"History is philosophy teaching by example." (Lord Bolingbroke)

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

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


  • At Thu Jun 08, 08:59:00 PM PDT, Blogger Gjournal said…

    What you are calling "open immigration" is what other Objectivists are calling "open bordes". The arguments by Binswanger, Tracinsky, etc have always been saying that there should be legal checkpoints that immigrants *must* enter through. It is there that immigration will check to see if they are a threat.

    Incidentally, I think that it is precisely this kind of scenerio that would provide the most protection against terrorist infiltration. If there were public checkpoints then any immigrants that entered elsewhere (and that would be the basis for "illegality") would be immediately suspicious. Immigration officials wouldn't have to search for a needle in a haystack. Their jobs would be so much easier. They could focus on criminals and terrorists.

    So I would think that this blog would champion open immigration. But you do not. The majority of your posts have some anti-immigration bias. And there is a sort of infantile quality to this blog as for example your "founding gringos" logo which could easily be seen as racist. There is also the "Fortress America" element that permeates throughout. It is not all the defensive policies in the world that will save America but unrestrained, offensive warfare overseas. Why do you not champion that instead of complaining daily about immigration.

    But at least your clarification is better. Its the best thing on immigration that you have published.

  • At Fri Jun 09, 06:17:00 AM PDT, Blogger George Mason said…


    You don't see the flaws in your own statements. Pity.

  • At Sun Feb 20, 01:09:00 AM PST, Blogger squidproquo said…

    "We" are not at war with Islam or any other religion. Anybody who thinks that we should be at war with any religion is a disgrace and a total failure as a human being. Furthermore, anyone holding that position while claiming to stand for American values should undertake a psychiatric evaluation and be tested for mental retardation so that they may find the kind of specialized care which they so desperately require.
    I would also like to add that immigration goes beyond Spanish-speaking nations.

    P.S. It's "Sí", not "Si". You're trying to say "yes" not "if".


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