I had another exciting evening last night. I participated in a live and lively debate on immigration in Yuma, Arizona, from my home in Ashburn, Virginia. The debate was sponsored by a great organization named the Freedom Library, which is run by one of the most devoted libertarians in the country, a good friend of mine named Howard Blitz. The organization’s mission is to educate young people on the principles of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property, limited government, and the Constitution.
The program consisted of four high school debaters — two per side — debating the following topic: “Resolved, that the U.S. government should substantially strengthen regulation of immigration to the United States.”
Then, the program was followed by commentary and discussion from 5 adult panelists, four of whom were on the stage, plus me from Virginia.
What was cool was that we used Skype for my participation. I was able to see the stage from my laptop and hear everyone’s comments. And they were able to see me on a big screen and listen to my comments.
Not surprisingly, the general trend of the debate and discussion was the standard one — immigration laws need to be enforced, the border needs to be secured, and the system needs reform.
Which is why Howard brought me into the program — to expose people, especially the students in the audience, to the idea of open borders as the solution to the immigration mess in which our nation finds itself.
I told the audience that I wished to make two important points:
First, no matter what reform or intervention is adopted, it won’t work. People need to finally realize that truism. I’ve watched this immigration debate unfold over the past 60 years. It’s just been one long cycle of crisis, reform, crisis, reform, crisis, reform.
Every reform or intervention just brings new problems, which then causes people to go into a new round of emotional hyper-drive, which then leads to new calls for reform.
The process is endless. No matter which reform is adopted today, we’ll be back 3-5 years from now with a new crisis and new calls for reform.
In fact, the Arizona immigration crisis is a direct result of the reform in California, when they built that immigration wall that was supposed to solve the immigration problem. Instead, immigrants simply moved east, where they cross the Arizona desert and oftentimes lose their lives in the process. They also began trespassing on people’s ranches and traveling through Arizona towns near the border.
What was the response of Arizonans? The predictable one: emotional hyper-drive over the new crisis, and new calls for reform.
I repeat: No matter what reform is adopted, it won’t work. And all it does is pile intervention upon intervention, which adds up to ever-increasing infringements on the liberty of the American people.
The reason? Immigration socialism, in the form of socialist central planning. With immigration controls, you’ve got a board of bureaucrats trying to plan, in a top-down fashion, the economic activities of millions of people. As people learned in the Soviet Union, it cannot be done.
Central planning produces distortions and perversions, not to mention death. It is inherently defective. There is no way a central planning board can plan something as complex as a labor market involving millions of people.
Second, there is only one solution that will work — the free market, which means open borders. That is, the free movements of goods and services and people. I repeat: This is the only solution to the immigration crisis. Nothing else will work.
1. The United States, which is the freest free-trade, free-movement-of-people zone in history. There are no immigration controls or trade restrictions between the states, which is one of the principal causes of economic prosperity in our nation. It didn’t to have to be that way, and it doesn’t have to be that way. There could be trade and immigration controls between each state, but most of us recognize that that would be an economic disaster.
2. The EU countries, which have abolished controls between the people of the EU countries. People are now free to cross back and forth between nations, without losing their citizenship. They never see an immigration or customs official. They love it. The EU countries have not lost their sovereignty or their borders, as some people predicted they would.
So, open borders is the only pragmatic solution because it is the only thing that works. Interventionism does not work and is incapable of working. Moreover, open borders not only bring economic prosperity, they are also consistent with religious principles (e.g., Love thy neighbor as thyself), the exercise of fundamental, God-given rights (e.g., the right to sustain one’s life through labor and voluntary contract), and the Golden Rule (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you).