Even by dalmia’s standard

  11. One idealistic view of a nation: a group of people who share common ethics and principals.

    Do they have a fundamental right to maintain a society built on their shared beliefs?

    1. Depends on the ethics and principles. Fundamental right to institute slavery or burn widows on the pyres of their husbands (for instance)? I’d say no.

  12. “its commitment to the freedom of movement (along with civil liberties and reproductive rights) has distinguished it from the Republican Party.”

    Exactly how is the Libertarian Party’s commitment to Reproductive Rights distinguished from the Republican Party’s commitment to Reproductive Rights?

    Did the Libertarian Party become officially Pro-Choice? If so, why is it considering the nomination of the Pro-Life Justin Amash?

    Does the Libertarian Party assert that as Abortion is legal, the Federal Government should pay for many abortions? That is hardly libertarian.

    Does the Libertarian Party assert that an organization must provide insurance that covers birth control, despite the organization’s religious objections? Again, that is hardly libertarian.

    So, precisely how do the Libertarian and Republican parties differ on Reproductive Rights?

    1. So, precisely how do the Libertarian and Republican parties differ on Reproductive Rights?

      Libertarians who think abortion is morally wrong, like Ron Paul or Amash, nevertheless tend to think it should be legal.

      1. Actually, that is the distinction between Pro-Choice and Pro-Life.

        Pro-Choice advocates believe abortion should be legal in most if not all circumstances. Pro-Life advocates believe abortion should not be legal in most circumstances.

        This applies to Pro-Life politicians such as Ron Paul and Justin Amash.

  13. Yes as soon as all persons accept and live by the NAP the free movement of said persons should become the norm. Of course in such a scenario most people would likely stay close to where they were born and raised because that’s where their friends and family are and with no oppressive government and plentiful economic opportunities there would be no incentive for them to leave.

    1. and then Starfleet.

    2. Americans, 95% of whom support the initiation of force, are under 5% of the population of a planetful of communist slaves, fascist prisoners, and mercantilist junta and caudillo state exploitees–like the people Shikha fled to come to America. Once 60% of those places have fully functioning libertarian governments, funding for communist anarchists to try to take over the LP should dry up. Anarchist dupes so quickly surrounded the LP that even Ayn Rand, who wrote the NAP, rejected the party when the platform was excellent.

  14. >>Amash claims he supports … But last year he voted against …


    1. The only way to make a girl-bullying male mystic attractive to libertarians is to have Shikha attack him for not importing enough mohammedan plane-hijackers in suicide vests.

      1. i’ve missed your posts nice to see you.

      2. I’ve missed your posts; brain damage fascinates me.

  15. His mixed immigration record might be good for a Republican, but it’s not exactly impressive for a Libertarian.

    I haven’t even read this article yet, and I suspect that this might be because he doesn’t believe in open, unrestricted borders? Which, by the way, has nothing to do with libertarianism…

  16. and contemptuously told Rep. Ilhan Omar (D–Minn.)—who emigrated from Somalia as a child—to return “home,”

    Ok, Michael Moore… allow me to quote Christopher Hitchens:

    f you flatter and fawn upon your potential audience, I might add, you are patronizing them and insulting them. By the same token, if I write an article and I quote somebody and for space reasons put in an ellipsis like this (…), I swear on my children that I am not leaving out anything that, if quoted in full, would alter the original meaning or its significance. Those who violate this pact with readers or viewers are to be despised.

    1. This.

      And purposefully conflating things like anti illegal immigration with being anti-immigrant.


  17. He does right on the one thing I disagree with Libertarians the most.

  18. The Libertarian Party (L.P.) has always stuck up for mobility rights unencumbered by political barriers—in other words, for open borders.

    Open borders are incompatible with the more fundamental property rights. Thus, not libertarian at all.

  19. I don’t think libertarians believe in no government.

    So no borders implies no government. Isn’t this more like anarchy?

    Libertarians believe there should be national borders but not necessarily restrictive and/or confusing IMMIGRATION LAWS. Or else why have nation-states at all?

    Huge point to make in my opinion.

    1. The current butchery of what was once the LP Platform again demands child molesters in girls bathrooms, package-dealing “free trade” and “migration” to again invite uninspected entry of infected cattle, foreign agents and biological weapons into These States, abolishing your copyrights, elevating “desire” over the constitutional provisions for defense, replacing the functions of government plank with an endorsement of communist anarchism (a state of war), removing national defense from international affairs, meddling in the territories plank, and converting the self-determination plank into a Dixiecrat endorsement of secession that failed when Jackson was prez. Most of the platform committee under Tokyo Rose are infiltrators needing transfer to the CPUSA.

  20. What does open borders mean? It appears that Libertarians believe “anyone who wants to “ come here should be able to without any restraints.
    Does that include several hundreds of millions of Middle Eastern Muslims? How about several hundred million Sub Sahara. Africans.
    Am I a racist for decling to want the US to have a hundred million Muslims here? Even 50 million? Or the same number of Africans? Do you think that could harm our social cohesion? How about a few million Roma?
    Ludwig von Mises wrote that people fear mass immigration most because of its cultural, more so than economic, impacts. People simply want to live with like people.

  21. What does open borders mean? It appears that Libertarians believe “anyone who wants to “ come here should be able to without any restraints.
    Does that include several hundreds of millions of Middle Eastern Muslims? How about several hundred million Sub Saharan Africans.
    Am I a racist for decling to want the US to have a hundred million Muslims here? Even 50 million? Or the same number of Africans? Do you think that could harm our social cohesion? How about a few million Roma?

    1. There is no such thing as “open borders” and I’m going to start calling people on it. You either have borders with varying colors of limits and restrictions, or you have no borders.

      Most reasonable people can debate what the limits and restrictions of the borders might look like or entail. But if there are no restrictions for crossing over said political construct, then you don’t have borders, nor do you have a “country”. So… in conclusion, your “borders” aren’t “open” or “closed” they either exist and are recognized, or they don’t exist at all.

      1. So there is no border between Pennsylvania and New York. Their legislators need to be so informed.

  22. Amash is a shoo-in to read Catcher In The Rye 100 times and shoot rock stars in the back. With any luck he might shoot a female rock star and get extra points.

  23. While Justin Amash’s views aren’t Libertarian they are more like what the Republican party supported in the near past. George W. Bush was working to bring more immigrant into the party and at some part that just all fell apart. Immigrants became the people to hate and fear for Republicans. Trump is the apex for this I hope that once he is gone the party will get a better platform for immigrant.

  24. People pushing Open Borders aren’t libertarians. They are capitalist vultures seeking to earn vast profits off the backs of immigrants who come here and suffer, often under unspeakably horrible conditions, all the while depressing the wages of the poorest Americans.

    There might be some jobs that Americans don’t want to do, but most of those jobs are really just jobs they don’t want to do in light of the depressed pay schedules available in a job market depressed by illegal immigration. You know, jobs like construction worker.

    Further more, allowing unfettered immigration regardless of skills, allows foreign governments to keep harming their own citizens instead of figuring out ways to more equally distribute wealth. Unfortunately, the US is becoming more like Mexico, rather than vice versa because they are beginning to share one single depressed market for low skilled wage earners.

  25. I think there is a difference from what you believe and what is practical. Under the current climate and rules established by democrats, open borders would cause a flood of immigrants who would all be in need of services and increased government size.

    At this particular point we just can’t have open borders until the welfare state is addressed. I could a move by countries like China and Russia giving their needy a one way ticket to the US, I would vote against open borders until the welfare state is addressed.

  26. His mixed immigration record might be good for a Republican, but it’s not exactly impressive for a Libertarian.

    Because libertarians want to give unending free shit to anyone who drags their sorry carcass across our border, legit or not. Also, libertarians do not believe in the rights of a people to control their own sovereignty

    Fuck you Shikha. And fuck this shitty website.

  27. Stay classy Reason, dumping on your new favorite pin-up because he’s not in favor of stripping the concept of a border away.

  28. The LP leadership is not a reflection of most people who would identify as libertarians. Just consider the reason commenting community – the majority are social liberals who detest left wing ideology, including open borders. Many are effectively conservatarians. LP effectively represents Chemjeff, Hihn and a handful of others who think like them. It’s one of the reasons why the party will be eternally irrelevant.

    Not even Ron Paul was in favor of open borders. Amash would be better off defying the LP on immigration (meaning immigration friendly but no to open borders, sensible enough) and win some nevertrump votes.

  29. I’m kinda new to this. Can I be a Libertarian Nationalist? Sorta like I want my family to live unfettered and free, but I get to choose who comes into my house?

    1. Sure, but you can’t leave your house.

  30. Had Amash been voting in a vacuum his voting discrepancies would suggest someone with a weak constitution. But he wasn’t. He was voting as a Republican, playing the transactional game of politics where the only way to get something you want from someone else is to give them something in return. It’s why every Congressman and Senator have records that are less than consistent. The way to judge a politician with a track record is to look at what he’s given away to get what he wanted. Look at his record as a whole. Has it been a net success? The he’s successful. I’m not a fan of Amash, but I’m also not a fan of intellectually dishonest reportage that looks at a pixel and infers the whole picture from it. It’s why single issue voters make the whole process of governing that much more difficult. Simple people demand simple answers, but politics isn’t simple.

    1. I’m also not a fan of intellectually dishonest reportage that looks at a pixel and infers the whole picture from it

      You must not enjoy reading Reazun very much.

  31. “in other words, for open borders.”

    Apart from all coercive monopolies like state government requiring borders to define their monopoly, the concept of open borders also means they are open to 1,000 (or whatever) soldiers in foreign military uniforms.
    Wanting otherwise means border control.

  32. I am not talented enough to properly convey the multi-dimensional stupidity this article demonstrates. The whole notion of a Libertarian Party is fatally flawed. Actually pretending it matters by devoting time and space to analyzing the libertarian purity of a prospective candidate of this irrelevant party is a crime. To illustrate, consider just this one sentence:

    ‘”A truly free market requires the free movement of people, not just products and ideas,” says the party platform’.

    So controlled immigration must therefore have harmed, or diminished, the free market? Fair enough. How much has it been harmed? Not that much. Really, hardly at all. In order to support this open borders mantra one has to completely ignore all the obvious reasons why it is a terrible idea. Why does the author think so many people support controlled immigration? Because we’re all racists? Guess again.

    1. Why does the author think so many people support controlled immigration? Because we’re all racists?

      Did you miss the by-line?

  33. Shikha, Justin Amash was elected to Congress, which reveals a lot. You can’t get elected to that office without compromising on principles of liberty. He often speaks positively about liberty, but deep down he wants power and he is willing to pay the price to obtain power.
    I do not think Jacob Hornberger wants to exercise power over anyone. He understands libertarian principles. Hornberger does not expect or want to get elected, he is campaigning with other objectives in mind.

    1. Which is one of the top five dysfunctions of the Libertarian Party. A candidate can stand up and say, “I proudly proclaim that my goal is not to win the election! Only the unpure run to win!” And that person will get huzzahs from the membership.

  34. They scream immigrants take Americans jobs with unemployment under 4% AND they have no problem bringing in thousands on work visas which how illegals really get here!

    GOP has emotional single-issue voters, abortion, guns, and now immigration. It’s easy to manipulate the emotional. For example, you might be so angry at the “invasion” you ignore Republicans have done nothing when in control of legislative and executive branches. That includes the most recent two years 2016-2017.

  35. libertarians are not for open borders..nation states have been the best defense for liberty..open you borders and you will get a broad attack on liberty as politicians buy their votes…and given that most will be coming from very corrupt “big daddy” countries where you “vote” for the local “boss” who either provides stuff or allows you to keep your business and only “skims” 50% and it’s a receipe for cronyism of the worst sort. One final time..we have the new deal because massive amount of eastern and central european immigrants who were secularist and socialist voted for the degenerate FDR…we need to control our immigration very carefully and vette any folks admitted…certain countries where there is not a history of limited govt and rule of law should not be on any list for immigration.

    1. It is a basic division in what one calls libertarian.

      In general libertarians are very skeptical about the state to effectively allocate resources, protect individual rights and property, and administer justice.

      This is true even in democracy.

      Movement of people and labor is just another barrier. To count on elected politicians to act in your best interest or mine is thin ice.

  36. The LP needs to focus on monetary policy (end the fed), destruction of neocon/neoliberalism, radically downsizing the Federal Govt, non interventionism and strict adherence to the constitution. Shut up on abortion and borders..being against abortion and open borders does not disqualify anyone from being in the LP..its the damn woke cosmo libertarians that killed the party.

  37. Who declared this a “key question”? Immigration is definitely an area on which reasonable people can differ.
    Here are some questions that I think have a more obviously correct answer:

    1. Is the candidate notorious for sexually abusing women?
    2. Is the candidate incapable of constructing a coherent and grammatical English sentence?
    3. Does the candidate regard the Constitution as a meaningless paper obstacle to his dreams of a unitary state under his personal dictatorship?

    1. So, Biden’s definitely out.

    2. ..or, were those requirements? In that case, go big Joe!

    3. So, Coolidge or no one?

  38. I would appreciate it if reason would stop posting articles about Justin Amash.

  39. A good example of the ‘No True Scotsman’ logical fallacy.

  40. This is why when I describe myself as a libertarian, I make sure people understand it’s with a small “l”.

  41. “I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind, it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind swept, God blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace — a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors, and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.”

    They don’t make ‘em like the Gipper anymore.

  42. Shikha can’t possibly be running out of illegal gardeners. Maybe she thinks leaf blowers can be repurposed to give her a haircut or something.

  43. And FYI, Ms. Dalmia, the U.S. has open borders as long as they’re crossed LEGALLY. Why is it that you and ‘reason’ are unable to distinguish between legal and illegal? I suspect that’s a clue to a fundamental problem with libertarianism, or at least the Silicon Valley big tech brand espoused by you and ‘reason’.

  44. There is confusion here as to what libertarians stand for. Libertarianism is not the same as open borders. Immigration has impact on the environment (population growth), labor markets (augments the labor supply) and government deficits (when governments provide below cost services increased immigration might increase tax burdens). Libertarian economist Milton Friedman acknowledged the last point).

  45. Shikha Dalmia:
    Like your stuff a lot. You have already nailed Amash. He is out.
    But you need to reply to the open borders/ welfare state issue.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.