Is There an Immigration Problem?

Rand Paul has spoken of an alleged “immigration problem”. This is a reference to the considerable number of “illegal” immigrants living in the U.S. The solution proposed to this supposed problem is to secure the border. A secure border would allegedly lead to less “illegal” immigrants crossing it.

This framing of the immigration issue is entirely wrong. It rests on the assumption that an inflow of “illegal” immigrants is a bad thing. The notion stems from a belief in the morality of nation-states and border control. If we abandon this idea, we can see that the real immigration problem pertains to border enforcement. It’s also related to miserable conditions in other countries. This horrific context is what leads many people to immigrate.

It’s definitely a problem when force is initiated against people simply crossing an imaginary line on a map. That’s one aspect of the real immigration problem. Another is the aforementioned miserable conditions. These consist of poverty and violence. Both of which contribute to people choosing to immigrate. If they lived in a better context, they may not feel the need to do so. This is not to say there is a moral issue with their choice to immigrate though.

This violence is partially the fault of U.S. foreign policy. The U.S. recognition of the coup government in Honduras is one example. Another is the past terrorist wars waged by Reagan in Central America. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to violence unleashed by U.S. foreign policy. It’s the most relevant though.

A just resolution of the problems surrounding immigration would involve ending imperialist U.S. violence around the world. It would also involve opening the borders. These are the positions consistent with radical libertarianism and anarchism. In contrast, the present framing of the issues by politicians is non-libertarian or non-anarchist. The latter statist take is morally grotesque.

One way to go about helping this solution along is to pressure politicians to declare safe havens in areas under their control. Another related approach is to have non-governmental institutions harbor or help refugees from other countries. One could also donate to organizations that push for illegal immigrants to receive legal defense in court like the ACLU.

All of these options are important for furthering freedom of immigration. This principle of freedom of movement follows naturally from the non-aggression principle. Let’s work to implement the above solutions! All we have to lose is our chains. The time to act is now.

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