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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 Hypocrisy, Left and Right


I don’t think there is any government program that reflects chronic hypocrisy more than immigration controls. Hypocrisy is the name of the game when it comes to immigration.

Consider progressives, specifically their crocodile tears for the so-called Dreamers, the children of illegal immigrant parents who were brought here as youngsters and have lived here ever since.

President Trump and his fellow conservatives want to forcibly return the Dreamers to their countries of origin. After all, they say, the Dreamers are here are illegally — that is, in violation of immigration controls.

But the left says, “Oh, no! Let the DACA children stay here. Unlike the heartless conservatives, we love the poor, needy, and disadvantaged.”

But wait a minute, progressives. Don’t you all support immigration controls? You’re not ready to embrace the libertarian position favoring open immigration, are you? Of course, you’re not. You people continue to say, “Jacob, we need immigration controls. Otherwise the whole world might come to America, including the terrorists who want to come and get us.”

But here’s the rub: It’s the immigration controls themselves, which progressives support, that is the cause of the very problem that they themselves lament — the forcible return of the DACA children to their countries of origin. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, by forcibly deporting the DACA children, Trump and his fellow conservatives are simply enforcing the very law that progressives support and are unwilling to repeal.

So, progressives are left exclaiming, “But Jacob, we just don’t like the unjust consequences of our law but we don’t want it repealed. We want it to stay on the books and be enforced. We just want the president to not enforce the law against people that we favor. We want the president to have the authority to determine which illegal immigrants will be the privileged ones — i.e., the ones who won’t have the law enforced against them.”

Thus, progressives supported President Obama’s arbitrary decision to carve out an entire segment of people that would be immune from the law, notwithstanding the fact that the immigration law itself did not provide any exception for children of illegal immigrants.

That is the essence of authoritarianism and dictatorship, the type of rule-by-decree authority that both conservatives and progressives criticize President Putin for wielding and exercising in Russia. In any nation guided by the rule of law, rather than the rule of men, the ruler is obligated to enforce the law equally and impartially against everyone. He can’t legitimately make arbitrary exceptions by carving out groups of privileged individuals by giving them immunity from the enforcement of the law.

Like I say, hypocrisy.

That’s not all though. While progressives are shedding those crocodile tears over the plight of the Dreamers, they all ignore the great big elephant in the room: the parents of those DACA children. Nobody is talking about them or about how Trump is enforcing immigration controls against them by forcibly deporting them.

Why isn’t it just as cruel to deport those parents as it is to deport their children? Why should they be forcibly separated from their children? Haven’t they been here the same length of time that their children have been here? Haven’t they become productive members of society? Haven’t they been employed by willing American employers?

Of course, the immigration hypocrisy runs through the right as well. Conservatives never cease reminding us of their favorite mantra — “free enterprise, private property, and limited government.”

Yet, they continue to embrace immigration controls, which are the perfect violation of the principles of their favorite mantra.

Consider those immigration raids on 7-11 stores nationwide. How are those raids reconcilable with that favorite conservative mantra? 7-11 stores are privately owned businesses. What business does the federal government have in what is purportedly a free society entering onto private property without a search warrant to look for and seize immigrants?

Moreover, what better example of “free enterprise” than the fact that a private business and a private person have entered into a mutually beneficial labor exchange, one in which they are both benefitting? Let’s not forget, after all, that the term “free enterprise” means an enterprise that is free from government interference, regulation, and control. When armed agents of the federal government are raiding private establishments without warrants, that’s about as far from “free enterprise” as one can get.

That’s not all. Immigration agents recently entered onto a (privately owned) Greyhound bus in Florida without warrants and demanded that the passengers show their citizenship papers, just like the Gestapo and the KGB used to do in Germany and the Soviet Union. Now, mind you, we are not talking about a bus that just crossed the border from Mexico. This bus was entirely domestic. It was in Florida, which is about 1000 miles from the border town of Laredo, Texas. Nonetheless, the immigration agents on that Greyhound bus in Florida justified their actions by citing the need to enforce immigration controls.

Of course, people living in the Southwest have become accustomed to this immigration tyranny, given that they have long lived under a regime of warrantless searches of farms and ranches, roving Border Patrol checkpoints, and domestic highway checkpoints. Its all part and parcel of the enforcement of immigration controls (which both conservatives and progressives and, lamentably, some libertarians, continue to support).

How is any of this reconcilable with “limited government” part of that favorite conservative mantra? It’s not.

Like I say, hypocrisy.

Oh, that’s not all. Conservatives love to tell us that they hate socialism. Yet, what better example of socialist central planning than immigration controls, which entail having the government determine plan and direct a complex labor market?  No wonder immigration has been in crisis for decades.

That’s what socialism does. It produces crises. Conservatives know that and they exclaim against it. But then they support immigration controls and act shocked and outraged over the resulting crisis. And then they enact ever-harsher law-enforcement measures to deal with the never-ending crisis, like building Berlin-type fences and walls along the border, in the process forcibly seizing privately owned property through the use of eminent domain.

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: Immigration controls do not work and they cannot work. No matter what “comprehensive reform plan” is adopted, there will continue to be an immigration crisis, just as there has been a chronic immigration crisis for decades. That’s because socialism is an inherently defective paradigm.

Moreover, as those people on that Greyhound bus have learned, with immigration controls comes ever-increasing immigration tyranny. The bigger the immigration crisis, the greater the immigration-enforcement tyranny.

The only thing that works is free markets and genuine free enterprise. That necessarily means open borders — the fundamental, God-given right of people to cross back and forth across borders, seeking a better way of life, touring, investing, opening businesses, or engaging in whatever peaceful activity they wish in the pursuit of happiness. It’s also the only approach that is consistent with moral, religious, ethical, and Biblical principles.

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.