Immigration control advocates are undoubtedly hoping that the new immigration deal that is being struck to avert another government “shutdown” will finally, once and for all, end the decades-long immigration crisis. No more having to pace the floor in anxiety and depression. No more fear that the “invaders” are coming to get us and take control over our welfare system. Nothing but inner peace and harmony.
I hate to rain on this statist parade but it just ain’t gonna happen. The decades-long immigration crisis will continue, as will the pacing, anxiety, and depression. The fear that the “invaders” are coming to get us and bankrupt us with welfare will continue to grip people’s minds.
In fact, even if President Trump were to succeed in getting his much-beloved Berlin Wall constructed on every square inch of the border (after stealing people’s property with eminent domain) — indeed, even if Trump’s Wall was as high as the wall in the HBO series Game of Thrones (700 feet) — the decades-long immigration crisis would continue.
I’ve seen immigration reforms all my life. Every one of them causes hope to spring eternal in the minds of advocates of immigration controls — hope that the immigration crisis is finally at an end, providing some sort of inner peace to people whose lives have been consumed by anxiety and depression over the illegals who, then are convinced are coming to get them, steal their jobs, go on welfare, or rape and kill them.
After every single immigration reform, such hopes have been dashed, with anxiety and depression quickly re-gripping the minds of the immigration controllers, thereby causing a new round of immigration reform measures to be discussed, argued about, and ultimately enacted, when the entire process then begins to repeat itself, over and over again.
One of the most notable reforms was when they made it illegal for American employers to hire illegal immigrants. That reform was to be the end-all and cure-all for the decades-old immigration crisis. If American employers were turned into felons for hiring illegal immigrants, they would no longer hire illegal immigrants. With no jobs, illegal immigrants would no longer come to the United States. Crisis over. Finally. Inner peace and harmony would be the result.
Alas, the immigration crisis continued. So did the anxiety and depression. So did more rounds of reforms.
There is a simple reason for the perpetual immigration crisis. That reason is socialism. Socialism always produces crises. Just ask the people of Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea.
America’s system of immigration controls is based on the concept of “central planning,” which is a core feature of socialism. A board of government bureaucrats plans, in a top-down, command-and-control fashion, the movements of millions of people in a highly complex market. The planners assign arbitrary immigration quotas to all the countries around the world. They also determine the qualifications and credentials of immigrants that they (the bureaucrats) deem important.
It has never worked, and it will never work. That’s because central planners, no matter how brilliant they might be and no matter how fast their computers are, are unable to plan and direct a complex market process in which people’s valuations are changing every second.
Friedrich Hayek labeled the mindset of the planner “the fatal conceit.” Ludwig von Mises labeled the result of central planning “planned chaos.” Both terms perfectly describe the immigration system in the United States.
Contrary to what many statists often claim, America’s system of immigration controls is not “broken.” Instead, the system is inherently defective. That means that it cannot be fixed. No matter what immigration reform is adopted, the immigration crisis will continue.
There is one — and only one — solution to America’s immigration crisis. That solution is economic liberty, which encompasses free trade and open immigration — open borders — the free movements of goods, services, and people across borders.
I repeat: There is no other solution. Freedom works. It harmonizes people’s interests and activities. It raises people’s standard of living.
Socialism doesn’t work, and it impoverishes people and brings death, suffering, and impoverishment in the process, as it has done in the area of immigration.
Open borders are also consistent with religious principles (e.g., God’s second-greatest commandment), moral principles (eg., the Golden Rule), and freedom principles (e.g., the right to pursue happiness). Immigration controls, on the other hand, violate all those principles.
It’s also worth mentioning that immigration controls bring an immigration police state into existence, one that forces Americans returning from overseas vacations to be subjected to the possibility of forcible disrobing, body cavity searches by federal officials, and cell phone examination and copying by federal officials. Also, domestic highway checkpoints for Americans who have never left the country. Also, roving Border Patrol checkpoints. Warrantless searches of farms and ranches within 100 miles of any border, which encompasses about 2/3 of the American populace. Border Patrol agents boarding Greyhound buses demanding to see people’ papers. Forcible separation of children from parents.
These are all the hallmarks of a totalitarian regime. They are part and parcel of a system of immigration controls. Under a system of open borders, the immigration police state disintegrates in favor of a free, harmonious, peaceful, and prosperous society.