The American Legion Memorial Bridge spans the Potomac River, which forms a border between Maryland and Virginia. According to a website called the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance, “daily traffic averages 235,000 vehicles.”
Since I live in Northern Virginia, I have witnessed this phenomenon first-hand. Sometimes the traffic is so heavy — in one direction or the other or in both directions — that it appears to be a parking lot. Nonetheless, the traffic flows smoothly, as there are no artificial government-made obstructions to the movements of the vehicles.
What is shocking about all this is that anyone from Maryland or beyond can enter the State of Virginia freely. Terrorists. Violent criminals. People with communicable diseases and illnesses, including Covid. People who are stealing our jobs. Drug dealers. People with guns. Sellers of merchandise who are worsening the balance-of-trade deficit. People coming to get on welfare, which increases our taxes. People with children who place them in Virginia public schools, which increases our taxes. People who use our emergency rooms, which increases our taxes.
Let’s imagine that Virginia officials decide to do something about this shockingly dangerous situation. They decide to implement a system of border controls.
Immediately, a border checkpoint is placed on the Virginia side of the American Legion Bridge. Every car from Maryland is now required to stop. Drivers must produce identification. They must answer questions as to why they are entering the state. Vehicles are searched for drugs and weapons. Virginia health inspectors do quick health examinations. People who don’t meet the necessary requirements are required to return to Maryland.
Marylanders quickly realize that they are better off using a number of other crossings into Virginia. Virginia officials quickly respond by placing border checkpoints on those crossing points as well. People begin to circumvent those crossings by swimming across the Potomac or using transporters to ferry them across the river. There are drownings in the turbulent currents of the Potomac.
Virginia quickly enacts legislation making it a felony to illegally enter the state and to illegally hire, transport, harbor, or sell anything to anyone from Maryland who isn’t here legally. A black market in false documents arises.
A Virginia Border Patrol is formed, with authority to conduct warrantless searches of farms and ranches within 30 miles of the border. Roving Border Patrol checkpoints stop vehicles at random and subject them to warrantless searches.
Meanwhile, the traffic backups at all the check points become humongous. Road rage becomes standard and ordinary.
People scream, “Do something about the border crisis!” The mainstream press cries, “We need comprehensive border reform!” But no matter what officials do, the crisis continues.
One day, someone asks my opinion. I respond: There is one — and only one solution — to the Maryland-Virginia border crisis: Lift the border controls. Leave people free to cross back and forth between Maryland and Virginia.
Immediately, border-control advocates go ballistic. “You would just let anyone come into Virginia? Are you nuts? How would we be kept safe? What if everyone in Maryland came to Virginia? You libertarians and your pie-in-the-sky solutions are ridiculous!”
And so the Maryland-Virginia border crisis continues into perpetuity, until people finally come to their senses and realize that the libertarian solution of open borders is the only solution to their border woes.