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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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Immigration Controls and the Police State


One of the things that fascinate me about the immigration debate is those people who say that they favor closed borders but simultaneously oppose the police-state programs that are necessary to enforce such a policy.

For example, some in the anti-immigrant crowd say that they vehemently oppose a national ID card, a type of program that has long been a core aspect of police states. (Just ask former East Germans, former Eastern Europeans, former Soviet citizens, and current citizens of North Korea and Cuba.)

Yet, ask yourself: Under a regime that differentiates between people who are here legally and illegally, how else are people supposed to identify which people are the legal ones and which ones are the illegal ones. Even if you require only foreigners to carry their identification, what’s to stop an illegal immigrant from simply claiming to be an American and, therefore, not needing his “papers”?

Or consider the forcible repatriation of Cuban refugees, including women and children, into Cuban communist tyranny. Some anti-immigrants types recoil against that, still feeling some of the ardent anti-communism that influenced them during the Cold War. Yet, how else are immigration controls supposed to be enforced except by forcibly sending people back to their country of origin?

Or consider the increasing police-state environment along the Southern border. There are actually government checkpoints on highways and in airports for people who have never left the country! That’s right — people who travel along the border and never enter Mexico are subject to being stopped by government gendarmes, just like they were in the Soviet Union and still are in North Korea.

Yet, how else are the federals going to prevent foreigners from simply traveling freely along the highways heading north?

Or consider the raids on American businesses that are suspected of hiring illegal immigrants. Some illegal-immigrant types are opposed to that type of Soviet-like behavior. Yet, by keeping illegal immigrants from getting jobs, aren’t those raids simply a logical consequence of immigration controls?

Or consider the Berlin Fence that is being constructed along the Southern border. It’s trampling on private property and destroying natural habitats, causing some of the anti-immigrant types to oppose it. Yet, isn’t the Berlin Fence the logical consequence of an anti-immigrant policy. After all, don’t forge that the Berlin Wall was very effective in keeping people from crossing the border.

When someone is favoring a particular government program while, at the same time, opposing the police-state means necessary to enforce such a program, perhaps that’s the time that the person should begin re-examining his support of the program itself.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.