Open Immigration? Si! Open Borders? No!
[A few contentious objectors over the past couple of months have made us wonder about the source of their objections regarding our stand on immigrants. We thought we had been abundantly clear throughout the context of Sixth Column. We now believe that we have identified the source of their objections--a point of differentiation. To follow is our clarification.]
Regarding immigration, we draw a distinction between "open borders" versus "open immigration." Explaining this distinction (to follow) should clarify any misconceptions about our stand on either issue.
A recent article by Objectivist philosopher Harry Binswanger [“Immigration Quotas vs. Individual Rights: The Moral and Practical Case for Open Immigration,” 2 April 2006] provides an excellent departure point for our clarification. While there are numerous "immigration publications" available, none provides a better presentation that does Dr. Binswanger in his article.
To begin with, Dr. Binswanger uses "open immigration," not "open borders." In his opening paragraph, he states his thesis:
“Entry into the U. S. should ultimately be free for any foreigner, with the exception of criminals, would-be terrorists, and those carrying infectious disease. (And note: I am defending freedom of entry and residency, not the automatic granting of U. S. citizenship)."
He then provides the moral case for open immigration, based on the concept of the Rights of Man, as delineated and clarified by founding philosopher of Objectivism, Ayn Rand. The practical case flows smoothly from the moral and deal with economic, including the value of immigrants to America. He also deals with some of the counter-immigration arguments, namely welfare and overcrowding.
As Objectivists, we agree with the essentials of the Binswanger argument. We have said all along that we fully support legal immigration. We value the concept of legal immigration and the value of immigrants to America. Where on the globe these immigrants originate matters little--given the exclusions of the Binswanger article: criminals, terrorists, and those infected and contagious (infectees). Once legally in America, immigrants must enjoy the same Constitutional protections of their rights, just as indigenous Americans do.
However, we do not support "open borders." Protecting the rights of Americans, expressed as "national sovereignty" and property rights, requires that Americans know, through their government, WHO comes into American, and WHEN, if not HOW, they leave. There is no other way to prevent entry of "criminals, terrorists, and infectees." People flowing into America illegally are BREAKERS OF AMERICAN LAWS. Their status is totally unknown, as are their intentions and whereabouts. "Open borders" is an immoral concept, having severely impractical effects.
Immigrants coming to America legally should not be subject to quotas or be "filtered" in any way. For example, a highly educated writer friend cannot immigrate to America because of the filters of the infamous 1965 immigration law. If émigrés "drain the brains" of other countries, that is not properly any of our federal concern. Just as there should be no governmental welfare for native born Americans, so there should be none for legal immigrants--and certainly none for illegal aliens. There must under no circumstances be penalization of employers who hire legal immigrants--again, this is no business of the government. However, illegal aliens must not have their salaries deductible from employer taxes or receive any other government-provided largess.
All other objections to legal immigration are spurious. By contrast, arguments against illegal aliens are proper.
We are at WAR---with Islam. We must filter out those who would destroy us from inside. Open borders easily leak our destroyers undetected into our country. We have the rights to life and property backing up our rights to control entry.
Open immigration? Si!
Open borders? No!
George Mason, Cubed, and Eleanor