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Liberal Hypocrisy on DACA

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The left is up in arms in anger, indignation, and outrage over President Trump’s decision to cancel the DACA immigration program established by President Obama, which protects young immigrants who were brought by their parents to the United States illegally as children from being forcibly deported to their country of citizenship. In the process, liberals are missing an important point: Trump is doing nothing more than enforcing immigration controls, a governmental system that every liberal believes in, supports, and defends with every fiber of his being.

After all, what do liberals say when confronted by us libertarians, who favor open borders? “Oh my gosh, Jacob. That’s too radical. Why, the Muslims would come and get us and force us to study Sharia law if we have open borders.”

That, of course, is a ridiculous and irrational fear. Moreover, one thing is certain: Under the libertarian paradigm of open borders, no “dreamer” would be deported. For that matter, neither would anyone else who crosses the border and enters the United States.

No, borders would not disappear, as immigration statists love to exclaim, no more so than state borders disappear within the United States under its system of domestic open borders. All that open borders would mean is that people would be free to come and go without fear of being arrested, incarcerated, fined, or deported. Moreover, everyone would be free to retain his citizenship, just as the million or so American citizens who have chosen to retire in Mexico retain their U.S. citizenship.

Compare the liberal-conservative paradigm of immigration controls. It holds that everyone who enters the country without official permission is a lawbreaker — a criminal.

And what do immigration laws say that the government should do to people who enter the country illegally? Duh! The enforcement mechanism for immigration controls is, naturally, jail, fines, and deportation!

In fact, deportation necessarily is the core feature of the system of immigration controls favored by liberals and conservatives. After all, would it make much sense to have a system of immigration controls that said “Illegal entry is prohibited but if you do illegally enter, the government will lack the authority to send you back”?

Obviously, that would be ridiculous. What would be the point of having immigration controls if the government couldn’t forcibly repatriate people who violated them to their home countries?

What Obama did, illegally and unconstitutionally, even while setting records in deporting illegal immigrants (to the silence of his liberal supporters), was carve out a class of illegal immigrants that he liked — i.e., young immigrants who were illegally brought here by their parents — and then decree that he would not enforce the immigration laws (which liberals and conservatives in Congress had enacted) against that particular class of people.

But the president does not have that legal authority. Under our system of constitutional government, it is the responsibility of the executive branch to enforce the laws enacted by Congress. The Constitution does not authorize the president to pick and choose which laws he’s going to enforce and it also doesn’t authorize him to carve out a privileged class of people that are going to be immune from the law.

Obama’s DACA decree was the essence of dictatorial conduct in that it violated the principle of “the rule of law” and adopted the principle of “the rule of men” that undergirds tyrannical regimes. By decreeing that he would exempt an entire class of people from the law enacted by Congress, Obama became a law-breaker himself — a violator of the Constitution, the higher law that controls his conduct.

As an aside, it’s worth mentioning that because Obama required those 800,000 dreamers to sign up for his program, the government now knows where they (and their parents) live. Gun owners should take notice the next time some liberal advocates gun-registration laws.

Liberals obviously don’t like the consequences of their own immigration system, a system of immigration controls that they established and that they still love, support, and defend. But rather than simply repeal this system in favor of the libertarian principle of open borders, they lament and castigate a president (unless he is a Democrat, like Obama) who is doing nothing more than simply enforcing their beloved system of immigration controls. They want Trump and Congress to jerry-rig their system in ways that enable a particular class of privileged illegal immigrants to escape the harsh, brutal, and cruel consequences of their system.

But jerry-rigging an evil, immoral, cruel, and brutal system is not the solution to America’s decades-long immigration woes, all of which are rooted in a system of immigration controls. There is but one solution to America’s decades-long immigration crisis, one founded on principles of morality, free markets, and economic liberty. That solution is open borders.

Unfortunately, notwithstanding decades of immigration death, destruction, crisis, chaos, incarceration, fines, deportation, tyranny, and destruction of liberty and property that inevitably accompany a system of immigration controls, neither liberals nor conservatives are there yet. When those 800,000 “dreamers” and their parents are being forcibly evicted from the United States, perhaps more liberals and maybe even a few conservatives will finally join up with us libertarians and endorse a system of open borders.

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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.