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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 Land Grab Along the Border


Last Saturday’s Washington Post had an interesting story about the federal government’s land grab along the Rio Grande to build its anti-immigrant Berlin Fence. Not surprisingly, Texas landowners, many of whom have owned their property for generations, are fighting this federal tyranny as hard as they can.

Isn’t it interesting — and revealing — that conservatives are silently supporting what the federal government is doing to these people? Weren’t conservatives crying “Kelo! Kelo! Kelo!” not so long ago? Are Texas landowners supposed to feel better that their privately held property is being taken to build a Berlin Fence as compared to a shopping mall?

Even though the anti-immigration crowd likes to refer to America as our national home (which is the same way that Castro views Cuba), I thought the border between Mexico and the United States nonetheless runs through the middle of the Rio Grande. That was certainly the case in Laredo, Texas, where I grew up.

So, why don’t they simply put their beloved fence in the middle of the river? Why are they taking private property on the northern side of the Rio Grande on which to build it? In fact, the Berlin Fence is actually going to leave some people’s property between the river and fence, effectively making it part of Mexico? Now, isn’t that ironic, especially since so many anti-immigrant conservatives fear that Mexico is about to take back the lands that the U.S. government stole from Mexico in the Mexican War?

Conservatives say that the Berlin Fence isn’t really like the Berlin Wall because it’s designed to keep people out while the Berlin Wall was designed to keep people in. But isn’t that a distinction without a difference, especially in a moral sense? Moreover, let’s not forget that conservatives are constantly exhorting the Mexican government to play the same role that the East German government played — i.e., using violent means to prevent its own citizens from crossing the Fence.

All this tyranny and oppression is just part and parcel of what Ludwig von Mises pointed out about interventionism — that one government intervention inevitably leads to more and more interventions, which ultimately lead to a police state. From making border crossing illegal, to making transport of illegal aliens illegal, to making harboring illegal aliens illegal, to fixed checkpoints on U.S. soil north of the border, to roving Border Patrol checks, to making it illegal to hire illegal aliens, to raids on American businesses, to military troops along the border, to the construction of a Berlin Fence, to the forcible taking of people’s private property, to national ID cards. It’s another classic example of how interventionism breeds interventionism.

Like the many other crises facing our nation, there is one — and only one — solution to the immigration “crises”: the free market, private-property way of life on which our nation was founded. More and more interventions will only lead to more tyranny and oppression, as Texas landowners are unfortunately now discovering.

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.