A common misconception among proponents of America’s socialist system of immigration controls is that the libertarian position favoring genuine open borders would mean no borders at all. That’s just wrong. Simply because people are free to cross a border doesn’t mean that the border disappears. The border remains, even though people are free to cross it, back and forth.
The border between Maryland and Virginia is the Potomac River, just as the Rio Grande is the border between Texas and Mexico.
Every day, countless people cross the Potomac in both directions — from Maryland into Virginia and from Virginia into Maryland. No one keeps count of the exact number of people who are crossing the border in either direction.
Notwithstanding all those people crossing the Potomac in one direction or the other, the Potomac does not disappear. Moreover, it continues to remain the border between Maryland and Virginia even though people are crossing it back and forth.
The situation is no different when we talk about the border between Texas and Mexico. If people were free to cross the Rio Grande, back and forth, the Rio Grande would not dry up or disappear. It would continue to be there, and it would continue to be the border between Texas and Mexico.
A related misconception among immigration-control advocates is that a nation with open borders loses its sovereignty. If we look at the situation between Maryland and Virginia, we see that that claim has no validity either.
When people cross a border, they immediately become subject to the laws of the jurisdiction they have now entered. When people from Maryland cross the border into Virginia, they become subject to the laws of Virginia. For example, Virginia makes it illegal to use a radar detector in one’s car. Thus, a person from Maryland who gets caught using a radar detector in Virginia cannot defend against the charge by claiming he is from Maryland.
It’s no different with respect to the Rio Grande. When Mexican citizens cross the river and enter Texas, they are now subject to the laws of the state of Texas as well as the federal laws of the United States. Thus, even though Mexicans would be free to cross the border and enter Texas, the state of Texas and the U.S. government would fully retain their respective sovereignty.
There is something worth noting about people crossing the border from Maryland into Virginia and vice versa: They continue to remain citizens of the state in which they reside. There is no need for them to change their citizenship simply because they are crossing the border.
The same principle applies to people who cross the international border and enter the United States. They retain their citizenship. There is no need for them to change their citizenship simply because they are crossing the border and entering the United States.
Another misconception among border-control advocates is that when people cross a border, they violate people’s rights. But as can see in our Maryland-Virginia example, such is clearly not the case. When people cross the Potomac, they are not initiating force or fraud against anyone. That is, they are not murdering, raping, stealing, robbing, defrauding, or otherwise violating the rights of other people. Sure, they might do such things after they arrive in Maryland or Virginia, but that’s quite another issue. The fact of simply crossing the Potomac is a purely peaceful act, one that doesn’t violate anyone’s rights.
The situation is no different when Mexicans cross the international bridge in, say, my hometown of Laredo, Texas, which is located on the U.S.-Mexico border. As they cross the midpoint of the bridge and enter the United States, they are violating no one’s rights, just as the Marylander who crosses the Potomac and enters Virginia violates no one’s rights.
It is true that many immigrants trespass onto people’s private farms and ranches along the border. In doing so, they are violating people’s private-property rights. But the only reason they are crossing the border in that way is because of America’s system of immigration controls. If the border was open to the free movements of goods, services, and people, they would be crossing into the United States at regular crossing points, such as the international bridge at Laredo.
There are certain points that are beyond dispute about the decades-old, ongoing, perpetual immigration crisis in America:
- The crisis is rooted in America’s socialist system of immigration controls, given that the system is based on the core socialist principle of central planning, which always produces what Ludwig von Mises called “planned chaos.”
- Socialism can never be made to work, no matter what “comprehensive immigration reform plan” is adopted.
- America’s socialist system of immigration controls comes with death, suffering, and the violation of rights.
- America’s socialist system of immigration controls comes with an immigration police state.
- The only — repeat only — solution to America’s ongoing, perpetual immigration crisis is open borders — genuine open borders — i.e., the eradication of the Border Patrol, ICE, and all restrictions on the free movements of goods, services, and people across borders.
- Open borders is the only system that is consistent with liberty, peace, prosperity, morality, religion, and harmony.