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Open Borders Is the Only Libertarian Position
Among the worst adverse impacts that the Republican Party and the conservative movement have had on the Libertarian Party is with respect to immigration. The libertarian position on immigration is a straightforward one: open borders — that is, the free, unrestricted movement of goods, services, and people across borders. It is not only a moral position but also the only solution — repeat only solution — to America’s decades-old, ongoing, never-ending, deadly and destructive immigration crisis.
Unfortunately, however, the influx of disgruntled Republicans into the L.P. for the last few decades has caused much of the party membership to accept the Republican (and Democrat) position favoring government-controlled borders.
In fact, some L.P. members suggest that there are now two positions on immigration within the Libertarian Party and the libertarian philosophy — open borders and government-controlled borders. At least one L.P. member has even suggested that that is a good thing because it induces more people to join the L.P.
Heck, if that’s the case, then why not take opposite positions on every issue: drug laws, welfare, regulation, foreign interventionism, and all the rest? Think about how more people we could attract to the Libertarian Party by taking both sides — the libertarian side and the statist side — on every issue.
The fact is though there are not two positions on immigration within the Libertarian Party and the libertarian philosophy. There is only one position. Libertarianism is an internally consistent philosophy. It is either one or the other. There are no contradictions within libertarianism. When the Libertarian Party finds itself embracing a contradiction, it needs to do what Ayn Rand would have counseled: It needs to reexamine its premises.
First of all though, it’s important to clarify what exactly is meant by “open borders,” especially since Republicans accuse President Biden of having established “open borders” with respect to his immigration policy.
Think about the border between Virginia and Maryland. Or between Arkansas and Texas. Or between any of the states. Sometimes the state border is a river. Sometimes it is an imaginary line. People freely cross state borders, back and forth, without ever encountering a government official. Our domestic system is what we call open borders.
Obviously, that is not what we have on the Southern border of the United States. We have a system of government-controlled borders on the U.S.-Mexico border. Foreigners are able to enter the United States only by official permission of the U.S. government. Those who enter the U.S. without such permission are arrested, incarcerated, prosecuted, and forcibly deported. To enforce this system, there are federal immigration officials (ICE), the Border Patrol, sometimes the military, warrantless searches of farms and ranches, raids by armed federal officials on peaceful private businesses, and even what could easily pass for a Berlin Fence on the U.S. side of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Both Republicans and Democrats favor a system of government-controlled borders. Their difference is simply over the manner and degree of enforcement. Biden and the Democrats enforce the system in ways that differ from Republicans, which is what causes Republicans to accuse Biden of having established a system of “open borders,” notwithstanding the fact that Biden continues to use ICE, the Border Patrol, the Berlin Fence, arrests, raids, incarcerations, prosecutions, warrantless searches, and forced deportations to enforce the system. In fact, when Biden was vice-president, his boss, President Barack Obama, was called the “Deporter in Chief” because he was setting records on the high number of forced deportations under his regime.
It is that system — a system of government-controlled borders — that conservative-oriented Libertarians want the Libertarian Party to adopt. They say that when it comes to immigration, all three major political parties — Republican, Democrat, and Libertarian — should be on the same page.
If the Libertarian Party ever abandons its position in favor of open borders and instead joins up with the Democrats and Republicans on this issue, it will be one of the worst and most tragic events in the history of the Libertarian Party. From its very beginning in 1971, the L.P. has stood squarely and solidly, without hesitation or equivocation, in favor of open borders. In fact, the LP provides the only light of hope in the political arena for the multitudes of immigrants who wish to come to the United States, many of whom continue to die, be robbed, or be raped while trying to illegally enter the United States. To extinguish that light of hope in the political arena would be a tragedy for every immigrant and for the Libertarian Party.
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