How Blocking Immigration Violates the Rights of the Native-Born

Like most public policies, immigration policy can be illuminated by thinking about the property rights involved. What are the implications for immigration policy of your right to use your property as you see fit? I explore the question in a recent piece at the Learn Liberty blog. Here are two slices:

Imagine a representative scenario:

A group of poor immigrants heads for some US town to work on the farms there. They arrive at the US border. If they are allowed in, they get on a bus that takes them to the town, stopping at rest stops along the way to eat and stretch their legs.

When the immigrants arrive at the town with the jobs, they walk to a boardinghouse offering bunk rooms and simple cooking facilities. They pay their rent to the boardinghouse owner and get some rest.

The next day they go to the job sites in pickup trucks from the farms. They agree on wages with the farm owners; they go to work. In the evening, they go back to the boardinghouse. Soon they will be able to wire some money home to their families.

Whose rights are involved here?

Any government’s number one job is to protect the rights of the individuals who live within its jurisdiction. That includes the rights of those who own buses, rest stops, boardinghouses, farms, and the like to use their property as they see fit, admitting those they choose to admit. Accordingly, would-be immigrants have a right to immigrate as long as they have the invitation of the various property owners they deal with along the way. To block such immigration is to violate the rights of the native-born citizens.

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