American Revolution

Immigration and the Principles of the Declaration of Independence

The principles of the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution justify free migration rights.

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The Declaration of Independence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Millions of people around the world know the stirring words of the Declaration of Independence announcing that "all men are created equal" and that they have the rights to "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." But relatively few know that, among the grievances the Declaration enumerates as justification for renouncing allegiance to King George III is the following:

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither….

This complaint against the King was aimed at a series of royal orders issued in  1772 and 1773, which forbade the colonies from naturalizing aliens, banned the passage of any laws facilitating that purpose, including laws promoting migration, and overrode a North Carolina law exempting immigrants from Europe from taxation for a period of four years.

It's tempting dismiss this as just a disagreement over policy. But it  actually goes further than that, since it is one of the items on the list of "repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States."

The King's efforts to restrict immigration to Britain's American colonies were not just a flawed policy, the Declaration claims, but a step towards the "establishment of an absolute Tyranny."

Nor was it merely a tyranny over the colonial governments' supposed right to determine immigration policy for themselves. It was also a tyrannical action towards the would-be immigrants.

Many of the leaders of the American Revolution saw the new nation as a refuge for the oppressed of the world. In his famous General Orders to the Continental Army, issued on the occasion of the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783, George Washington stated that one of the reasons the United States was founded was to create "an Asylum for the poor and oppressed of all nations and religions." He expressed similar views on other occasions, including writing to a group of newly arrived Irish immigrants that "[t]he bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent & respectable Stranger, but the oppressed & persecuted of all Nations & Religions."

Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration, similarly wrote, in 1781, that "It [has] been the wise policy of these states to extend the protection of their laws to all those who should settle among them of whatever nation or religion they might be and to admit them to a participation of the benefits of civil and religious freedom." Other leading Founders expressed similar sentiments, including James Madison and James Wilson, among others.

The idea of accepting immigrants without regard to their national origin and religion was an extension of the more general principle that the United States was founded on the basis of universal liberal principles, not ties of ancestry, culture, or faith.  This is what the Declaration refers to in the famous passage avowing that all men are created equal and have the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

There can be no such liberty and equality if where people are allowed to live is limited by their parentage and place of birth. Just as the leaders of the Revolution rejected more traditional hereditary aristocracy, their principles were also at odds with what we might today call the hereditary aristocracy of citizenship, under which only those born to the right parents or in the right place have a right to live in the United States, while all others can be excluded for virtually any reason the government might come up with.

The Founders established a Constitution under which, Madison and most others argued, the federal government had no general power to exclude immigrants. When the Federalist Party pushed through the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, giving the president broad power to deport immigrants he deemed "dangerous," Jefferson and Madison denounced the law as both unjust and unconstitutional. They and their allies mobilized such strong resistance to the Alien Friends Act that the federal government never actually managed to deport anyone under it.

When Jefferson became president in 1800, he allowed the Act to expire, and federal immigration policy remained almost completely free of restrictions until the enactment of racially motivated exclusionary laws targeting Chinese immigrants in the 1870s and 1880s. The successful resistance to the Alien Acts was a triumph for liberty and equality that deserves to be far better known than it currently is.

None of this proves that America's founding generation was free of prejudices against immigrants. The Federalist Party, as noted, sought to use the Alien Friends Act to deport many immigrants, fearing that they might spread French revolutionary ideas to the United States and—perhaps even worse from the Federalist point of view –  support the rival Democratic-Republican Party.

Despite his defense of open immigration on many occasions, Thomas Jefferson wrote, in his 1782 Notes on Virginia, that America had reason to fear immigrants from "absolute monarchies," because "[t]hey will bring with them the principles of the governments they leave, imbibed in their early youth; or, if able to throw them off, it will be in exchange for an unbounded licentiousness, passing, as is usual, from one extreme to another." As with many later Americans who feared that immigrants would spread harmful political political values, Jefferson did not give sufficient weight to the reality that people fleeing oppressive regimes usually do so precisely because they abhor those governments, not because they want to recreate them elsewhere.

But even in that same passage, Jefferson rejected the idea of barring immigrants from oppressive governments, instead recognizing that "[i]f they come of themselves, they are entitled to all the rights of citizenship." He merely  "doubt[ed] the expediency of inviting them by extraordinary encouragements." Later, of course, Jefferson took a more favorable view of the political impact of immigrants—perhaps, in part, because many of them supported him and his party!

As on many other issues, particularly slavery, the Founders didn't always live up to their own principles when it comes to immigration. The Federalist advocates of the Alien Acts obviously did not. Nor did Congress when it enacted the Naturalization Act of 1790, and limited eligibility for citizenship to those immigrants who were "free white person[s]." Black immigrants were not made eligible for citizenship until 1870. Explicit racial restrictions on naturalization were not fully ended until 1952.

Restrictions on naturalization did not amount to restrictions on immigration itself. Black  immigrants came to the United States in substantial numbers even when many of them were ineligible for  citizenship, beginning with numerous refugees from Haiti in the 1790s. Still, black immigrants in this era suffered severe discrimination, as did native-born free African-Americans (to say nothing of the millions of slaves).

But despite these unjust limitations, the principles of the Declaration of Independence did lead to the establishment of a nation that, for the first century of its history, had very few limitations on immigration, and thus became a refuge for millions of people fleeing poverty and tyranny.

Washington's vision of a refuge for "the oppressed & persecuted of all Nations & Religions" was never fully achieved. But the early United States did realize it to a astonishingly impressive degree. In some important ways, the early republic was actually more enlightened on these matters than we are today. Our immigration policies bar the vast majority of those seeking refuge from oppression, and even include such perversions as barring escaped slaves on the grounds that the forced labor they performed for terrorist organizations qualifies as "material support for terrorism" rendering them ineligible or asylum.

Jefferson and Washington were not far from the only ones who saw a connection between openness to immigration and America's founding principles of liberty and equality. The great African-American abolitionist Frederick Douglass made much the same point in an 1869 speech, in which he compared immigration restrictions to racial discrimination, and argued that America must be a "composite nation" open to to people of all races and cultures who wished to settle there.

Abraham Lincoln, who was a strong supporter of open immigration,  also saw the connection between immigrant rights and the Declaration of Independence:

When [immigrants] look through that old Declaration of Independence, they find that those old men say that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal"; and then they feel that that moral sentiment, taught in that day, evidences their relation to those men… and that they have a right to claim it as though they were blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh, of the men who wrote that Declaration; and so they are.

The America of Founding era and of Lincoln's day didn't fully live up these high ideals. The same remains true even today, in some respects even more so. But, at its best, the nation has indeed been a refuge for the oppressed, and they have been major contributors to its growth and success. Immigrants and natives alike have much to gain from a more consistent adherence to the principles of the Declaration of Independence.

On immigration, as elsewhere, we would do well to heed Lincoln's admonition that the Declaration "set up a standard maxim for free society which should be familiar to all: constantly looked to, constantly labored for, and even, though never perfectly attained, constantly approximated, and thereby constantly spreading and deepening its influence and augmenting the happiness and value of life to all people, of all colors, every where."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEXT: What the Declaration of Independence Said and Meant

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  1. For sure, Somin’s remarks and “research” are so agenda driven as to be difficult to fairly characterize as other than globalist propaganda.

    1. Ilya, learn from the Indians. They failed to control illegal immigration. They lost their nation.

      1. Ilya, what do you think about inviting the 4 million whites of South Africa to move to California for an upgrade of that shithole state?

    2. He doesn’t even understand that “Life, Liberty, & Pursuit of Happiness” was actually “Life, Liberty, & Property” — and that Jefferson changed that because at the time “property” had two meanings, much as “man” does today — and much as we use “person” to ensure that it includes women, Jefferson wanted to include those who didn’t own estates.

      What Ilya fails to fathom is that under his interpretation of this, we would have the right to shoot immigrants…

      1. Ilya is an Ivy indoctrinated lawyer traitor. They are all the same, no matter what they call themselves. The purges of our institutions begin in 2025.

      2. Sure. If there’s anything the last couple of years at the VC has shown us it’s that Dr. Ed 2 is far more intelligent than Professor Somin.

        1. Somin’s IQ is 40 points higher than mine. Then, he attended Yale Law. Now a kid in Life Skils learning to eat with a spoon has more brains than this lawyer dipshit.

  2. “not ties of ancestry, culture, or faith.”
    Their idea of “all faiths” was pretty narrow, mostly different cults of Christianity, and different European countries. Muslims, Hindu, Buddhists, were not so welcome. Worst, and scandalous, were atheists. Chinamen immigrants were treated like slaves one step below negros. Natives were “savages.”

    I think up until the 1920s, it was not a crime to murder a Chinaman or an Indian in California.

    1. What is forgotten about the 1st Amendment’s establishment clause is that each state had its own established church and this was a protection that another STATE’S established church wouldn’t be imposed via the new Federal government.

      People forget that the Congregational Church was taxpayer supported in Massachusetts until 1855.

      And Quakers were hung on Boston Common — for being Quakers.

      The only reason that the Constitution doesn’t explicitly state that this is a Christian nation is that no one in 1787 dreamed that fact would ever be questioned.

  3. I wish that just for once Prof. Somin would address the practical issues around unlimited immigration.

    According to Gallup, 158 million people would like to immigrate to the U.S. Apparently, 33% of Sub-Saharan African adults say they would leave if they could; 27% of Latin American and Caribbean adults feel the same way. One source estimates that 158 million people would bring 227 million children with them, for a total of 385 million. Of course, once it became clear that immigration to the U.S. is a real possibility the number could increase. I guess if there weren’t 158 million jobs available, or if the available jobs weren’t to their liking, the remainder could go on welfare. As of 2020 there were 257 million people in the country of voting age, so the newcomers would make up 38% of the new voting age population. Doubtless there would be politicians eyeing 158 million potential votes as a prime constituency and waiting on the border to get them registered. Before we could predict the effect on the economy we would first have to predict what kind of economy we would have. Some form of socialism and/or radical property redistribution would sound like a possibility.

    1. It would be nice. I don’t think Somin has a good answer here…or he just hand waves it away.

      The sheer number of people coming in would break the social safety net, and society as well. Nations can’t deal with doubling their population in a year, which is effectively what would happen. We don’t have the housing available, the support systems, and so on. What does Somin think would happen if the population of the US suddenly doubled to 600 million? Where would the “new” people live?

      Any immigration needs to be metered, so as to not overly stress the system and society.

      1. I invite all shithole people to move to China.

  4. The Declaration of Independence says that all men are created equal. If the declarers had meant white men, they could have so. If they had meant born in the Unitef States equal, they cod have said so. If they had meant born equal, they could have said so. They said created equal. They referred to “the whole human family” at its most universalist reach.

    The Constitution did not implement the full universalism of the Declaration of Independence. And the Supreme Court has consistently interpreted as cabining the permissable meaning. In Dread Scott, the Supreme Court confidently said that the Framers could not possibly have meant non-whote. In Roe, the Court expressed with the same confidence thsg tbe Framers could not possibly have meant the unborn.

    The Constitution, setting up a practical nation-state for the benefit of the people of the United States and making the many compromises needed to achieve agreement among its constitutients, indeed fell far short of the universalism in the independence. The Constitution set up a government to exist in a world of realpolitik. Its guarantee of full rights was largely limited to “the people” defined in a narrow sense. The people are largely not required by the Constitution to stick their necks out for outsiders.

    But the Constitution never forbid a more universalistic interpretation, at least in good enough times to permit greater generosity. And the Supreme Court should avoid interpreting the Constitution as actively forbidding the universalism the Declaration invokes should the people feel up to it. He constitution does not require the universalism the Declaration involed. But it does not forbid it either.

    This was the fundamental lesson of Dred Scott and its aftermath. It is a lesson in judicial modesty the Supreme Court should be conscious of today.

    1. Yep, all men are created equal

      According to you, that means that, since I’m “equal” to you, I can wander into your home, eat your food, and sleep in your bed, because you can’t kick me out.

      Oh, you can kick me out? Because you have a property right to your place, and I don’t?

      Well, guess what, buttercup. People not citizens of America have no property right to America, whereas those of us who ARE citizens, do.

      Which is why it’s entirely legitimate for us to decide who we will let in, and who we will keep out. And anything claiming otherwise is arrant bullshit

      1. Well, guess what, buttercup. People not citizens of America have no property right to America, whereas those of us who ARE citizens, do.

        That’s… not how property works.

        1. Citizenship is a non-exclusive property right

          1. That’s retarded.

        2. David, aren’t you a lawyer? STFU, even if you are right.

      2. Noting you didn’t bother attempting to point out where I said any of the things you decided to attribute to me.

        1. So, what idiotic point ARE you trying to make with your “The Declaration of Independence says that all men are created equal” line?

          1. I’m just going to point out two things here.

            First, watch Poe’s law at work. Is the characterization of a well-known statement in the Declaration of Independence as anti-American satire, or is it meant serioussly? One can’t tell.

            Second, note how similar the rhetoric on immigration parallels the rhetoric on abortion. It will not do to say that circumstances in life mean that people won’t always behave ideally. Rather, the way people want to behave must be presented as ideally just, and the ideal must be presented as oppressive.

            It’s worth noting that slavery took this course as well. So is the rhetoric on drug use; the argument against marijuana prohibition in particular is going from “you can’t prohibit everything in life” to marijana is a miracle health elixir that people who hate humanity have been trying to repress. Something similar happened to attitudes on sexual morality.

            Americans have a hard time accepting imperfection. If we can’t meet an ideal, instead of acknowledging this is what is happening, we declare the former ideal an evil and its opposite becomes the new ideal.

            We are even willing to turn the Declaration of Independence itself on its head. Even the Dred Scott Court respected the Declaration of Independence enough to attempt to interpret it rather than out-and-out attack it. We go farther.

            See, look around you, here it is.

            1. I quote you:
              The Declaration of Independence says that all men are created equal. If the declarers had meant white men, they could have so. If they had meant born in the Unitef States equal, they cod have said so. If they had meant born equal, they could have said so. They said created equal. They referred to “the whole human family” at its most universalist reach.

              Now, let’s go to the actual text:
              We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government

              You jump from “all men are created equal” to “all Frenchmen are really Englishmen under the skin”.

              Which is so mixture of insane, stupid, and dishonest.

              I’m leaning towards “dishonest”, since when you were called on it you ran away from it.

              See all that part about “Governments”? The Declaration of Independence sets out, at its very beginning, that different People have different governments.

              All people are “entitled” to the same “natural rights”: LL&PoH

              They are not entitled to the same anything else. And you lie about the Declaration of Independence when you claim otherwise

    2. Justice Benjamin Curtis, in his Dred Scott dissent opinion, effectively demonstrated that blacks (including descendants of slaves) were part of the electorate that established the Union.

      Additionally, New Jersey extended voting privileges to women in 1776.

      There is no logical basis to the claim that the ratifying generation meant “white men” only.

  5. The Declaration also embodies the right to self-ownership, a right that was violently taken away from “non-essential” workers during the Wuhan pandemic: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3567003

  6. As usual, we see that Somin apparently thinks America is here mostly for everyone except Americans. What did Americans do to deserve second-class status in our own country? He doesn’t say.

    Why are we responsible to bear unlimited costs of letting in an unlimited number of unproductive people instead of letting us choose a higher proportion of productive people who might make things better here? Somin doesn’t say.

    Does Somin invite unproductive people to freely live with him or his family, or on his property at his expense? We can guess the answer is no. Rich, protected law professors don’t bear the costs of what they advocate. Poor, vulnerable people do.

    1. As usual, we see that Somin apparently thinks America is here mostly for everyone except Americans. What did Americans do to deserve second-class status in our own country? He doesn’t say.

      I don’t accept your framing about “second class status,” but for the sake of argument, let’s go with that. What did Americans do to deserve first-class status in our own country? All you did was accidentally be born here.

      1. Every American deserves the first class status in America. Separating people into classes and treating one class better than another is illiberal and inconsistent with American ideals. Glad I could answer such an elementary question.

        You know that every country and social group in history, everywhere in the world has territory they live on and claim dominion over, right? Yet America and Americans are the only ones who are told by leftists that we don’t deserve it. Leftists deplore Americans and seek punish us by holding us to standards no people in world history have ever been held to.

        One class of people means we should be held to one standard.

        1. Separating people into classes and treating one class better than another is illiberal and inconsistent with American ideals

          Except for immigrants, apparently.

          1. Immigrants who obey the same laws as everyone else are in the same class as everyone else, Sarcastr0.

            Giving people who don’t obey laws the same status as people who do obey laws creates a first class of people who are above and beyond the law and a second class of people under the law.

            1. We do that all the time for all sorts of malum prohibitum actions. And crossing a border is exactly that

              1. So that’s an endorsement of creating and perpetuating two unequal classes of people in America by Sarcastr0?

                Sounds like one.

      2. What did you do to “deserve” what your parent had to give you?

        All you did is be born to them.

        Heck, what did you do to “deserve” your genes?

        We get born into all sorts of things. If that’s illegitimate, then there’s a lot more of the world that you need to change than just immigration law.

        Hwy, I have a thought! How about every single “Asian” family has to take in one inner city “black” kid every time they have a kid, and their kid gets swapped with that black kid! After all, it’s totally unfair that that Asian kid is born into a family that probably values hard work and education, and the inner city black kid is born into a single “parent” (often under the age of 18) family where all he / she will learn in crime.

        So let’s end that “accident of birth”!

        No?

        Then stop whining about “accidents of birth”

  7. A nation with open borders is not a nation at all. When you invite anyone and all just to move here and then tell them they do not have to work or obey our laws, plus give them unlimited benefits, then you are just inviting the destruction of the nation.

    The next thing you know, you have an illegal alien beheading someone and using the head as a soccer ball!

    One thing I’ve noticed is that those who promote open borders and allowing anyone to come in usually live in a gated community and know it is not THEIR ox that will be gored.

    1. A nation with open borders is not a nation at all.

      The nation had essentially open borders for the first century of its existence, and except for racist restrictions on Chinese, had no limits on immigration for more like the first 140 years.

      When you invite anyone and all just to move here and then tell them they do not have to work or obey our laws, plus give them unlimited benefits, then you are just inviting the destruction of the nation.

      Yes, when imaginary racist things that only happen on Fox News happen, then bad things happen.

      The next thing you know, you have an illegal alien beheading someone and using the head as a soccer ball!

      Sorry, did I say Fox News? I meant OAN.

      1. I would add that this whole “borders = nation” thing is complete historical nonsense even leaving aside the U.S. For most of human history, borders were about taxing stuff and nothing more. They were to signify, “This the area within which the rulers have the power to take from people.” They were not about keeping people from coming because those people weren’t part of the nation. (Of course, they did want to keep invaders out, because an invading force gave some other ruler the power to tax in that area. But not migrants.)

        1. Hi, David. Home address or STFU, lawyer skunk. We are putting 4 immigrants in each of your bedrooms. Do you have a wife, or any daughters? These shithole people will love them. They are so clean after their daily showers, not like back home, with no water.

        2. “For most of human history, borders were about taxing stuff and nothing more”

          I congratulate you on your extreme historical ignorance.

          The Great Wall of China was about blocking “immigrants”. German tribes trying to come into Roman territory? I guess you would call them “immigrants”. The Romans called them “invaders”, and tried to kill and / or enslave them all.

          You could not just walk into Rome and become a citizen of Rome. Or Egypt, or pretty much any other place in the ancient world that had a “government”: you could not walk in and gain the benefits of those who were actually residents of the area.

          Often, what that meant was any of the locals who could get away with it, could kill or enslave you, and face no condemnation by anyone else in the area.

          It’s a common linguistic “quirk” that a language’s word mapping to “people” meant “us, the locals”. When “non-people” came in, they did not get any of the protections that I’m pretty sure you want that unlimited number of “immigrants” to get

          That was amazingly stupid, David

          1. The Great Wall of China was about blocking “immigrants”.

            No, it was about blocking invading armies. Why is it that far rightists always seem to get those confused with each other?

            You could not just walk into Rome and become a citizen of Rome.

            Once again, we see the confusion of citizenship and migration. The Roman Empire had various classes of residents, and you weren’t necessarily a citizen even if you were born within the empire’s borders, depending on your parentage. But that has nothing to do with whether you could walk into Roman territory and live there.

            Or Egypt, or pretty much any other place in the ancient world that had a “government”:

            I’m not sure which Egypt you’re talking about — pre-Greek or post-Roman — but I don’t know much about either’s immigration policy. But I suspect you don’t, either.

            1. “No, it was about blocking invading armies. Why is it that far rightists always seem to get those confused with each other?”

              Because we’re aware of reality? Yeah, that’s probably it.

              Seriously, are you trying to claim that the Great Wall of China was NOT used to stop people from coming there, people who wanted to move in, get land, farm, and live there?

              Then you’re even more historically ignorant than I thought

            2. “Once again, we see the confusion of citizenship and migration. The Roman Empire had various classes of residents, and you weren’t necessarily a citizen even if you were born within the empire’s borders, depending on your parentage. But that has nothing to do with whether you could walk into Roman territory and live there.”

              Reality check: you and Ilya are claiming that the US can not legitimately stop the mass movement of foreign individuals into the US.

              And you seem to be jumping from “migrant merchants could go from country to country” to “Roman had no borders that blocked the flow of people.”

              Which are claims that range from historically ignorant to willing falsehood.

              Could individuals physically move themselves from country X to country Y with less border controls than we have today? yes.

              Could families move into a new (to them) area, buy up land and start farming, and be accepted by the locals as normal members of the community?

              No, they couldn’t. Nor could they move in and set up permanent businesses (as opposed to coming in, selling their goods, buying other goods, and then leaving) without getting approval from the local government.

              The kind of mass migration that you and Ilya are defending was rightly classed as “barbarian invasion”, and if the locals had the ability to fight it off, they would enslave / kill those they could, and drive the rest away.

              I’m trying to figure out if you’re pathetically ignorant, or completely dishonest.

              Or, I suppose, both.

              I’d guess that the fact that you’re playing motte and bailey games means you’re being dishonest, since they’re not something honest people do

              1. Could families move into a new (to them) area, buy up land and start farming, and be accepted by the locals as normal members of the community?

                Buy up land? With what, cashing in some savings bonds? What on earth are you talking about? Are we now jumping from the classical period to the modern period?

                1. So, you’re claiming to just be really stupid?

                  ” What on earth are you talking about?”

                  What I’m talking about is “migration”. Here, moron, let me provide for you the sub-head of this article, since your brain seems incapable of carrying it with you:

                  ***The principles of the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution justify free migration rights.***

                  Which is complete and utter bullshit.

                  When you claim “For most of human history, borders were about taxing stuff and nothing more”, in the context of this post, you are claiming that “For most of human history, borders” did not serve to block migration.

                  Which, like Ilya’s subhead, is complete and utter bullshit.

                  Individuals wandering around until their money runs out, then dying, while making no attempt to gain farmland (the source of life for the vast majority of humans for the vast majority of history, especially in any place that had a government, and therefore “borders”), is not “migration”.

                  Merchants traveling from country to country encounter those taxes you were talking about, which meant the borders mattered to them.

                  Bands of people trying to “migrate” into a country were what sane people call “invasions”. Government’s did they best to block those.

                  If you’re left with anything to your claim, you’ve made no effort to explain what it is that hasn’t collapsed from its own stupidity

            3. “Once again, we see the confusion of citizenship and migration”

              Once again, we see your utter dishonesty and motte and bailey bullshit

              1: The post is about how the US should not be able to deny either migration or citizenship, with all the rights and privileges thereof, to anyone, anywhere in the world

              2: You personally argued to support that position (see post including “accidentally be born here”)

              3: To be a “country”, be it city-state or empire, is to be a polity that claims the power to control the land and people within its borders, including the ability to decide who is allowed to come in, how is allowed to operate there, and who is required to leave

              4: To claim the power to kick people out is to claim the power to decide who is allowed in. Because there’s no point to kicking someone out if they can just come back in whenever they want

              5: The power to decide who is allowed in and who isn’t does not imply the responsibility to always exercise that power

              6: I can throw a party on my land, and let “everyone” in. I can then decided that the party is crowded enough, and stop letting in anyone but my close personal friends, and those who pay a lot to get in. Because it’s my party

              7: We The People of the United States “own” America. It is our country. And we have every right to decide who will be let in, and who won’t be. We can establish one set of rules, and later change our minds and establish different ones.

              Because that’s what it means to be sovereign: you’re the one who gets to decide the rules

              SCOTUS is not sovereign.

              Hawaiian judges are not sovereign

              Ilya and you aren’t sovereign

              We The People, through our elected representatives as defined by the US Constitution, are sovereign

              If you don’t like that, you’re welcome to launch an insurrection to try to change that.

              Or you can continue being ignorant / lying sacks of sh!t.

              Which appears to be your current strategy

      2. “The nation had essentially open borders for the first century of its existence, ”

        This really doesn’t account for the practical limits that existed on immigration during the first century. Immigration for many people during that first century was quite literally impossible due to the practical limits and fiscal costs. Immigration laws weren’t needed, due to the practical barriers in place. Once the costs of immigration dropped dramatically, especially after about 1870, then you started to see immigration laws pop up to replace the natural barriers that existed beforehand.

        1. But that’s not the thesis DMN is responding to.

          “A nation with open borders is not a nation at all” is well and truly counterexampled to death by his post.

          1. Ask the Cherokee whether or not America had “open borders”. I’m pretty sure they weren’t allowed to immigrate into the US.

            And the US had multiple wars about those borders, where they were, and who could be on either side of them.

            The fact that we mostly freely allowed immigration for those who could afford to make the trip does not mean we didn’t have borders that we controlled. It just means that back then we were empty enough that we decided to let most people in.

            But the key phrase there is “we decided”. It was our choice to let them in, not theirs

            1. Ask the Cherokee whether or not America had “open borders”. I’m pretty sure they weren’t allowed to immigrate into the US.

              I mean, they were already in the U.S., so I’m not quite sure what you’re arguing here.

              1. They wanted to be US citizens, living in a US State

                They weren’t given that option

                See: Trail of Tears

                1. For like the 20th time, confusing citizenship and immigration.

                  1. For like the 20th time, lying when your claims fall apart

                    The US maintained borders with the Natives, and prevented the Natives for crossing the borders and staying in the US (which would be the definition of “immigration”)

                    As there were clearly human beings who the US did NOT allow to immigrate into the US, your claim that the US had completely open borders and completely open immigration is false.

                    Did I explain that clearly enough so that even someone as fundamentally stupid as you can grasp the point?

          2. Not really. If a nation has practical (non-legal) limitations on immigrations, it acts as effective borders.

            If you take an island country, which almost no one can really get to, and it doesn’t have immigration laws…it’s because it doesn’t need immigration laws. Almost no one can get there. People don’t create laws for things they don’t need, generally.

            Practical borders, borders which act as physical limitations to immigration and travel, are what were primarily used throughout history.

        2. But it’s a good talking point so of course they’ll keep repeating it with no regard to reality.

  8. “A nation with open borders is not a nation at all.”

    So, you are saying the United States of America was not a nation until 1882? Because that’s when the first immigration restrictions were enacted. We had open borders up to that point.

    1. “We had open borders up to that point”

      Not really. There were natural, fiscal barriers in place that affected immigration.

      1. Fiscal barriers are not borders.

        Read better.

        1. Fiscal might be a voice recognition error of “Physical”.

        2. Physical, fiscal borders. A border that can only be breached through the expenditure of a large amount of revenue or not at all.

          Much is made of America’s “open border” policy. But, this doesn’t account for the extremely high cost of immigration in early America. Indentured Servitude for transit over the ocean was common…7 years of labor without wages. (Or quite a bit worse in the case of African Americans).

          Those types of costs for immigration act as a restriction on immigration all their own.

    2. Not true at all, the first federal immigration restrictions were passed in by the first Congress – the Naturalization Act. In addition to residency and loyalty restrictions, the free white male would-be immigrant had to convince a judge that he was “of good character”. Do you think 100% of people passed this?

      Indians were generally not allowed to become citizens, even under looser state laws, until the Choctaw gained that right in 1831.

      The colonies had their own immigration laws before that, too, even above and beyond those of England. Naturalized foreigners were often denied full rights of other citizens, so a French immigrant might be naturalized but still be denied to the right to vote in certain elections, serve in the militia, or hold government office.

      1. Not true at all, the first federal immigration restrictions were passed in by the first Congress – the Naturalization Act. In addition to residency and loyalty restrictions, the free white male would-be immigrant had to convince a judge that he was “of good character”. Do you think 100% of people passed this?

        For some reason, you inexplicably confuse naturalization and immigration. Those are two different things.

        1. Really?

          So you’re saying “anyone, anywhere in the world, can come to America and live here. But the US gets to decide whether or not they can become a Citizen?”

          How about their kids? Can we keep them from becoming citizens?

        2. The two are inextricably linked. If you want to argue that we should allow a permanent multi-generational underclass of lesser residents, then I’m going to disagree with you – and call you pretty evil for advocating that.

        3. Technically, the first immigration law restrictions was the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves in 1807.

  9. The Federalist Party, as noted, sought to use the Alien Friends Act to deport immigrants, fearing that they might […] perhaps even worse from the Federalist point of view – support the rival Democratic-Republican Party.

    You argue all the good points for liberal immigration, then point out the one, awful, cynical reason at the core of the modern debate that nobody wants to acknowledge, that undergirds this, statehood for Puerto Rico, and statehood for DC, not even an immigrant thing.

    Since on this 4th we’re apparently repeating our greatest hits to reiterate, let’s join in.

    Here are the reasons for a liberal immigration policy.

    1. America is the great, shining city on the hill. Come here and live free, free from dictatorhip and corruption.

    2. In an economically free nation, the more, the better! A free people can respond to issues and shortages faster than they become major problems. The more free people, the faster the solutions. This is scientifically measurable.

    Those are great reasons!

    3. To have more workers to shore up Social Security.

    This is the actual reason both parties supported it, and is utilitarian.

    4. Because most immigrants vote for our party.

    This is an awful reason, doubly worse because “our” party has little interest in #1, actively talking trash about the US and, cynically, about freedoms, and, for #2 above, using their power, once elected, to insinuate burdensome command and control everywhere they can, throwing out the baby with the bathwater. The more control, the ower things get, and the closer the US gets to burdened, corrupted nations where few even try in business, without an envelope of cash anyway.

    As for this thread, I agree! America is a great place, be free and join the benefits for all that come from it. It has, in modern business jargon, a process of continual improvement.

    But that’s not what “our” leaders are interested in. For all definitions of “our”.

    1. Because the Vandals were ever so great for Rome…

  10. If you eliminate all welfare, then open borders makes more sense. We had no welfare at the founding, so that is certainly a changed circumstance that makes your analysis quite superficial. It is the nation that provides the welfare, so should not the nation determine who gets it????

  11. Ilya misses the point completely, The Declaration wasn’t based on the principle of free immigration, it was based on America’s right to set their own immigration policies, based on their self interest, not the King’s.

  12. I am quite thankful for this site, where I find vibrant and intelligent articles that often are challenging to my pre-conceived liberal notions. Confronting these challenges empowers me to put prejudice aside and thereby improve my mind. But as far as the comments go, not so much.

    Why are you Trumpers even here? It is so sad to have reasoned discourse subsumed by deplorable thoughts.

    1. Same. Home address or shut your Democrat supercilious mouth. You want other neighbors to bear the burden of the shithole people. This is especially true of the blacks. They are losing their jobs. They are undergoing ethnic cleansing by armed shithole people gangs. They are their victims of drug dealing. No mas. We are putting the shithole people right in your house. Can you post a picture of your wife and daughter coming out of the shower, so they can see what awaits them at your house.

  13. Faux libertarians — mostly sheepish right-wingers dancing about in unconvincing libertarian drag — are among my favorite culture war casualties.

    And the core membership of “Libertarians For Authoritarian, Bigoted, Cruel Immigration Policies And Practices,” which convenes regularly at this “often libertarian” (just ask ’em) blog.

    1. You too, Artie, home address or STFU. We are putting 4 shithole country people in each bedroom. They can admire your wife and daughters as they emerge from the bath so clean after their daily shower.

      What’s his face, Trotsky, spent a few months in the Bronx in the 1920’s. He concluded, there will be no Commie Revolution in the US. The worker is living too high. He had a bathroom in his apartment. Same is true for your wife and daughter.

      1. Boy, am I glad you picked the right-wing side of the culture war.

        1. What is the reason we cannot put a dozen illegales in your home? Are you racist? They will pay for their bed space. You will be compensated, and will greatly profit from immigration. Your wife and daughter coming out of the shower will be a free show. Throw it in, you racist.

          Then you are a lawyer scumbag. Although your comments have never ever shown the smallest scintilla of evidence of any legal training. Do you support allowing in 1 million India licensed lawyers who would love to make $20000 a year? You will be replaced by Indian lawyers, or are you a racist, and oppose allowing in 1 million India licensed lawyers to replace you for $20000 a year? Biden, recognize the India law license now. Tear down the obstacles to allowing a million Indian lawyers into the country.

  14. None of y’all have answered the practical question asked above. What do we do with a number of immigrants that will, in a very short time, double the population of the country.

    Remember that by nature of the premise, these folks will tend toward the underskilled end of the spectrum. How do we make it work? Just pull more out of the Unlimited Rich Guy Box?

    I’m not anywhere a Trumpist – I hate the guy. Anybody who has been paying attention knows that. But it’s easier to call names and throw around crap like “ durr Faux News durr” than answer unanswerable questions. Unfortunately for all of us math gives zero shits about what we want to be. It tells us what is. We ignore it at our detriment.

    1. Bevis. Easy. They will vote for the Democrat Party, the party of entitlements. The US will become a permanent one party state, like Cuba, venezuela, and San Fran. Even if wealthy, the US will be an unlivable shithole, as San Fran is.

    2. I do not expect math — or any other part of the reality-based world — to be kind to that ‘330 million immigrants in a very short time’ prediction.

      1. Really? How long did it take for a quick wink from a new administration to regenerate a disaster at the border?

        What do you think happens if America says “olly olly oxen free”?

  15. Yep, Democrats get more votes, Chamber of Commence Republicans get more cheap labor, those who primarily identify with subgroups get more relative power . . . only losers, unhyphenated “Americans.” Yea!

    1. And downscale, disaffected, White, male right-wingers get more to whine about and more opportunity to wallow in perceived grievance . . . everybody wins!

      1. Biggest beneficiaries of the Trump end to immigration? Blacks, legal Hispanics, and women. Busted records of employment and of earnings.

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