For some time now, there have been some libertarians who have tried desperately to convince themselves and others that America’s system of immigration controls, rather than open borders, is the genuine libertarian position.
Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. That’s because of the libertarian non-aggression principle. It holds that people are free to engage in any peaceful act so long as their conduct does not consist of the initiation of force or fraud. Since crossing a political border is an entirely peaceful act, it is the genuine libertarian position.
But there is another way we can tell that America’s system of immigration controls is not libertarian, something that libertarian proponents of immigration controls never — repeat never — confront and address because it is so uncomfortable for them to do so. America’s system of immigration controls comes with a police state. And there is no possible way to reconcile the libertarian philosophy with a police state, which is what makes libertarian proponents of immigration controls so uncomfortable.
Let’s examine some examples of this immigration police state, both recent and longstanding, and ask ourselves a simple question: Is it really possible that the libertarian philosophy embraces these police-state measures? I think the question answers itself but let’s ask the question with each police-state measure we examine.
1. Concertina wire along the U.S. side of the Rio Grande. Does concertina wire sound like a libertarian thing? And take a look at this article from the August 31, 2023, Houston Chronicle, which states that Texas troopers treated 133 migrants for injuries from the razor wire over a period of just two months last summer. Do injuries from immigration-control concertina wire sound libertarian?
2. Long strings of buoys placed in the Rio Grande, some of which have underwater concertina wire that cannot be seen. Take a look at this article in USA Today detailing the deaths of two people that appear to have been caused by this aspect of immigration controls. Do those deaths sound libertarian?
3. The Berlin Wall that is being constructed along the border. Does a Berlin Wall sound libertarian? See this November 14, 2023, article from the New York Times whose title says it all: “Border Wall Falls Leave Migrants With Devastating — and Costly — Injuries.” Do devastating and costly injuries arising from a Berlin Wall sound libertarian?
4. Warrantless searches of farms and ranches by the Border Patrol within 100 miles of the border. Do searches that violate the Fourth Amendment sound libertarian?
5. Fixed highway checkpoints that subject people who have never entered Mexico to questions, demands for documents production, and warrantless searches. Do those things sound libertarian?
6. Roving Border Patrol warrantless stops and warrantless searches, where the Border Patrol simply stops and searches any vehicle it wants that is traveling near the border. Does that sound libertarian?
7. The criminalization of hiring, transporting, harboring, or caring of illegal immigrants. Does the criminalization of such peaceful acts sound libertarian?
8. The warrantiess boarding of Greyhound buses and the demand that passengers produce their papers. Does that sound libertarian?
9. Violent raids on American businesses that have hired illegal immigrants to work in their businesses. Does that sound libertarian?
Finally, it’s worth noting that America’s immigration-control system is a socialist system, one based on the core socialist principle of central planning. That’s the reason for America’s decades-old, perpetual, never-ending immigration crisis. That is the inherently defective system that libertarian advocates of immigration controls still think that they are going to reform and fix. Does socialism sound libertarian?
Of course, like everyone else, libertarians are free to advocate America’s system of immigration controls or any other statist measure. But they are wrong when they maintain that libertarianism is a philosophy of death, injuries, suffering, and an immigration police state. Libertarianism is a consistent philosophy that comes with life, peace, prosperity, and harmony.