Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Immigration Is a Natural Right

Nativism is the arch-enemy of the freedom to travel

As President Obama and Congress grapple for prominence in the debate over immigration, both have lost sight of the true nature of the issue at hand.

The issue the politicians and bureaucrats would rather avoid is the natural law. The natural law is a term used to refer to human rights that all persons possess by virtue of our humanity. These rights encompass areas of human behavior where individuals are sovereign and thus need no permission from the government before making choices in those areas. Truly, in the Judeo-Christian tradition, only God is sovereign—meaning He is the source of His own power.

Having received freedom from our Creator and, in America, thanks to the values embraced by most of the Founding Fathers, individuals are sovereign with respect to our natural rights. St. Thomas Aquinas taught that our sovereignty is a part of our human nature, and our humanity is a gift from God. In 1776, Thomas Jefferson himself recognized personal sovereignty in the Declaration of Independence when he wrote about Nature's God as the Creator and thus the originator of our inalienable human rights.

The rights that Jefferson identified consist of the well-known litany of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. By the time his ideological soul mate James Madison was serving as the scrivener at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, the list of natural rights had been expanded to include those now encompassed by the Bill of Rights. Yet again, the authors of the Constitution and its first 10 amendments recognized that the rights being insulated from government interference had their origin in a source other than the government.

This view of the natural law is sweet to the heart and pleasing to the ear when politicians praise it at patriotic events, but it is also a bane to them when it restrains their exercise of the coercive powers of the government. Thus, since the freedom of speech, the development of personality, the right to worship or not to worship, the right to use technologically contemporary means for self-defense, the right to be left alone, and the right to own and use property all stem from our humanity, the government simply is without authority to regulate human behavior in these areas, no matter what powers it purports to give to itself and no matter what crises may occur. Among the rights in this category is the freedom of movement, which today is called the right to travel.

The right to travel is an individual personal human right, long recognized under the natural law as immune from governmental interference. Of course, governments have been interfering with this right for millennia. The Romans restricted the travel of Jews; Parliament restricted the travel of serfs; Congress restricted the travel of slaves; and starting in the late 19th century, the federal government has restricted the travel of non-Americans who want to come here and even the travel of those already here. All of these abominable restrictions of the right to travel are based not on any culpability of individuals, but rather on membership in the groups to which persons have belonged from birth.

The initial reasons for these immigration restrictions involved the different appearance and culture of those seeking to come here and the nativism of those running the government here. Somehow, the people who ran the government believed that they who were born here were superior persons and more worthy of American-style freedoms than those who sought to come here. This extols nativism.

Nativism is the arch-enemy of the freedom to travel, as its adherents believe they can use the coercive power of the government to impair the freedom of travel of persons who are unwanted not because of personal behavior, but solely on the basis of where they were born. Nativism teaches that we lack natural rights and enjoy only those rights the government permits us to exercise.

Yet, the freedom to travel is a fundamental natural right. This is not a novel view. In addition to Aquinas and Jefferson, it has been embraced by St. Augustine, John Locke, Thomas Paine, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Pope John Paul II and Justice Clarence Thomas. Our fundamental human rights are not conditioned or even conditionable on the laws or traditions of the place where our mothers were physically located when we were born. They are not attenuated because our mothers were not in the United States at the moment of our births. Stated differently, we all possess natural rights, no more and no less than any others. All humans have the full panoply of freedom of choice in areas of personal behavior protected from governmental interference by the natural law, no matter where they were born.

Americans are not possessed of more natural rights than non-Americans; rather, we enjoy more opportunities to exercise those rights because the government is theoretically restrained by the Constitution, which explicitly recognizes the natural law. That recognition is articulated in the Ninth Amendment, which declares that the enumeration of certain rights in the Constitution shall not be used by the government as an excuse to deny or disparage other unnamed and unnamable rights retained by the people.

So, if I want to invite my cousins from Florence, Italy, to come here and live in my house and work on my farm in New Jersey, or if a multinational corporation wants the best engineers from India to work in its labs in Texas, or if my neighbor wants a friend of a friend from Mexico City to come here to work in his shop, we have the natural right to ask, they have the natural right to come here, and the government has no moral right to interfere with any of these freely made decisions.

If the government can restrain the freedom to travel on the basis of an immutable characteristic of birth, there is no limit to the restraints it can impose.

Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. Judge Napolitano has written nine books on the U.S. Constitution. The most recent is Suicide Pact: The Radical Expansion of Presidential Powers and the Lethal Threat to American Liberty. 

Media Contact Reprint Requests

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.

  • ||

    whenever I read immigration articles here, this song pops into my head. Hope it's true

  • Ted S.||

    It's not this song that pops into your head?

  • SugarFree||

  • Mad Hungarian||

    Nice!

  • gaoxiaen||

    Well, why would you want more people on thr Freedom Team?

  • gaoxiaen||

    *the

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    So, if I want to invite my cousins from Florence, Italy, to come here and live in my house and work on my farm in New Jersey...

    Italy? Jersey? Is the Judge telling us that he's mobbed up?

    Foreigners most definitely don't have the right to at will enter the United States AND TAKE OUR JOBS. Plus, (serious point alert) since the state is adding to our list of rights the right to health care and a safety hammock, they've made the right to travel freely to America a contentious issue.

  • SIV||

    Shikha Dalmia wants foreigners to come here,kick back in the safety hammock, and freely suck down all the bennies from a taxpayer-funded, parasol-decorated hollowed out pineapple until all the hammocks are cut down.

  • ||

    And SIV wants to coerce people. Point, retard?

  • SIV||

    Shut up you little whiny pussy.

  • SIV||

    I would have uttered a more detailed rebuttal if he had a cite for his assertion.

  • John Galt||

    You don't agree we can have both a cradle to grave limitless welfare state and unlimited immigration? What are you? Some kind of racist?

    The right to free stuff from the America is for everyone, not just Americans.

    It's not like the well can ever run dry. If it dares try, Emperor Obama will simply invoke his royal executive powers to make more.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    You don't agree we can have both a cradle to grave limitless welfare state and unlimited immigration?

    Yeah...look at all those Messicans what with their Obamaphones....oh, wait.

    *Bonus: The Obamaphone Lady has become vociferously anti-Obama. Here is her on the Alex Jones show, talking about how Obamaphones track you. Truth will always be stranger than fiction .

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    What's the point here? Because we already have people on welfare, getting more people on welfare isn't a valid concern?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The point is you're a fool if you think tightening immigration necessarily leads to welfare reform.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Who the hell was making that argument? The argument is welfare reform is needed before immigration should be meaningfully expanded.

  • John Galt||

    Someone thought ..tightening immigration necessarily leads to welfare reform..?

  • ||

    Because not wanting more people on welfare is a lesser concern than protecting the liberty and human rights of immigrants.

    You don't abbrogate the fifth amendment because it interferes with national security do you?

    So were does "oh but the welfare state" get you to forcibly preventing people for hiring foreign laborers or inviting their cousins from italy to come live on their farm?

    The welfare state is NOT AN EXCUSE for violating other people's rights.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Wanting to live here is NOT AN EXCUSE for living on other people's money.

  • ||

    So what your saying is that if you can't take away the welfare state, you should take away other people's freedom of movement. Right?

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    What I am saying is that someone's freedom of movement ends where it imposes costs on others.

  • ||

    Costs they have nothing to do with creating, and may have no interest in imposing.

    Should people be forced to buy health insurance because they can get free healthcare at the emergency room?

  • PM||

    Should people be forced to buy health insurance because they can get free healthcare at the emergency room?

    May I introduce you to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act?

    Basically what you're saying is that if congress passed a law mandating everyone in America to shit exclusively on my lawn, I would be an asshole for conditioning my support of the right of people to shit on congress repealing the law mandating they do so on my lawn? How do you prioritize rights when the infringement of one is directly correlated with a previous infringement of another?

  • ||

    No, it's more like Congress passed a law allowing everyone the right to shit on anyone's lawn, and you are opposed allowing immigrants to move here because there is a chance they might shit on your lawn, when the reality is they are probably just going to be shit on by everyone, including you.

  • ||

    You would be an asshole for supporting a "no shitting ever" law.

    Moreso, because the people doing the shitting aren't even the ones who passed the mandatory shit-on-you-lawn laws. In fact, they might actually want indoor plumbing and a toilet of their own, but can't do anything about it because they aren't allowed to vote.

  • ||

    This.

  • PM||

    You would be an asshole for supporting a "no shitting ever" law.

    Ooops. See, there's where you fucked up. By presuming that I support a "no shitting ever" law just because I would like to repeal the "everybody shits exclusively on PM's lawn" law before expanding the pool of available shitters. In fact, I wouldn't give a good goddamn how many people were shitting and would never think of restricting their natural right to shit, unless there hadn't first existed the mandate to shit on my lawn. False dilemmas are false.

  • ||

    But your position is "I oppose repeal of the no shitting ever law until someone repeals the mandatory shit-on-your-lawn law."

    So yes, you are supporting a "no shitting ever" law.

    Moreover the analogy isn't apt because immigrants are NOT being MANDATED to consume welfare. In fact, most of them do not. And you can't even legally qualify for it until after you become a permanent resident.

  • ||

    The correct analogy would be as Also Ran stated. There's a law that allows people to shit on your lawn, and even though most people probably wouldn't choose to shit on your lawn, you're opposed to the repeal of the "no shitting ever" law anyway.

  • PM||

    Again, the "No shitting ever" law is not on the table - even by way of analogy, there is not a total restriction on immigration at the present time - over a million immigrants per year are legally admitted to the United States, with hundreds of thousands more entering illegally. Even if I supported the status quo, it's not analogous to a "no shitting ever" law.

  • PM||

    Nope, you've still got the analogy wrong. And it really isn't that hard to follow. You're substituting an alternative that is a lot more convenient for you to argue from.

    I just got done posting down thread just a handful of programs immigrants of any stripe are mandated to take part in.

    Oh, also, you can qualify for dozens of welfare programs as an undocumented person. TANF is not the be all and end all of "welfare". In fact, in certain states like mine, there are programs only accessible by "temporary farm workers", who are overwhelmingly undocumented. If you happen to have a child in the US, there are no restrictions on the benefits the child may receive either - the child is a citizen via the 14th Amendment.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Costs they have nothing to do with creating, and may have no interest in imposing.

    Which doesn't mean the costs disappear or are any less real. There are competing interests here, and it isn't is clear as "freedom of movement vs. fascist racist oppressors."

    I like freedom of movement. I am seriously looking into expatriation. But I don't think having others subsidize my movement is particularly libertarian.

  • ||

    Ok, Night Hawk, I guess you'll be paying the government back for your medicare. Cause otherwise, I have the right to decide whether you're allowed to smoke or not.

    After all, the fact the you're getting a priviledge you didn't ask for means i can control what you do. Because it imposes costs upon me.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    I paid into Medicare, pay-as-you-go or not, so, as a general proposition, I wouldn't feel especially bad in pulling out money up to that amount.

    However, it's almost certain that I won't be a US resident -- and it's a coin toss whether I'll even be a citizen -- by the time I am eligible so I won't be here to use Medicare.

  • ULOST||

    A country that does not have border control is not a country. Just look at the indians. Yes, the welfare state is an excuse to keep foreigners from fleecing me and subsidized by my money to act against my self interests. Americans coming and going at will is a different story.

  • John Galt||

    Well, that's why I pay for my own phone. So only Verizon, the Feds, local law enforcement, and basically a whole lot of other people can track me.

    Silly Obamaphone people.

  • R C Dean||

    Well, if the ObamaPhone doesn't track you, how will they get you to the polls? Duh.

  • ||

    Whether or not we have a cradle to grave welfare state or not, you can't spout a rhetorical defense of liberty and then turn around and support the oppressive bullshit that is the current immigration system.

    Liberty comes FIRST. Always. If it renders the welfare state unstable, so much the better.

    You don't become a facist because you have to fight fire with fire.

    The only right thing to do is to defend the natural rights of immigrants. You can't in good faith support the existence of a sub-class of second-class citizens on the grounds that it wouldn't be economically feasible to make them equals. That's a violation of first principles.

  • PM||

    Liberty comes FIRST. Always.

    Which liberties, and for whom? The abrogation of liberties like free association and free commerce largely introduced the dysfunction into our immigration system in the first place. Where do you start?

  • ||

    You don't restrict person's B's liberty in order to compensate for the fact that A's liberty is being restricted by a third party. How about that?

    Or would you fight statism with statism?

  • PM||

    Which is a great, roundabout, strawman way of saying, you start with immigration, because you think that particular right is more important than the others I mentioned. I think you could make the argument that granting more people the privilege of robbing others via the state is "fighting statism with statism" just as much, if not more, than addressing the underlying issues that led to the dysfunction in immigration to begin with.

  • ||

    No, it's a direct way of saying you don't restrict someone's freedom in immigration just because the government is stealing our money. Nice try at evasion, though. Immigration /=/ the privilege of robbing others, government taxation = the privilege of robbing others. That the govt steals from us is no call to restrict the freedoms of others out of fear.

  • PM||

    No, it's a direct way of saying you don't restrict someone's freedom in immigration just because the government is stealing our money. Nice try at evasion, though.

    I actually hadn't mentioned the government stealing our money in my initial response, although as a practical matter it's an important implication. Let me quote for you. I'll bold the relevant parts. Read really slowly this time:

    The abrogation of liberties like free association and free commerce largely introduced the dysfunction into our immigration system in the first place. Where do you start?

    Nice try at condescension though.

    Addressing the initial restriction of rights that is in a major way responsible for the dysfunctional state of another set of rights seems like just as good an idea as addressing the dysfunctional state of one set of rights while leaving in place the restrictions of the initial set of rights which begat the dysfunction. For practical rather than moral reasons, the order is somewhat important.

  • ||

    I actually hadn't mentioned the government stealing our money in my initial response, although as a practical matter it's an important implication. Let me quote for you. I'll bold the relevant parts. Read really slowly this time:

    Not what I was talking about, you TRULY condescending dipshit. I was referring to this:

    Which is a great, roundabout, strawman way of saying, you start with immigration, because you think that particular right is more important than the others I mentioned.

    You should probably take your own advice about reading.

  • PM||

    So essentially, you were ignoring the entire premise of my argument and constructing one that was more convenient for you? My initial post asked how you prioritize whose rights to restore when an intertwined set of rights has been restricted. Hazel responded with a non-sequitur that completely ignored the question and set up a false dilemma between supporting current policy or supporting liberalization of immigration law without any effort to address the preceding restrictions of rights that have contributed to immigration being so dysfunctional, and you latched on to the non-sequitur as if it were something actually related to what I wrote.

  • ||

    No, I responded to your assertion that her argument was a strawman, when it was an accurate depiction of your desire to decrease people's freedom of movement because the government take your money. That's all I was responding to, and your insistence that I ignored the "premise of your argument" is completely unrelated to my assertion that you mischaracterized her statement.

  • ||

    Apologies, it isn't unrelated. It's directly related. And accurate. You think that because there is a violation of freedom by the government in one instance, that it's ok to violate other people's freedom in another instance because of fear that these other people will take advantage of the first violation. We disagree with you.

    Your "initial post" asked a question about what to do, and Hazel responded by saying what NOT to do. That's not a strawman.

  • PM||

    Hazel responded by saying what NOT to do. That's not a strawman.

    Hazel responded by not responding, but substituting an alternative question. Call it what you will (though I still contend straw man seems to fit pretty well), but it's an evasion.

    You think that because there is a violation of freedom by the government in one instance, that it's ok to violate other people's freedom in another instance

    I'd prefer a solution that addresses the full set of rights violations, and I'd rather hold out for that, or at least a more complete redress of those rights violations, than a piecemeal approach that only partially resolves only one rights violation while very probably entrenching the rest. Substituting the other half of your shared false dilemma for my actual preferred solution makes it really convenient to argue against. Particularly since it doesn't even require my participation.

  • ||

    If I arbirtarily grant you the "priviledge" of parking in my driveway, can I then regulate what time you are allowed to go to work? Whether or not you ever intend to use it?

  • PM||

    Uhhh, yes? If you grant me any sort of privilege, why wouldn't you be allowed to stipulate any terms you wish? I'm not sure what you're getting at.

  • ||

    Except her parking in your driveway only allows you to dictate the use of the driveway, not everything else in her life. Should have paid attention to what she wrote:

    If I arbirtarily grant you the "priviledge" of parking in my driveway.... Whether or not you ever intend to use it?
  • PM||

    I read and understood it just fine. I still stand by the proposition that if someone grants me a privilege they are entitled to set whatever terms on the privilege that they wish. That's what makes it a privilege and differentiates it from a right.

  • ||

    Except her going to work, if she doesn't use the driveway, HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE DRIVEWAY AT ALL. That was her point. You either didn't understand what she wrote, or really think that her use of your driveway allows you to dictate the rest of her life to her.

  • ||

    Correction: "or really think that the possibility of using the driveway allows you to dictate the rest of her life to her."

  • ||

    Correct, darius.

    I stipulated that I created a priviledge that he may or may not use. (i.e. the welfare), and then I use that as an excuse to regulate other aspects of his life (where he is allowed to live and work), on the basis that it MIGHT impact the use of my driveway.

    Even though there is no requirement that he use my driveway, and I created the problem in the first place by offering him the priviledge.

  • PM||

    I was probably being overly pedantic or legalistic, but I was operating under the assumption that the conditions were set forth when the privilege was granted and agreed upon. I understand now what you're saying.

    Here again though, I wasn't originally talking about welfare - you brought that up. My original issue was with freedom of association and freedom of commerce. We have an illegal immigration problem in no small part (in fact, primarily) because of labor restrictions, including price floors, tariffs, taxation, insurance mandates, welfare making low wage work less attractive, minimum age laws, licensing requirements, etc etc etc ad infinitum. Leaving those unaddressed and then opening the border doesn't actually solve the underlying problem. So the sequence is of practical import. That's all I was trying to convey.

  • ||

    And all I'm trying to say is that *whatever those costs are* it cannot justify restricting the liberty of innocent third parties.

  • PM||

    Right. Like I said before, you prioritize the right to immigrate above the other rights I delineated. Good for you. That's your moral judgment. It's not an Iron Law, and nobody owes you an apology for disagreeing.

  • ||

    There's no "prioritization" of rights, they're equal. That one is violated is no call to violate others. You think it is. That's your moral judgement, and we think you're wrong. Never asked for an apology, only that you actually read what is wrote and comprehend what you read.

  • PM||

    There's no "prioritization" of rights, they're equal.

    In philosophy, sure. But not so much in practicality, where most of the real world actually takes place. There, you only have options like, say, whether or not to support a piece of proposed legislation that gives a bunch of people legal immigration status, doesn't address the immigration system in any meaningful way, and leaves in place existing rights violations that are liable, if not likely, to become even more entrenched with further abuse. One's choice in supporting such legislation may not necessarily reflect a lack of comprehension, or hypocrisy, or statism, or whatever other label some purely hypothetical arrogant, moralist cunt might come up with.

  • SIV||

    you can't spout a rhetorical defense of liberty and then turn around and support the oppressive bullshit that is the current immigration system.

    DO SOMETHING!

    Is there any legislative proposal for changes to the immigration system that don't involve an equal or greater amount of oppressive bullshit?

  • ||

    Arguably the current immigration proposals are pretty thin gruel.

    But there are certain things that no libertarian can justly oppose. The DREAM Act for one thing. Liberalizing visas for STEM grads is another.

  • PM||

    The DREAM Act massively expands an education subsidy that no libertarian could justly support. Here again, how do you "justly" prioritize who gets fucked hardest?

  • ||

    Yeah, the DREAM Act is all about college tuition rates. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the right to legally hold a job.

  • PM||

    And I have to support a bill that massively expands an illegitimate function of the state because it also makes immigration policy more permissive. There's no possibility of just opposition there. Just gotta suck it up and take the bad with the slightly less bad. Yesiree. Because HazelMeade, arbiter of libertarianism, told me so.

    You do realize you're making the exact same argument as the folks who want the welfare state and other issues addressed first, only in reverse, using the exact same logic, right?

  • ||

    I don't think ANY in-state students should get subsidized tuition. But normalizing the status of undocumented children entails making them equals with current residents. If you grew up your whole life in California, why shouldn't you qualify for California in-state tuition?

    The alternative is to again create seaparate classes of citizens who are treated differently by that law. Which violates the equal justice principle.

  • SIV||

    Liberalizing visas for STEM grads is another.

    I can support this. The thing that always crops up in these immigration discussions is anyone opposing a specific "comprehensive reform" proposal is called a nativist by someone else who, when pressed, won't admit to supporting the same damn thing

  • PM||

    As a moral matter, I don't see why STEM grads should be given one iota of priority over anyone else. As a practical issue within the context of current policy maybe.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Liberty comes FIRST. Always. If it renders the welfare state unstable, so much the better.


    But, that makes a rather big assumption, doesn't it? It assumes that the welfare state isn't itself a violation of liberty.

  • ULOST||

    How about the liberty to keep the fruits of my labor and not have it confiscated for redistribution.

  • CE||

    ...you can't spout a rhetorical defense of liberty and then turn around and support the oppressive bullshit that is the current immigration system.

    Liberty comes FIRST. Always. If it renders the welfare state unstable, so much the better.

    Hazel FTW.

  • ||

    ". . .until all the hammocks are cut down."

    Gilligan!

  • LemonMender||

    Yah, those damned Californians coming into Nevada and stealing the jobs that are the divine birthright of Nevadans. Can't have that, can we? (If you don't think this is a valid comparison—aside from the welfare crapola we all dislike—, please explain why not. But since you made JOBS the first issue, that seems to be your thing.)

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    ...aside from the welfare crapola we all dislike...

    Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln...

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I don't know why people continue to take me seriously. Especially when I break out the caps lock.

  • SIV||

    They take me seriously even when I bring the tropical drinks.

  • SIV||

    Let me illustrate it with a blog post from the archive.

    Check out these foreign gals with their safety hammock and pineapple benefit cups

    SFW but don't blame me if your employer's "webguard" thinks otherwise

  • John Galt||

    Handsome babes in their highly advanced foundation undergarments.

    Now that's a safety hammock we can all believe in.

  • Ted S.||

    Especially when I break out the laps cock.

    Yeah, why would we take that seriously? ;-)

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Well, where do you put it when you break it out? (You're welcome in advance for the set up.)

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Foreigners most definitely don't have the right to at will enter the United States AND TAKE OUR JOBS.


    Please tell me this is sarcasm. They aren't "our jobs". They're contractual arrangements between employer and employee. You have no more right to call it "your" job than you have to call a supermodel "your" girlfriend that some sports star is "stealing".

  • Brubaker||

    And you have no right to call that gray matter filling your skull your "brain."

  • Bill Dalasio||

    A withering, insightful and meticulously documented counterpoint. I'm guessing you lunch regularly at the Algonquin?

  • hk||

    Man you sound like a marxist. "Our" jobs? They're the private property owner's jobs to distribute as he sees fit.

  • Scatcatpdx||

    Or say because your an American you have a right to a JOB? I call thee Hypocrite

  • Mortimer Sneed||

    I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that Anders Breivik has escaped from prison. The good news is that Reason will be ceasing publication. ;)

  • Bob_R||

    While I believe in natural law, that belief doesn't blind me to the fact that even people who believe in natural law (which includes all people who believe in God-given law) disagree sharply about what natural law is. There may be some utopian vision in which government exists to protect "true" natural law, but effectively governments exist to protect a set of laws that a social contract agrees to as natural. The social contract isn't the source of our rights, it's a codification of our understanding of natural law. One of the legitimate ways that a government can protect a given vision of natural law is to protect the people holding that vision from being ruled by a competing, contradictory vision. So it seems to me that immigration laws can be a legitimate function of government and consistent the protection of liberty. (This isn't to judge the question of whether particular immigration laws actually promote liberty, I just want to dispute the Judge's argument that restrictions on movement between states is inherently illegitimate.)

  • ||

    One of the legitimate ways that a government can protect a given vision of natural law is to protect the people holding that vision from being ruled by a competing, contradictory vision.

    This is only true in nativist/collectivist lala-land. There are contradictory competing "visions" of America with or without immigration. And it doesn't really matter which "vision" gets picked when both "visions" legitimize coercion for protectionism or whatever else. If conservatives use immigration coercion simply to keep themselves in power, then that's a pretty good reason why they shouldn't be supported. Fuck them.

  • Bob_R||

    Again, not defending the current US worst of all possible immigration policies. Not even arguing against open borders. Simply arguing against the idea that open borders are right as a matter of principle whether the border is with Canada, Mexico, Albania, or Saudi Arabia.

  • robc||

    How is it not a right?

    If I own land, can I not travel to it? And am I not free to rent it to whomever I want, who is then free to travel to it?

  • sarcasmic||

    You don't remember that day when you did not make the decision to leave your home country for another country?

    Me neither.

    But apparently that inaction was an action that resulted in our signing the social contract in blood.

  • Bob_R||

    But apparently you do remember when a guy with a long white beard appeared on a cloud and said, "pull my finger," and out popped some stone tablets with all the natural laws written on them.

  • sarcasmic||

    Well, yeah. I mean, if you aren't a reasonable progressive who believes in the social contract, then you are an unreasonable religious conservative. Those are the only two options. There is nothing else. Only those two options. That's it. One of us or one of them.

  • SIV||

    On this blog's comments you are either a sniveling, mincing cosmotarian or a HitandRunpublican.

    NO MIDDLE GROUND

  • R C Dean||

    You left out the shreekatarian, of which there can be only one.

  • PM||

    of which there can be only one.

    May we all thank the deity of our choosing for that.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Natural law is just the expression of logic that any being capable of reasoning could deduce. Do you also sneer at the laws of physics, Bob?

  • CE||

    I bring the natural law, they bring a few government goons with weapons and metal detectors and rapiscanners. Seems like they tend to win.

  • sarcasmic||

    Natural law is derived from the principle of self ownership.

    Since you do not believe that a person owns themselves, who does?

  • John Galt||

    Seems self ownership is the one point without which the rest matter very little.

  • An0nB0t||

    Axiom. Self ownership is an axiom, not a principle.

  • ||

    Can't it be both? Can't some principles be axiomatic?

  • An0nB0t||

    Yeah, of course, but we need to use the strongest and clearest terminology possible given all of the dipshits running around saying that rights are purely social phenomenon and "don't really exist."

  • Ted S.||

    You don't remember that day when you did not make the decision to leave your home country for another country?

    USGov will still claim you're liable for some arbitrary amount of tax, even after you leave the US for another country. I don't think anybody agreed to that.

  • John Galt||

    This former US citizen YouTuber moved to Japan after losing everything on Wall Street:

    http://youtu.be/6xNRNbjNyR8?t=37s

    The IRS had no difficulty tracking him to the other side of the Pacific with a bill for taxes owed in the amount of $24,840,413 and 39 cents.

    Seems they've even developed ways to continue taxing citizens after their deaths. Chasing them to other countries is mere child's play.

  • robc||

    You don't remember that day when you did not make the decision to leave your home country for another country?

    Ive done that multiple times. Once even for a job.

    Switzerland at that time had an odd policy. I didnt need a visa or anything for the job. But I did to live there. In theory, I could have commuted from Germany every day (and it was close enough to do that) without a visa.

  • robc||

    Social contract theory is bullshit. I never signed said contract. Or even orally agreed to it.

  • Raven Nation||

    Unfortunately, you have benefited in some way from government actions and therefore have engaged in a de facto adherence to the social contract (or so the argument, apparently, goes).

  • robc||

    Fuck that shit. I take "free" stuff when available, that in no way commits me to anything.

    Look, its like the law that if someone mails me a product unsolicited, they cant then demand payment for it. You give me stuff, you take your chances.

    We could have citizenship contracts. The problem is, if they existed, the government would have to live up to the terms included in them, and they dont want that.

  • ||

    There's a great passage about that in Anarchy State and Utopia.

    The progressives would throw free shit at us and then use that as an excuse to demand payment.

    Not only that but they would use the fact that we've benefitted from random actions of past third parties as an excuse to make us pay THEM something for it in the present.

    The wind blew a 100 dollar bill into your yard, oops, you owe me money!
    A cow took a shit in your garden and now you have better tomatoes, pay me!

  • SIV||

    Your baby footprint says otherwise.

  • Rick Santorum||

    Let's import a bunch of unskilled second- and third-world statists. That will help the economy and FREEDOM.

    You're damn right you don't have a right to immigrate, though, unless you have a right to trespass on private property.

  • ||

    Or we could just mind our fucking business. Minding your fucking business is not the same thing as importing people. Do you see that, retard?

    You're damn right you don't have a right to immigrate, though, unless you have a right to trespass on private property.

    That's the most retarded thing since retards came to retardtown. Congratulations, you're retarded. Let's see, what part of immigration requires trespassing on private property? None.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Notice that through a curious omission, it can be deduced that Ricky doesn't care a whit about Euro-socialists coming here. They're the "right" kinda people.

    They says: "If you was white,
    You's alright,
    If you was brown,
    Stick around,
    But if you's black, oh, brother,
    Get back, get back, get back."
  • ||

    But don't call him a nativist!

  • Rick Santorum||

    But don't call him a nativist!

    I'm an out-and-proud nativist.

    Ricky doesn't care a whit about Euro-socialists coming here.

    I'm less concerned with a bunch of prissy Europeans immigrating, as they are more likely to assimilate into American culture.

  • hk||

    You're a creep. What matters is private property not yyour irrational fears.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    unless you have a right to trespass on private property.

    So you own my ranch on the border?

  • Libertarius||

    You don't own shit.

  • ||

    Yes. Let's militarize the border like we're a facist country and start rounding people up and deporting them. That will teach them the meaning of Liberty!

  • sarcasmic||

    Without the welfare state this wouldn't even be worth talking about.

  • Lord Humungus||

    exactly.

  • robc||

    With the welfare state this isnt even worth talking about.

    The existence of another wrong does not change the existence of another right.

  • sarcasmic||

    The welfare state enables immigrants to use the government to extort money for them.
    The existence of that wrong turns a right into a worse.

  • robc||

    No it doesnt. The right is still a right.

    We need to fix the wrong too, but that is unrelated.

  • sarcasmic||

    When immigrants on welfare cause taxes to go up, they are indeed related.

    When the welfare state allows Americans to collect welfare rather than work, creating a labor shortage requiring immigrants to fill, they are indeed related.

    Get rid of the welfare state and many of the arguments against open borders evaporate.

  • PM||

    Get rid of the welfare state and many every single one of the arguments against open borders evaporate.

    FIFY

  • sarcasmic||

    There would still be those who argue that those dirty foreigners are polluting our language and culture, or that inferior foreign trained professionals are not as good as Americans.
    Nativists will always find some excuse to restrict immigration.

  • PM||

    Okay, I should have said every single legitimate argument against open borders evaporates.

  • sarcasmic||

    I can buy that.

  • Libertarius||

    But it doesn't. Open immigration in the absence of a welfare state? Great! But there's still the fact of national security, you put up a fence to secure your borders and to know what people are trying to bring into your country.

  • hk||

    No you don't my property doesn't need borders, maybe your property does that's your issue.

  • ||

    Thank you!

    The fact that the welfare state exists cannot justify depriving other people of their liberty.

    You can't be a libertarian and then say "oh but the welfare state so, I guess we'll have to be a bunch of facists about the border! Papers please! Not practical to be anything but a facist now!"

  • sarcasmic||

    Apparently you missed my point.

    I'm saying that without the welfare state this wouldn't be worth talking about, meaning that if there wasn't a welfare state, those who oppose immigration would have fewer arguments against it.

  • ||

    The walfare state isn't going anywhere soon. So does that mean we shouldn't support liberalizing immigration laws?

  • sarcasmic||

    As long as the government grants immigrants the power to extort money from taxpayers, I cannot support liberalizing immigration laws.

  • PM||

    You and that fascist cunt Ron Paul both...

  • ||

    The government grants you the power to get free medical care at emergency rooms. Therefore, I can force you to buy health insurance?

  • PM||

    The government grants you the power to get free medical care at emergency rooms. Therefore, I can force you to buy health insurance?

    According to congress and the supreme court, yes.

  • SIV||

    Is there some legislative proposal to liberalize immigration laws that won't involve arbitrary restrictions, quotas and fascistic border policies?

  • ||

    Let's support more facism because less facism is still facism.

  • PM||

    Let's set up a dilemma between exactly two choices because no others exist.

  • ||

    You mean like "you can have a welfare state or open borders, but not both"?

  • PM||

    There is a difference between a constructed false dilemma and an actual dilemma arising from the clashing of two mutually incompatible ideologies. I'd be fascinated to hear your proposal for marrying the modern welfare state with open borders, particularly from a libertarian perspective (utilitarian or deontological - you've got your work cut out either way).

  • SIV||

    If we're debating actual policy proposals open borders isn't on the table.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Open borders isn't happening any time soon. So, does that mean we shouldn't support removing the welfare state?

  • West Texas||

    THIS RIGHT HERE

    In a vacuum, I don't give a shit about nativist sentiments. I don't give a shit about where the guy mowing my lawn or taping my drywall was born. I want the best price.

    But if the fruits of my labor are going to be confiscated from me and put into programs designed to "improve society" - welfare payments, infrastructure, schools - then goddamit, I demand a say in what that society looks like and who gets to benefit from my money.

    So, really, restore my basic natural rights to property and I'll concede some of these others.

  • West Texas||

    That was intended for Sarcasmic.

  • robc||

    It is nested right under sarcasmic, you did it right.

  • robc||

    Rights are rights.

    The fact that we are getting fucked by the welfare state doesnt change the rights of others to move here.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Why does the "right" of people to move here trump the sovereignty of the people already here?

  • robc||

    It doesnt.

    I have the same amount of sovereignty regardless of immigration.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    So when taxes go up to cover the additional expenses, my rights haven't been impacted?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    So when taxes go up to cover the additional expenses, my rights haven't been impacted?

    I dunno. Are you being taxed without representation?

  • sarcasmic||

    Are you being taxed without representation?

    I can predict the outcome of an election by taking the inverse of my ballot.

    Yes I am represented, but not by a person of my choosing.

  • R C Dean||

    I dunno, either. Are you saying that mob rule trumps rights?

  • ||

    It doesn't. If nobody wants to hire them, or rent them apartments, or sell them food, they should be free to do so.

  • PM||

    If nobody wants to hire them, or rent them apartments, or sell them food, they should be free to do so.

    Hmmm, sounds like public accommodation to me. Did you forget that since 1964 you don't have free association rights if you are in the public accommodation business?

  • ||

    So the government violates one group of people's rights. I guess the only way to fix that is to violate a bunch of other people's rights too.

    You have to fight statism with statism.

  • SIV||

    Is there any legislative proposal to "reform" immigration policies that reduces statism?

  • PM||

    Right, that's exactly what I said. Let's not address your massive oversight or ignorance of an existing restriction of rights that makes your theoretical scenario impossible. HURRRRR STATISM DURRRRRR.

  • ||

    Liberty is so impractical. I guess we should do away with it.

  • sarcasmic||

    The welfare state and open borders are incompatible because the welfare state creates an incentive to cross the border for the purpose of going onto the dole.

    I thought libertarians understood incentives.

  • ||

    The fact that there are perverse incentives caused by the welfare state doesn't justify restricting people's liberty to live and work where they choose.

    You don't fight statism with more statism.

  • sarcasmic||

    You don't fight statism with more statism.

    Fine then! Open the borders and allow anyone to go onto the dole! Great idea! Give them all free room and board, free health care, free college, free everything! Woo hoo! What could possibly go wrong?

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    You don't fight statism with more statism.

    Yeah, unfortunately, sometimes you do.

    When labor laws screw up the market with how it treats unionization, sometimes the best that can be done is minimize the impact via right-to-work legislation, because it isn't currently feasible to root out the underlying cause of the problem. It's not ideal, but it makes a bad situation less bad.

    Similarly, it's not currently feasible to root out the welfare state, but it can be made less bad by attempting to exclude additional recipients. Again, not ideal, but we're stuck with the situation we have, not the one we want.

  • ||

    The people impacted by immigration laws are innocent third parties. Not the people who created the welfare state or who benefit from it. Right-to-work laws aren't impacting anyone that isn't involved in a labor agreement.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Because people just wanting to work aren't innocent parties?

    Regardless, sometimes we do fight statism with statism to make a bad situation not as bad, even if that's not the metaphysically perfect solution. No matter how firmly you state your conclusion as fact.

  • PM||

    You realize that repeating the non-sequitur over and over again does not confer it with additional legitimacy, correct?

  • ||

    You realize that you havn't explained why your preferred policies aren't more statism, right?

  • sarcasmic||

    You realize that you havn't explained why your preferred policies aren't more statism, right?

    Way to build a straw man.

    The preferred policy is no welfare state. That way open borders isn't much of an issue. In light of the fact that there is a welfare state that isn't going anywhere anytime soon, it is best to not make the welfare state worse by bringing in millions and millions of new recipients.

    Freedom to travel ends when it turns into the power to coerce.

  • ||

    Youre preferred policy is "oh well since we can't get rid of the welfare state, I guess we'll just have to support X, Y and Z restrictions on the liberty of a whole bunch of people who have nothing to do with the welfare satet."

  • sarcasmic||

    Youre preferred policy is...

    I like the overalls on the straw man. Nice touch.

  • PM||

    Nope, good try, but that's the still same strawman. You can't wrap your mind around the idea that a person could support dismantling the welfare state and opening the borders, and at the same time have practical concerns about expanding the pool of people able to pick his pocket. Sometimes an objectively good policy can have really bad practical implications given the context in which it is implemented.

    Another good example of this is means testing social security and medicare. I would prefer that neither program exist and that they be privatized, phasing in immediately. Absent that, I'd rather deprive Mitt Romney of his guaranteed benefits so I'm not paying 40% of my wages to the program in 20 years. My preferred option isn't on the table.

  • ||

    Freedom to travel ends when it turns into the power to coerce.

    But they didn't ASK FOR the power to coerce, we, or rather some third parties in our country gave them that power. There is no guarentee or mandate that they use it.

    But you want to use that as a pretext to restrict their liberty. Innocent third parties who didn't ask for and didn't create the power that other people in our country gave them.

  • sarcasmic||

    I see. Intentions trump results. Got it.

  • PM||

    There is no guarentee or mandate that they use it.

    PPACA. Payroll taxes (which, after a period of time, mandate your eligibility to collect a benefit). Minimum wage. Public accommodation. There's plenty of mandated burdens your fellow Americans, legal or otherwise, impose upon you.

  • ||

    PPACA.

    Ahh. I see. You support laws the restrict the kind of food you eat because it imposes costs upon me, then.

  • PM||

    Absolutely. Because pointing out that those mandates exist when you said that they didn't means I fully support them 100%.

    In other headlines, HazelMeade reels in record breaking red herring!

  • hk||

    So we need to restrict burger king and mcdonalds since we have public healthcare.

    Shut the fuck up, reason libertarians are so weak.

  • SIV||

    So you wholly support the current bipartisan Senate proposal for comprehensive immigration reform.
    I'll remember that and hold you to it.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Absolutely. Statism has a way of turning just about everything into a pissing match over free shit.

  • squarooticus||

    That "freedom pass" image is pure gold. LOL. What tiny percentage of people looking at it will get the irony?

  • ||

    The immigration laws are totally all about domestic labor wanting to keep out competition.
    What they forget is that we're in a world market and employers are not a captive market for their labor. If they can't hire cheap labor here, they will produce goods overseas and import them.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Ha! Union thugs and their government cronies are already at work figuring out how to destroy the free market and keep employers captive.

    Because that works, you know. Entrepreneurs will engage in enterprise under any conditions.

    Totally.

    You doubt me?!?

  • nicole||

    Entrepreneurs gonna entreprendre.

  • Raven Nation||

    On that point, I think there have been great (but quiet) efforts to keep down visa & green cars for people with IT & programming skills despite a shortage of people with such skills.

  • ||

    There are always great efforts to keep down visas and greed cards, for everyone, in every profession.
    Immigrants can't vote, domestic labor can. Employers who want to hire foreign labor are a minority.

    The cards are inevitably stacked against immigrants no matter what field they are in by that simple fact. It doesn't require any concerted effort, it's the natural result of politicians doing what will get them the most votes.

    The only reason that immigration reform has become an issue right now is because the Democrats think they can make 10 million new Democratic voters overnight.

    That's why this "reform" effort is all about the "path to citizenship" for illegal aliens, and completely NOT about actually reforming the immigration laws. There's is literally NOTHING in either proposal that attempts to do anything about the stringent labor certification requirements.

  • R C Dean||

    There are always great efforts to keep down visas and greed cards,

    What is this, RC'z Law Day? Why didn't anyone tell me?

  • SIV||

    That's why this "reform" effort is all about the "path to citizenship" for illegal aliens, and completely NOT about actually reforming the immigration laws. There's is literally NOTHING in either proposal that attempts to do anything about the stringent labor certification requirements.

    I missed this earlier. We probably actually agree for the most part on immigration.

  • PM||

    I agree wholeheartedly with the quoted portion as well. Which is what makes it so bizarre that she proceeds to excoriate as racists or nativists anyone who doesn't support the current proposals that she admits do not address either the moral or practical dysfunctions of the current system.

  • ||

    I've never excorciated anyone as a nativist or a racist.

    Un-libertarian and hyporcritical, yes.

    The problem is that the opponents of the current immigration proposals (bad as they are) are in fact advocating even GREATER restrictions on liberty. I don't see you out there arguing in favor of eliminating the labor certification requirement. I see you arguing that immigration laws should not be loosened until the welfare state is totally dismantled. Which is IMO, unlibertarian and hypocritical. You can't use the welfare state as a pretext for violating other people's rights.

  • PM||

    The problem is that the opponents of the current immigration proposals (bad as they are) are in fact advocating even GREATER restrictions on liberty.

    Nope. That's actually incorrect. That's the false dilemma that you have constructed in order to assert the superiority of your moral judgment on the prioritization of rights, which has been the crux of the problem with your argumentation this entire thread. This is in the realm of T o n y level idiocy where rejecting increases in the tax rate is construed as advocating for an anarchist state where the children who aren't in slave labor camps are ground up and made into dog food.

    You can't use the welfare state as a pretext for violating other people's rights.

    The welfare state in itself is a violation of people's rights. The current state of labor law is a violation of people's rights. Addressing those rights violations would make it much more practically viable to address immigration. But that doesn't matter much to you, because you, the arbiter of all libertarianism, have declared that immigration rights are a higher priority than the rights already violated by the state that were prime drivers of the immigration problem in the first place. Failing to agree with you doesn't make anyone a hypocrite or un-libertarian, and fuck you for saying so.

  • sarcasmic||

    Failing to agree with you doesn't make anyone a hypocrite or un-libertarian, and fuck you for saying so.

    Hear hear!

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Amen

  • GroundTruth||

    BRAVO!

    And while we're at it, let's recognize that the government has no authority to tell anyone, including those of us born here, that we can not travel, or work, or open a bank account, without governmentally issued identification.

    Thank you Judge for so clearly stating what I want to say!

    BRAVO!!!

  • PM||

    Great point. For instance, if my cousin Achmed wants to come stay at my place in Florida and engage in some private commerce with the local flight academy and fertilizer store, fuck any nativist cunt who would deny him that right! If my brother in law Julio Enrique Petro Fiesto is a little short of bread, what's the harm in letting him stay at my place in Arizona with that tunnel under the garage? Shit, that tunnel's so small, a 12 year old kid could barely fit in it! And who gives a damn if dear aunt Flo has that weird "cold" that hasn't gone away after 5 years. She has a natural human right to jump on a plane and come work in my restaurant. Only a racist or communist could possibly disagree. Everybody from Moses, to Jesus, to George Washington to Black Jesus agrees! What kind of totalitarian government would make policy based on such trivialities? Goddamn xenophobes...

  • The Derider||

    Does the freedom to travel trump the rights of private property owners to restrict access to their land?
    For example, let's say you own a piece of property that is completely surrounded by property owned by someone else. You cannot access your property without crossing their property. If they wish to excercise their right to restrict access through their property, does their right to do so supersede your right to travel freely?

  • ||

    It's called an easement dipshit.

  • PM||

    You do realize an easement is a privilege, right?

  • R C Dean||

    Actually, technically, its not. Easements are property rights, privileges are not.

  • PM||

    In the common law sense of the term, I guess. I'd argue it's hardly properly understood as a "right" at all since it can be revoked or modified in many cases (I very nearly purchased a huge legal headache that way). My deeded property lines don't change if road access changes, for example, but my easement "rights" might. And when granted by government fiat rather than private contract, easement "rights" become a property right abuse, IMO.

  • The Derider||

    Easements are voluntary. Non-responsive.

  • ||

    Despite the name, necessity alone is an insufficient claim to create any easement. Parcels without access to a public way may have an easement of access over adjacent land if crossing that land is absolutely necessary to reach the landlocked parcel and there has been some original intent to provide the lot with access, but the grant was never completed or recorded but thought to exist. A court order is necessary to determine the existence of an easement by necessity. To obtain this generally the party who claims the easement files a lawsuit and the judge weighs the relative damage caused by enforcing an easement against the servient estate against the damage to the dominant estate if the easement is found not to exist and thus landlocked. Because this method of creating an easement requires imposing a burden (the easement) upon another party for the benefit of the landlocked owner, the court looks to the original circumstances in weighing the relative apportionment of benefit and burden to both lots in making its equitable determination whether such easement shall be created by the court.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easement#Creation

  • The Derider||

    Ok, so you don't in fact think that private property rights allow you to restrict access through your land, and you trust the state to make accurate and fair determinations about who can and cannot make use of that access.

    In other words, you think the right to travel freely trumps the absolute right to private property, and believe that state power should enforce that hierarchy.

  • ||

    Except that every citizen of our nation has a share of ownership in that surrounding property. If we both have a share of ownership, why does your share trump mine in deciding who can cross that property?

  • PM||

    Tragedy of the commons? How do you solve that dilemma? Private ownership, queuing or voting are the customary methods. Of the three, privatizing the border is the only one that really resolves anything. In which case it ceases to be a border and you have no delineated state.

  • The Derider||

    And if the border is privatized, the same conflict arises-- do the rights of that private property owner to restrict access trump the rights of people to travel through that property?

  • PM||

    In the case of private property the answer is an easy "yes" - the rights of the property owner trump the rights of others to use his property for any purpose. Unless an easement has been previously deeded or is granted by the owner, as we discussed above.

  • The Derider||

    So really, the right to travel isn't a natural right, anymore than the right to food is a natural right, in that both rights would infringe on private property rights?

    You might be able to contract for easement rights, or food, but they aren't free and you aren't entitled to them.

  • PM||

    You've confused the right to travel with the right to violate someone else's property. They aren't the same thing.

  • The Derider||

    But they can easily be in conflict, as my example makes clear.

  • ||

    I was responding to his example, but I don't think border lines are the same as property lines. The national border doesn't determine ownership of the land, it determines the boundaries of government power over the lives of the people. But that government power only has a limited amount of legitimate uses, and government licensing of immigrants isn't a legitimate use.

  • PM||

    True enough, I was just pointing out the ways of addressing the issue of collective rights to a particular resource.

    government licensing of immigrants isn't a legitimate use.

    Perhaps not licensing, but "filtering" of immigrants is a legitimate use of government, IMO - part of the defense function. I'd like there to be some way to differentiate between some guy making a delivery of oil from Canada or Mexico and a guy driving in a fertilizer bomb in a Uhaul truck with designs on my backyard, for example. Or to ensure I'm not exposed to a lethal pandemic.

  • ||

    Except our immigration laws aren't designed to keep out guys driving fertilizer bombs, they are designed to keep out people who might compete for jobs with domestic laborers. As if domestic laborers have a right to prevent employers from employing certain people.

  • PM||

    Cool story bro. Because that's exactly what I was talking about...

  • ||

    Except that's exactly what you just said:

    I'd like there to be some way to differentiate between some guy making a delivery of oil from Canada or Mexico and a guy driving in a fertilizer bomb in a Uhaul truck with designs on my backyard, for example.
  • PM||

    Uh, no. That I think philosophically that border maintenance falls under the security function of a state has fuck all to do with our current immigration laws or the movement of labor. Can you spot where you went wrong introducing a dilemma where none exists?

  • The Derider||

    So the right to travel is a natural right when you're seeking employment, but not when you're seeking to engage in terrorism?

    Why does intent matter?

  • rrgg||

    You can have open immigration ("right to travel") or a social welfare system.

    Choose one.

    The problem is those 2 are in conflict if you choose both. You can argue the right to travel is a fundamental right, but you cannot argue the latter. Years ago the US did not guarantee hospital treatment, did not have earned income credit payments for non-citizens, did not have extensive welfare or even social security among other things.

  • rrgg||

    If people think the US is somehow restrictive on immigration, take a look at some immigration numbers around the world and compare them to the relative size and population of each country: http://peoplemov.in/

  • ||

    Right, because other countries are more statist than us is justification for our own statism.

  • Shazia Khan||

    Please explain why I, as a libertarian should be concerned about the fiscal vitality of the welfare state? The faster it collapses the better so far as I'm concerned. And please, spare me the bogus argument about how it's unfair to have some people living off of others (i.e. immigrants using welfare programs they never paid into). Newsflash: the government isn't giving you a refund check for all the immigrants that never come and thus don't use welfare. They will always find something to spend money on. And they don't even have to raise taxes to fund their wet dreams, they can borrow all day every day and pass the bill on to someone else (who likely hasn't been born yet).

    So yeah, I see no real benefit to restricting immigration. None. You'd give up freedom of movement for an imaginary savings for your wallet.

  • PM||

    Please explain why I, as a libertarian should be concerned about the fiscal vitality of the welfare state? The faster it collapses the better so far as I'm concerned

    Same reason you should care whether or not the guy who stole your car and threw you in the trunk is a good driver: ultimately, you're the one who's going to suffer the consequences for it.

  • Shazia Khan||

    I don't want the welfare state to be saved. I want it to be abolished. Saying we can save money on social programs if we restrict immigration doesn't appeal to me.

  • PM||

    It's not a matter of wanting the welfare state saved, it's a matter of how much of your money you are willing to watch go down the toilet waiting (probably in futility) for it to die. If that's not of any concern to you, then mazel tov on your financial success and asset diversification. Not everyone is so lucky.

  • The Derider||

    You could always excercise your right to travel and leave.

  • sarcasmic||

    And here I thought Tony was the King of the Derps.

  • PM||

    Doesn't help me much when I have to pay an expatriation tax, does it dipshit?

  • The Derider||

    I don't think you have more than 2 million in assets, so you can leave our socialist shithole any time you want without paying any more taxes.

    Freedom is calling!

  • ||

    Sorry, but I don't restrict other people's liberty just because some third party wants to tax me to give them free shit.

  • sarcasmic||

    Liberty means coercion. Got it.

  • ||

    According to you. Your liberty entails restricting other people's liberty because some third party wants to violate your rights.

    Bob steals my car, and make it a community vehicle. Therefore I have the right to stop you from gettting a driver's license, because that might enable you to use it.

  • sarcasmic||

    Why do you want to expand the welfare state?

    Seriously.

    Why?

    Why do you want to put millions and millions more people on the dole?

    Why do you want to encourage having children out of wedlock, dependency on government, and the higher taxes to pay for it?

    Why do you want those things?

    Because, unless you first dismantle the welfare state, that's what open borders mean.

    So tell me, why do you want to teach bastard children to depend on the state while raising taxes on everyone?

    Please explain.

  • ||

    You sure are one to talk about strawmen.

  • sarcasmic||

    Are you telling me that that will not be the result of open borders and a welfare state?

    You may have different intentions, but that is what the result will be.

    I thought libertarians valued results over intentions.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Theoretically, you could do open borders with a fifteen year moratorium on welfare services from the date of residence. And if you die in the street...oh well.

  • sarcasmic||

    And if you die in the street...oh well.

    Ever heard of private charity?

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Fine with me. Heck, I might even donate myself. But, the concern about social service spending for immigrants tends to be one of the major sticking points on the issue. Fine, let's take it off the table. You can make a strong case for a right to immigrate. You can't for a right to free shit.

  • PM||

    The carpenter ants that are nesting in my home and ruining the structural wood didn't build the building or grow the mold that attracted them there. What right do I have to consider the practical implications of their nesting in my floor joists? I brought it on myself!

  • GroundTruth||

    PM, you assume that everyone coming here unofficially is a criminal. If I believed that, then I'd have to give up the presumption of innocence in all matters and go back to the concept of original sin.

    Yes, bad people may come in, but we seem to be doing a pretty good job of raising our own home-grown crop of those too.

  • PM||

    Not at all, I'm just saying that without any border function whatsoever you have no way of knowing, and I think it's one of the few responsibilities of the state to ensure that bad guys aren't coming from another country to blow my ass up. Call me statist.

  • Brandybuck||

    Clearly The Judge is not a True Libertarian™! As we learned here in the Halls of Hit&Run;, the True Libertarian™ position on immigration is to keep the brown horde out! We cannot begin the process of dismantling the welfare state until every one of those indistinguishable brown people are driven from our lands.

  • PM||

    But if the herp is derpa herp derp, then who hurrrrs the durrr?

  • ||

    White separatists generally live in a racial enclave. Families fleeing from inner city violence are glad to rent an apartment in a place where the crime rate is next to zero. But to their shock the greedy property owners charge rentals that are so high that the frightened families are forced to accept the offer and have to cut back on their food.

  • Brandybuck||

    Holy Hemorrhoids Batman! There sure a lot of ignorant people out this morning! It's like they think illegal immigrants are actually receiving welfare payments!

    1865 Nativtarian [wringing hands with great concern]: "We can't possibly free the slaves, they would just overburden our welfare state. Get rid of welfare, and Lincoln's mercantilism, and that abominable tariff, and then, only then, can we discuss the possibility of a limited guest-slave-worker program. But absolutely no form of amnesty for those who ran away! We can't reward the lawbreakers!"

  • sarcasmic||

    This may come as a shock to you, but there was no welfare state in 1865.

  • PM||

    Also, slavery = long wait times to legally immigrate. For as much as Brandybuck likes to show his solidarity with the "brown people", I'd recommend keeping that shit to yourself when you're with your colored friends.

  • Mad Hungarian||

    All I got from this article is that Napolitano doesn't know the difference between travel and immigration.

  • DarrenM||

    If the government can restrain the freedom to travel on the basis of an immutable characteristic of birth, there is no limit to the restraints it can impose.

    Now that's just silly.

  • GroundTruth||

    You're right, government being able to restrain any freedom is just silly. And wrong.

  • DarrenM||

    Will those who immigrate be more or less likely to support libertarian positions? If less likely and you support increased (if not uncontrolled) immigration, liberty (as defined by libertarians) for others will be sacrificed just so you can retain your ideological purity.

  • Rick Santorum||

    Lol @ all this nonsense. Libertarians have Asperger's and are more concerned with pissing themselves over MUH LIBERTY without taking into consideration the real-world consequences of such positions.

    Will importing more immigrants result in heightened racial tensions and a solid bloc of Democrat voters? Yes. Now shut up and deal with it.

  • kbolino||

    "Open borders" does not (necessarily) mean:

    1. Open citizenship. I have no problem with making citizenship something difficult to obtain, as long as "life, liberty, and property" are respected without regard to whether one is a citizen or not.

    2. Free welfare to all. If we are to have a social welfare system, we ought to be free to restrict it in the manner we see fit (within reason, drink), such as only making it available to citizens, or only to residents of at least X years, or to the intersection of both groups.

    3. Subsidized immigration. The granting of specific types of visas and other incentives to specific types of individuals is just favoritism by elites. Whether you are the next Einstein or the most you can muster is day labor, you have the same freedom of movement.

    4. Endorsement of radical "demographic" change. Just as no one should be forced not to hire non-citizens, no one should be forced to hire non-citizens. You can substitute various other verbs like "enroll in schools", "provide aid to", etc. for "hire". Remove artificial incentives, and immigration rates will reach equilibrium quickly.

    5. Increasing the voter rolls (esp. of a particular party). Voting is tied to citizenship, and that should definitely be enforceable. I have zero problem with voter ID laws, with the only caveat being that you should be able to get one free ID from the state in any voting year.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "they have the natural right to come here, and the government has no moral right to interfere with any of these freely made decisions."

    Universalism cuts both way.

    If everyone has the same natural rights, do they also have the same natural responsibilities? If the US should be border free, does that apply both ways? Should the US equally enforce the natural responsibilities of everyone everywhere? Assert jurisdiction over the world, and tax and regulate everyone?

    The premise of the Declaration of Independence is that a group of people institute a government by ceding *their* power, to a government of, by, and for *them*.

    If you're an anarchist, you'll reject the authority of the state entirely. Ok, you don't really believe in nation states or citizenship. But if you do, be consistent; assert that people have the responsibilities of citizens when you assert that they have the rights of citizens.

  • kbolino||

    If everyone has the same natural rights, do they also have the same natural responsibilities?

    There is no such thing as the latter, except the obligation to respect the former.

    If the US should be border free, does that apply both ways?

    The US will never be "border-free" even if somehow manages to rule the entire planet; in that case, its borders would be "the surface of the Earth, plus as much surrounding space as can be reached by spacecraft launched from it".

    Should the US equally enforce the natural responsibilities of everyone everywhere? Assert jurisdiction over the world, and tax and regulate everyone?

    A government is charged with enforcing its responsibilities only where there exist those who have agreed to allow it to do so.

    The premise of the Declaration of Independence is that a group of people institute a government by ceding *their* power, to a government of, by, and for *them*.

    Indeed, but nonesuch still live. We who live presently under the jurisdiction of the United States government are not "they" but rather their "posterity" in the sense that we continue to choose to live under the arrangement they established.

    (more)

  • kbolino||

    But if you do, be consistent; assert that people have the responsibilities of citizens when you assert that they have the rights of citizens.

    A right is "that which belongs to all living things, except for the imposition of force by others". Citizens of any polity possess no greater rights than non-citizens, and indeed citizenship itself is not a right but rather a political privilege.

    The right of free movement is not a right to free citizenship. As a political construct, the terms of citizenship may be dictated by whomever holds power over the dictionary. In our polity, this means representatives in Congress and by extension citizens who vote for them.

    While any country may choose to do as it will with individuals regardless of their citizenship status, as the premise of this country is the protection of natural rights, the possession of citizenship or the lack thereof ought to be irrelevant to that mission.

    Should that change, then the entire premise upon which you postulated, that we give up some small measure of our rights to protect a much larger measure, ceases to be applicable: the measure of what was surrendered has been altered, and so the contract has been voided.

    Or so the theory goes.

  • kbolino||

    Threaded comments, squirrels, yadda yadda.

  • Babylonandon||

    The one thing I would challenge the Judge with on this is to ask - should we freely countenance the immigration of people who are educated and encouraged BY THEIR OWN GOVERNMENT to come here in the belief that much of OUR country was stolen from them and whose stated goal is to take it all back?

  • kbolino||

    The re-annexation of the Gadsden purchase, coming to a conspiracy theorist near you!

  • Federale||

    You can't have free immigration and a welfare state. Nor can you have free immigration in a world of Muslim terrorism.

  • Captain Kirk||

    I understand where Reason is coming from in support of free movement across borders. The problem, is that here in the real world, not all peoples share the same values, they do not all respect the same traditions. Statistically, Latino voters in the US (most being from Mexico), vote Democratic 75% of the time. Democrats are not exactly representing libertarian ideals. In this, Libertarians' support of open borders to further the cause of libertarianism, will actually harm the spread of liberty. Because eventually, with these massive shifts in demographics, there will be a perpetual democratic majority. A perpetual democratic president. The two-party machine will morph forever into a one-party machine. All this talk of natural law. Natural law was the brainchild of Anglos. I do not see very much support for those ideals coming from non Anglos. Mexico is not a bastion of liberty, it is a haven for the corrupt, the state, and is home to rampant poverty. We don't need to import that here.

  • kbolino||

    How many aliases does it take to spout the same racist nonsense?

  • SpartanGirl||

    I want Judge Napolitano to make this speech in Mexico where people who enter illegally get thrown in jail.

  • nsmith@inhisimage.org||

    This is an interesting article. I've never thought of immigration in this way, as simply freedom to travel. I always took border enforcement and immigration law as a given and a proper role of government, not that I've ever been under the impression that we have done a good job with it in the US.

  • jello77||

    Here is a thought experiment:

    Suppose Judge Napolitano owns a Texas ranch of 500 acres (slightly larger than the nation of Monaco). The ranch is surrounded by a high fence and secure gates. Now suppose this ranch becomes an independent nation named Napolitania. If a poor Mexican family shows up at the gate and says they want to exercise their "natural right" to immigrate to the nation of Napolitania, what would Judge Napolitano say to them?

    Does the Judge have a right to exclude them on the libertarian principle of private property?

    If the answer is yes, that leads to this question:

    Suppose the property of each of the 300 million citizens of the USA became independent nations. Then they decide to merge their nations into a single nation. Does the act of merging remove the right to exclude outsiders from their private property?

  • Tak Kak||

    "The natural law is a term used to refer to human rights that all persons possess by virtue of our humanity."

    Being human isn't a virtue, you're just born that way.

  • DenverJay||

    Well, this article is a month old, so forgive me for not reading all of the comments, there are quite a few. I do want to point out one fact though, if it hasn't already been stated. Labor is a resource, obeying the normal laws of supply and demand. If the market is flooded with cheap labor, then the price of labor will fall. This means that if our country is flooded with cheap labor from Mexico, i.e. hard working people who are willing to work for minimum wage or less, then American workers' wages will fall. I understand the libertarian impulse towards open borders, but am amazed by self-called free market enthusiasts' blind spot to this basic economic reality. If the whole world was a free, vibrant economic zone, then immigration would not be a problem. But when you expect American workers to compete with underpaid workers from Mexico, China, or wherever, then your ideology comes into conflict with reality.

  • Imarightwingextremist||

    Andrew Napolitano’s article, “Immigration Is a Natural Right” misunderstands the “right to travel” by confusing natural rights – based on Natural Law theory and the libertarian doctrine of fundamental human rights.

    In the article Napolitano states, “The right to travel is an ndividual personal human right”. Now, if he means that the right to travel is a fundamental human right as defined by libertarian doctrine then he is surely in error, as I will explain below.

    In libertarian doctrine it is clear that personal “rights” have meaning only in the context of the prohibitory relationship between the state and the people. One’s fundamental human rights inhere in those things that the state may not do to you or your property. One’s fundamental human rights are in this sense purely negative.

    Other theories of human rights do exist in which human rights are positive rather than negative. These theories of positive human rights include as human rights such things as the right to healthcare, housing, education, a job, and so forth, but these theories of positive human rights are completely alien to libertarian thought.

    The forgoing understanding of the negative nature of fundamental human rights should also be applied to our understanding of our Constitutional rights which are in essence prohibitions on the coercive power of the state.

    I will develop this analysis further in my next post.

  • Imarightwingextremist||

    Further comment on Napolitano's article.

    Could it be an oversight by the Founders that the Constitution does not have provisions for the exercise of state power outside the boundaries of the United States – except the war-making power? Or is there in this an inner logic opposed to Napolitano’s argument on immigration and the freedom to travel?

    A closer look at his formulation of fundamental human rights immediately shows the error.

    “Our fundamental human rights are not conditioned or even conditionable on the laws or traditions of the place where our mothers were physically located when we were born. They are not attenuated because our mothers were not in the United States at the moment of our births.”

    Napolitano has taken the (negative and prohibitory) human rights relationship between the person and the state and applied it outside the context in which the definition has any meaning.

    The human rights Napolitano is focused on exist only in the context of the prohibitory relationship of the person to the state. The question of fundamental human rights only exists where the state’s negative prohibitory power is present.

    Where there is no context of state power versus personhood there is also no context for discussing fundamental human rights in relation to that state.

    I will complete this analysis in my next (and last) comment on this article.

  • Imarightwingextremist||

    This is the last part of my three part comment on Andrew Napolitano’s article, “Immigration Is a Natural Right”

    There can therefore be no issue of fundamental human rights or Constitutional rights for people who are outside the boundaries of the United States. Accordingly, people outside the physical boundaries of the United States may be prevented from entering this country without offending libertarian principles of fundamental human rights.

    The confusion of Natural Law rights (and obligations) with libertarian fundamental human rights is the basis for the confusion in Napolitano’s argument.

    There is an important lesson to be learned. Natural law theory is a corrosive influence inside the libertarian movement. The principles of natural law vitiate libertarianism and if allowed to go unchallenged will hamper libertarianism’s future prospects.

    I hope that this comment has persuaded you that libertarian thought is perfectly comfortable with strongly defended national borders and regulation of immigration. It follows that the libertarian movement can happily make common cause with traditional conservatives to whom these issues are paramount.

  • J_West||

    Question: Should illegal aliens have a right to vote?

    If your answer is "yes," then what you are saying is that citizenship has no meaning. If people who break US law to enter the country can then vote in elections, then it effectively says there is absolutely no point in anyone obeying the rules. If so, then what right has the government to expect actual citizens to obey its laws?

    If your answer is "no," then the USA will end up with a massive immigrant demographic with no stake in the system. And that demographic will be either exploited for cheap labor, or will turn to radical political activism.

    Either outcome will pit the illegal immigrants against existing citizens and legal residents. Which is the goal of elites: to play off a newly created underclass (illegal immigrants) against the middle (citizens/legal residents). If you do not believe this, look at the mass demonstrations of "undocumented" workers and their allies which have taken to the streets in the USA.

    Ultimately, it is elites who benefit from mass illegal immigration, and when elites have their power enhanced, it means less liberty for the rest of us. This is one reason that corporate foundations dump large amounts of money into race based groups such as La Raza and MALDEF. The creation of a massive underclass of cheap laborers with little stake in the system is the desired outcome.

    How's that working for the cause of liberty?

  • J_West||

    Second question: how many illegal immigrants support either the Libertarian Party, small "l" libertarians, or small government conservatives?

    I can tell you from experience that the vast majority of the "undocumented" support the Democrats. The same Democrats who promote the welfare state, affirmative action, higher taxes, more redistribution of income, and criminalization of dissent under the aegis of political correctness.

    The thing is, this issue can not be discussed as some abstract question. It has to be related to the real world. And in the real world, American citizens are losing their liberties.

    For example: affirmative action. Libertarians are opposed in principle to affirmative action. But many illegal immigrants will qualify for affirmative action, meaning non-citizens will gain a legal privilege over citizens.

    Or censorship. Under existing "diversity" guidelines, the use of terms such as "illegal alien" may be deemed "insensitive" and can subject the user to various forms of Sanction. Which means non-citizens can censor the speech of citizens.

    How's all that working for the cause of liberty?

  • JSebastian||

    The US is the home and the land of the American people, who have a collective right to the territory of the US. A collective right is not the same as an individual right, in that you don't have sole control over it.

    The government is a collective, but so is a corporation. Is Andrew suggesting that corporations have no property rights either? A corporation is just a legal entity that represents the interests of various individuals. Surely those individuals have inviolate property rights? I ask you, What is the difference between a group of individuals, or even a single individual, holding the inviolate right to property, and the government, or any other corporate entity, having that same right?

    Take the example of the US border. If the government says you must have our permission to cross, they are exercising the right over the property they hold in trust and administer for the benefit of the people. If an individual owned that border property instead, you could have exactly the same effect...the owner could exercise that same control.

    Immigration is not a natural right because you can have no natural rights to something that is the natural right of another. In this case, an immigrant has no natural right to American property, because it is the property of another. There is no right to enter or occupy the property of another without their consent. Therefore, there is no right to immigration.

  • Travel Center||

    Whether or not we have a cradle to grave welfare state or not, you can't spout a rhetorical defense of liberty and then turn around and support the oppressive bullshit that is the current immigration system.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online