Immigration, Individual Rights, and the New Deal

Until recently, I have never really been a passionate participant in the immigration debate;  however, living here in Arizona, it is virtually impossible to avoid this discussion.  One observation I can make with some confidence is that, like most political debates, few of the participants seem to have opinions that are grounded in a consistent philosophy (rather than just a pragmatic collection of political points of view, as discussed here).  As a result, rather than quoting stats on illegal border crossings or the number of Al Qaeda operatives supposedly running around the Arizona desert, I thought I would try to lay out the philosophical argument for immigration.

Individual Rights Don't Come From the Government
Like the founders of this country, I believe that our individual rights exist by the very fact of our existance as thinking human beings, and that these rights are not the gift of kings or congressmen.  Rights do not flow to us from government, but in fact governments are formed by men as an artificial construct to help us protect those rights, and well-constructed governments, like ours, are carefully limited in their powers to avoid stifling the rights we have inherently as human beings.

Do you see where this is going?  The individual rights we hold dear are our rights as human beings, NOT as citizens.  They flow from our very existence, not from our government. As human beings, we have the right to assemble with whomever we want and to speak our minds.  We have the right to live free of force or physical coercion from other men.  We have the right to make mutually beneficial arrangements with other men, arrangements that might involve exchanging goods, purchasing shelter, or paying another man an agreed upon rate for his work.  We have these rights and more in nature, and have therefore chosen to form governments not to be the source of these rights (for they already existed in advance of governments) but to provide protection of these rights against other men who might try to violate these rights through force or fraud.

So Citizenship Shouldn't Determine What Rights You Have
These rights of speech and assembly and commerce and property shouldn't, therefore, be contingent on "citizenship".  I should be able, equally, to contract for service from David in New Jersey or Lars in Sweden.  David or Lars, who are equally human beings,  have the equal right to buy my property, if we can agree to terms.  If he wants to get away from cold winters in Sweden, Lars can contract with a private airline to fly here, contract with another person to rent an apartment or buy housing, contract with a third person to provide his services in exchange for wages.  But Lars can't do all these things today, and is excluded from these transactions just because he was born over some geographic line?  To say that Lars or any other "foreign" resident has less of a right to engage in these decisions, behaviors, and transactions than a person born in the US is to imply that the US government is somehow the source of the right to pursue these activities, WHICH IT IS NOT.

In fact, when the US government was first formed, there was no differentiation between a "citizen" and "someone who dwells within our borders" - they were basically one in the same.  It is only since then that we have made a distinction.  I can accept that there can be some minimum residence requirements to vote in elections and perform certain government duties, but again these are functions associated with this artificial construct called "government".  There should not be, nor is there any particular philosophical basis for, limiting the rights of association, speech, or commerce based on residency or citizenship, since these rights pre-date the government and the formation of border.

New "Non-Right Rights" Are Killing Immigration
In fact, until the 1930's, the US was generally (though not perfectly) open to immigration, because we accepted the premise that someone who was born beyond our borders had no less right to find their fortune in this country than someone born in Boston or New York.  I won't rehash the history of immigration nor its importance to the building of this country, because I don't want to slip from the philosophical to the pragmatic in my arguments for immigration.

In the 1930's, and continuing to this day, something changed radically in the theory of government in this country that would cause immigration to be severely limited and that would lead to much of the current immigration debate.  With the New Deal, and later with the Great Society and many other intervening pieces of legislation, we began creating what I call non-right rights.  These newly described "rights" were different from the ones I enumerated above.  Rather than existing prior to government, and requiring at most the protection of government, these new rights sprang forth from the government itself and could only exist in the context of having a government.  These non-right rights have multiplied throughout the years, and include things like the "right" to a minimum wage, to health care, to a pension, to education, to leisure time, to paid family leave, to affordable housing, to public transportation, to cheap gasoline, etc. etc. ad infinitum.

Here is a great test to see if something is really a right, vs. one of these fake rights.  Ask yourself, "can I have this right on a desert island".  Speech?  Have at it.  Assembly?  Sure, if there is anyone or things to assemble with?  Property?  Absolutely -- if you convert some palm trees with your mind and labor into a shelter, that's your home.  Health care?  Uh, how?  Who is going to provide it?  And if someone could provide it, who is going to force them to provide it if they don't want to.  Ditto education.  Ditto a pension.

These non-right rights all share one thing in common:  They require the coercive power of the government to work.  They require that the government take the product of one person's labor and give it to someone else.  They require that the government force individuals to make decisions in certain ways that they might not have of their own free will. 

And since these non-right rights spring form and depend on government, suddenly citizenship matters in the provision of these rights.  The government already bankrupts itself trying to provide all these non-right rights to its citizens  -- just as a practical matter, it can't afford to provide them to an unlimited number of new entrants.  It was as if for 150 years we had been running a very successful party, attracting more and more guests each year.  The party had a cash bar, so everyone had to pay their own way, and some people had to go home thirsty but most had a good time.  Then, suddenly, for whatever reasons, the long-time party guests decided they didn't like the cash bar and banned it, making all drinks free.  But they quickly learned that they had to lock the front doors, because they couldn't afford to give free drinks to everyone who showed up.  After a while, with the door locked and all the same people at the party, the whole thing suddenly got kind of dull.

Today, we find ourselves in political gridlock over immigration.  The left, which generally supports immigration, has a lot at stake in not admitting that the new non-right rights are somehow subordinate to fundamental individual rights, and so insist new immigrants receive the full range of government services, thus making immigration prohibitively expensive.  The right, whether through xenophobia or just poor civics, tends to assume that non-citizens have no rights whatsoever, whether it be the "right" to health care or the more fundamental right, say, to habeas corpus.

A Not-so-Modest Proposal
So what would I do?  Well, this is blogging, so I am not really obligated to come up with a plan, I can just complain.  After all, Howard Dean said "Right now it's not our job to give out specifics", so why should I have to?  But, I will take a shot at it anyway:

  1. Anyone may enter or reside in the US. The government may prevent entry of a very short list of terrorists and criminals at the border, but everyone else is welcome to come and stay as long as they want for whatever reason.  Anyone may buy property in the US, regardless or citizenship or residency.  Anyone in the US may trade with anyone in the world on the same terms they trade with their next door neighbor.
  2. The US government is obligated to protect the individual rights, particularly those in the Bill of Rights, of all people physically present in our borders, citizen or not.  The government may also define a certain number of core emergency services (e.g. fire, police, trauma care) to which all residents, citizens or not, have equal access.
  3. Certain government functions, including voting and holding office, may require formal "citizenship".  Citizenship should be easier to achieve, based mainly on some minimum residency period, and can be denied after this residency only for a few limited reasons (e.g. convicted of a felony).  The government may set no quotas or numerical limits on new citizenships.
  4. All people present in the US pay the same taxes in the same way.  A non-citizen or even a short term visitor pays sales taxes on purchases and income taxes on income earned while present in the US just like anyone else.  Note that this is not radical - I am a citizen and resident of Arizona but other states like California tax me on income earned in that state and purchases made in that state.
  5. While I would like to eliminate much of the welfare state altogether, I won't address that today (Don't underestimate, though, how damaging the welfare state and the
    highly regulated economy can be to immigrants, and the problem that can
    cause, as demonstrated today in France)  For purposes of this plan I will merely state that the non-right right type government services should be divided into two pools:  Services only available to citizens and services available to those who are paying into the system. 
    • The first category might include pure handouts, like Welfare, farm subsidies, and public housing.  This category can even include public policy decision like "allowing squatters or vagrancy on public lands", since this is an effective subsidy as well in the form of public housing. 
    • The second include services like public transportation or unemployment insurance -- if the individual is paying the fair (for example, the employer is paying her unemployment premiums) then they should have access to the service.  Social Security is a tough beast to classify - I would put it in the "Citizen" category as currently structured, but would gladly put it in the "available to everyone" category if SS could be restructured to better match contributions with benefits, as in a private account system.

That's enough for now.  I wrote more on immigration here.

Postscript-  And please don't tell me that a government's job is to "defend its borders".  Its not.  A government's job is to defend its citizens and residents.  There are times that this job may literally require defending the borders (e.g. France in 1940) but that clever misrepresentation of the role of government is the linguistic trick immigration opponents use to justify all sorts of semi-fascist actions, like building this happy little wall in Nogales:

Nogaleswall_1

Which seems awfully reminiscent of this wall in Berlin:

 Berlinwall

Compare Berlin and Nogales.  What is the fundamental principle that makes preventing the movement of people one-way across a border one of the worst human rights violations in the last century, but preventing them from moving the other way across a border is a fine policy with bi-partisan support here in Arizona?

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  • http://www.xanga.com/gopheraggie Craig

    If we could accomplish steps 4 and 5 first, I would then agree with a more flexible border policy. But since that is unlikely, I must be in favor of stronger border enforcement.

  • http://politics.lel-hosting.com/ Matt

    What is the fundamental principle that makes locking the door of your house to prevent unwanted entry an example of basic responsible safety, while locking the door of your house to prevent your current houseguests from leaving when they choose to do so is considered "unlawful imprisonment" and is a felony?

    The distinction between Nogales and Berlin is exactly as rational.

    I think there's a good prudential case to be made for a much more open immigration policy. A policy so open that anyone who wanted to come here to work, or for any other legitimate purpose, would have no trouble at all in doing so, and we could thus devote our law-enforcement resources to preventing the entry of those who want to come for _illegitimate_ purposes (such as terrorism). It's easy for a terrorist to hide among honest people, when up until the moment he does something violent, the honest people are all breaking exactly the same laws as him. It wouldn't be so easy if people who ought have nothing to hide _actually_ had nothing to hide, because the law didn't try to prohibit their activities.

    To say that the need to build a wall across a border speaks of bad policy is logical. But to say that the building of such a wall is not within the legitimate powers of government is insane.

  • Bill

    I don't have any objections to your philosophical construct, but your history is on the shaky side. To say that "until the 1930's, the US was generally (though not perfectly) open to immigration," pretty much turns history on its head. Most of the 19th century was a battleground in the immigration debate, from the Know-Nothings through the legislation limiting the immigration of Asians, there has been a powerful lobby for restricting new entrants. The New Deal complicated the arguments, but it certainly didn't start them.

  • http://libertycorner.blogspot.com Tom

    I agree with your conclusion. I disagree with your premise that "individual rights exist by the very fact of our existance [sic] as thinking human beings." Where do those innate rights come from? Are they in our genes? Do they flow from heaven, like manna?

    I carry the following inscription below the banner of my blog: "Liberty is not an innate human condition. It must be gained and kept through politics and war." I have explained my position in detail at http://libertycornerii.blogspot.com/2005/01/practical-libertarianism-f_110608596578260072.html

  • http://www.arizonawatch.com BridgetB

    Coyote is right!

    Humans have rights because they are reasoning beings. Its all be explained a million times over by such people as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Ayn Rand.

    Call me crazy but isn't it basically IN THE CONSTITUTION that rights are defended by the government, not CREATED by it? Gees.

    Tom does not make a disticntion between rights and a political situation. One does not necessarily equate to the other. Just because a man has rights does not mean that others will naturally respect them. Its up to the individual to defend his rights and execute his life accordingly. TO THESE ENDS a govenment may be formed.... Tom puts the cart before the horse.

  • Max Lybbert

    Tom, does that mean a government cannot be guilty of human rights abuses?

  • http://honestpartisan.blogspot.com honestpartisan

    Most of your prescriptions actually already describe the state of affairs as they currently are. The "rights" that you deplore (basically eligibility for various kinds of public assistance) are already restricted based upon immigration status. Just about the only things illegal immigrants have a right to is public education and emergency-room health care. Cash assistance from welfare, Supplemental Security Income, public housing/vouchers, and food stamps all have elaborate eligibility hurdles for non-citizens. Even legal permanent residents (green-card holders) aren't eligible for some of these things unless they've had that status for five years. (I'm not sure where there is a right to things you talked about like leisure time and cheap gasoline that is anywhere enforced by the government, so I'll take a pass on that argument).

    If the only issue in immigration was eligibility for government benefits and otherwise anyone could move here if they wanted to, then the remedy would be simple: the status quo, at least insofar as eligibility for government benefits is concerned.

    You don't really address opposition to more open immigration as expressed on the right (security issues) and the left (downward pressure on wages, environmental consequences). As it happens, I disagree with the anti-immigration arguments of both right and left, but your focus on government benefits is not that consequential in my view.

  • http://www.captainscomments.com Captain Midnight

    The Berlin / Nogales wall comparison, while providing an opportunity to display nifty graphics, is essentially flawed. The Nogales wall is the same thing as the fence around one's yard, albeit larger. It's basically the same theme of "This is my land, and I choose who I invite in" writ on a larger scale.

    If the walls in Berlin and Nogales were truly equivalent, we'd see border guards shooting people as they tried to leave the U.S.

  • http://www.ericsgrumbles.net/archives/134152.php Eric's Grumbles Before The Grave

    Immigration

    It has been quite a while since I've written about immigration. In fact, I haven't done it since I pissed off my buddy Nick, the LiberContrarian. Hopefully Nick has gotten over his mad, that way he can get mad all...

  • http://www.ericsgrumbles.net/archives/134152.php Eric's Grumbles Before The Grave

    Immigration

    It has been quite a while since I've written about immigration. In fact, I haven't done it since I pissed off my buddy Nick, the LiberContrarian. Hopefully Nick has gotten over his mad, that way he can get mad all...

  • http://www.ericsgrumbles.net/archives/134152.php Eric's Grumbles Before The Grave

    Immigration

    It has been quite a while since I've written about immigration. In fact, I haven't done it since I pissed off my buddy Nick, the LiberContrarian. Hopefully Nick has gotten over his mad, that way he can get mad all...

  • http://www.ericsgrumbles.net/archives/134152.php Eric's Grumbles Before The Grave

    Immigration

    It has been quite a while since I've written about immigration. In fact, I haven't done it since I pissed off my buddy Nick, the LiberContrarian. Hopefully Nick has gotten over his mad, that way he can get mad all...

  • Max Lybbert

    It took me a day to truly get the Berlin/Nogales wall comparison, and I think it goes like this:

    "When there was a Berlin Wall, we said 'look at how terrible the East German Government is; their citizens want to leave because it's so terrible; it's even worse because the Germans do everything they can to keep them in such a terrible place.' Today we say 'look at how terrible conditions are in Mexico; the citizens there risk their life to leave; it's a good thing we have a wall in place to keep them in such a terrible place.'"

  • http://www.ericsgrumbles.net/ Eric

    Max hits the nail on the head, and the crucial point everyone else misses, about the wall along our border and the Iron Curtain. First, bear in mind that in classic liberal theory property is an individual right. So, putting up a fence on a national border is in no way analogous to putting up a fence around your yard, unless you are willing to turn property into a collective right. That introduces a whole slew of new philosophical problems, though, about property ownership and rights. I don't think you actually want to go there. Second, consider what the real purpose of that wall is. In what way, really, is keeping people in a place all that different from keeping people out of a place? Those are just two different sides of the same coin. You are trying to keep people in a specific place and limit their inherent rights to freedom of movement and freedom of association. We abhor other countries that do that, yet abhor our own own country for not doing that. Are you truly trying to argue that freedom of movement and association (part of the inherent right of individual liberty) are things that you get if you are from the United States but not if you are from Mexico? Are you saying that we needed to fight for those things for Russians, Poles, East Germans, Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians, etc. for 50 years, but that we should fight to prevent Mexicans, Costa Ricans, Salvadorans, etc. from having those things? Looking at the list of ethnic groups, do you wonder at all that folks on the right who oppose immigration are viewed as racists? I'm not saying that you are, I think you just need to revisit your first principles. But the perception is going to be there: You favored free movement and association for white folks but not for brown folks. Something to consider.

  • genardo

    you wrote: "These non-right rights have multiplied throughout the years, and include things like the "right" to [...] education"

    later you wrote: "The right, whether through xenophobia or just poor civics, tends to assume that non-citizens have no rights whatsoever"

    It is interesting to note that you attribute "poor civics" as a possible root cause for confusion about where our rights come from, and is therefore a contributing factor to the inability to find a solution.

    Yet, were your core political philosopy to be implemented in this country, compulsory education for children, enforced by the government, would disappear.

    It is not difficult to imagine the magnitude of the untractable problems and totalitarian menaces that would result from millions of citizens with "no civics"

  • Max Lybbert

    genardo, if I understood the post correctly, Coyote isn't calling for an end to public education, just an end to calling it a "right" on the order of the right to free speech:

    "For purposes of this plan I will merely state that the non-right right type government services should be divided into two pools: Services only available to citizens and services available to those who are paying into the system."

    I understand that to include education (and paying into the system includes paying taxes).

  • markm

    genardo: What's worse: voters with no government-sponsored "civics" education, or voters with civics miseducation? Forty-five years ago when I started school, the education establishment was liberal but patriotic, but there were a lot of things related to citizenship they taught wrong. Now the colleges of education are socialist indoctrination centers, but even without that, a government-funded program is more likely to be structured to produce obedient sheeple, limited mainly by the incompetence typical of government programs.

    It's most unlikely that a government school will ever teach that we started with a Constitution intended to hobble the federal government because in the Founders' opinion, governments were often the worst threats to their own citizens lives, liberty, and property. I was fortunate enough to go to school back when they still taught history not too inaccurately and eventually I figured that out for myself (with the glaring examples of the 20th Century in fron of me), but now they don't even teach real history. Even 40 years ago, public schools did not teach that rights were something that you had independently of government. Even 40 years ago, they hurried past the 2nd Amendment with some mumbling about militia and "collective right". Now, as far as I can tell the schools spend most of their time teaching "sharing" and blind obedience, and expect students to work at "community service" but not at reading, writing, and arithmetic.

  • http://www.ericsgrumbles.net/archives/134396.php Eric's Grumbles Before The Grave

    The Sovereign Individual

    Around the Life, Liberty & Property Community, and some related blogs that aren't part of the community, there's been a burst of writing this week on individual rights. And it's really good stuff. Brad Warbiany writes about a Right to...

  • http://www.ericsgrumbles.net/archives/134396.php Eric's Grumbles Before The Grave

    The Sovereign Individual

    Around the Life, Liberty & Property Community, and some related blogs that aren't part of the community, there's been a burst of writing this week on individual rights. And it's really good stuff. Brad Warbiany writes about a Right to...

  • mike

    Of course, property (and society) can be a collective right. The US government protects US citizens. The oft-heard comparison between the Berlin Wall and the US border (or the Israeli border) is simply facile. The Berlin Wall kept people in; the Israeli/US walls keep enemies/lawbreakers out. They are all walls, but you might as well compare Lubyanka Prison to The Louvre - they are both buildings.

    While I can't speak for every anti-immigration person out there, this has nothing to do with the color of one's skin. It's about enforcing our laws (or scrapping them), protecting our borders from terrorists hiding among migrant workers, and reducing the huge numbers of deaths among immigrants crossing the desert or hiding in cargo containers.

  • Max Lybbert

    mike:

    /* The oft-heard comparison between the Berlin Wall and the US border (or the Israeli border) is simply facile. The Berlin Wall kept people in; the Israeli/US walls keep enemies/lawbreakers out.
    */

    Great job using loaded terms. The US wall keeps people out, but the question is are they people we should be keeping out? And by keeping them out, are we condemning them (as people) to live in substandard conditions because of their birthplace?

    /* Of course, property (and society) can be a collective right. The US government protects US citizens.
    */

    The US government also has military bases in France and Germany to protect Europeans. So it's not unprecedented for a government to protect citizens from another country.

    In fact, the US government protect foreign tourists when they visit the States. It's not like police respond to a 911 call by asking, "Was the victim a legal citizen? Because if he was just a tourist, we're not going any farther here."

  • http://leftbrainfemale.blogspot.com/2005/11/carnival-of-liberty-xxi.html Left Brain Female in a Right Brain World

    Carnival of Liberty XXI

    Wow! Hard to believe how quickly this year has flown - here it is Thanksgiving already! Well, if you need some fodder for conversation around the turkey table that is sure to generate lively discussion, you've come to the right place.

  • http://leftbrainfemale.blogspot.com/2005/11/carnival-of-liberty-xxi.html Left Brain Female in a Right Brain World

    Carnival of Liberty XXI

    Wow! Hard to believe how quickly this year has flown - here it is Thanksgiving already! Well, if you need some fodder for conversation around the turkey table that is sure to generate lively discussion, you've come to the right place.

  • http://leftbrainfemale.blogspot.com/2005/11/carnival-of-liberty-xxi.html Left Brain Female in a Right Brain World

    Carnival of Liberty XXI

    Wow! Hard to believe how quickly this year has flown - here it is Thanksgiving already! Well, if you need some fodder for conversation around the turkey table that is sure to generate lively discussion, you've come to the right place.

  • http://leftbrainfemale.blogspot.com/2005/11/carnival-of-liberty-xxi.html Left Brain Female in a Right Brain World

    Carnival of Liberty XXI

    Wow! Hard to believe how quickly this year has flown - here it is Thanksgiving already! Well, if you need some fodder for conversation around the turkey table that is sure to generate lively discussion, you've come to the right place.

  • http://www.newworldman.us/archives/2005/11/carnival_of_lib_3.html New World Man - he's got a roadmap of Jupiter

    Carnival of Liberty XXI

    Carnival of Liberty XXI is up at Left Brain Female. Lots of good stuff! Among the contributions, Armed and Dangerous says, "We need a propertarian case for the Internet as agora." There is a war of metaphors going on right now: the Internet as place ve...

  • http://www.newworldman.us/archives/2005/11/carnival_of_lib_3.html New World Man - he's got a roadmap of Jupiter

    Carnival of Liberty XXI

    Carnival of Liberty XXI is up at Left Brain Female. Lots of good stuff! Among the contributions, Armed and Dangerous says, "We need a propertarian case for the Internet as agora." There is a war of metaphors going on right now: the Internet as place ve...

  • http://tired-immigrant.blogspot.com Tired Immigrant

    Good blog. The pictures of "the two walls" were thought provoking.

    As a would-be immigrant, who might have to return to his home country because of stupid bureaucratic rules, I just wanted to say: "Thank you".

    I see myself as a citizen of a virtual country where I have more in common with folk like you than I have with many of my own compatriots "back home" or with the bigots everywhere.

  • mike

    Max -

    Honestly, I'm not sure which terms were "loaded". Facile? Characterizing Hezbollah as enemies? Illegal immigrants as lawbreakers?

    I'm not arguing to condemn anyone to a life of poverty. I'm all for free trade, which I think is the most effective "assistance" we can give other countries. Before 9/11, I was for more immigration, on the grounds that we Americans benefit from a flow of people dynamic enough to endure the hardships of leaving home.

    But this is based on the benefit to Americans. The US government is responsible to Americans, not the New World Order or the UN.

    Five years ago, I supported more legal immigration, but enforcing the laws we have. If you have read the stories of Chinese migrants dying at sea, Latinos dying in the desert, women forced into a life of prostitution, you can't help but support law enforcement. Unfortunately, 9/11 revealed the danger of our relatively open borders.

    Sorry, but I'll support any policy that helps keep NYC from being hit by a dirty bomb, even if that restricts some foreigner's economic choices.

    Boston gets shut down because one smuggler tells a tall tale about another smuggler to the Feds? The credibility this story was given depletes our ability to worry about other threats. Close down the border effectively and this problem becomes manageable.

    I loved Atlas Shrugged, but Ayn Rand's Economic Man was not much closer to reality than Marx's. While unfettered (economic, spatial, etc.) freedom for everyone is important, it is not the absolute goal.

    In real life, the Nogales wall and the Berlin wall look the same, but are polar opposites. I shrug when I see this kind of comparison in the NYT. But I expect libertarians to think things through more carefully.

    Mike

  • mike

    Max -

    Honestly, I'm not sure which terms were "loaded". Facile? Characterizing Hezbollah as enemies? Illegal immigrants as lawbreakers?

    I'm not arguing to condemn anyone to a life of poverty. I'm all for free trade, which I think is the most effective "assistance" we can give other countries. Before 9/11, I was for more immigration, on the grounds that we Americans benefit from a flow of people dynamic enough to endure the hardships of leaving home.

    But this is based on the benefit to Americans. The US government is responsible to Americans, not the New World Order or the UN.

    Five years ago, I supported more legal immigration, but enforcing the laws we have. If you have read the stories of Chinese migrants dying at sea, Latinos dying in the desert, women forced into a life of prostitution, you can't help but support law enforcement. Unfortunately, 9/11 revealed the danger of our relatively open borders.

    Sorry, but I'll support any policy that helps keep NYC from being hit by a dirty bomb, even if that restricts some foreigner's economic choices.

    Boston gets shut down because one smuggler tells a tall tale about another smuggler to the Feds? The credibility this story was given depletes our ability to worry about other threats. Close down the border effectively and this problem becomes manageable.

    I loved Atlas Shrugged, but Ayn Rand's Economic Man was not much closer to reality than Marx's. While unfettered (economic, spatial, etc.) freedom for everyone is important, it is not the absolute goal.

    In real life, the Nogales wall and the Berlin wall look the same, but are polar opposites. I shrug when I see this kind of comparison in the NYT. But I expect libertarians to think things through more carefully.

    Mike

  • Fernando Teson

    Well done, Coyote. I lived in Phoenix for 17 years, and my heart went to these immigrants. They are heroes, as I said, heroes of freedom.

  • jim

    Rights? To break the laws? To disrespect the USA It's laws,it's people, it's language??? Illegal aliens are the number one problem in this country right now. Go through the process, get your papers in order so we know who you are, get tested so we can see if you are bringing in diseases to this coutry, if your a felon stay home, don't overstay your visa, and try to have a little respect for the culture of the place you are visiting. Don't stick up for all mexicansjust because they are mexican, that is a mistake. Bad mexicans are giving all of them a bad reputation, solidarity sucks. people are people wherever you go, there are allways good and bad. be carefuul of who you support, (Illegal is against the law) somtimes rules suck but you can't change them, I don't like to pay taxes but I do because it is the law. You haveto go by the laws in this country, if you don't you have no respect and don't belong here

  • jim

    Rights? To break the laws? To disrespect the USA It's laws,it's people, it's language??? Illegal aliens are the number one problem in this country right now. Go through the process, get your papers in order so we know who you are, get tested so we can see if you are bringing in diseases to this coutry, if your a felon stay home, don't overstay your visa, and try to have a little respect for the culture of the place you are visiting. Don't stick up for all mexicansjust because they are mexican, that is a mistake. Bad mexicans are giving all of them a bad reputation, solidarity sucks. people are people wherever you go, there are allways good and bad. be carefuul of who you support, (Illegal is against the law) somtimes rules suck but you can't change them, I don't like to pay taxes but I do because it is the law. You haveto go by the laws in this country, if you don't you have no respect and don't belong here

  • Bart M Cajas

    Don't you know that you are immediately deported in Mexico if you are an illegal immigrant. What are the difference with out laws with Mexico. Everyone has rights as long as those rights are base upon our laws. Violating our immigration laws is not a right, it is a civil violation. those who violated our immigration laws should not be rewarde, otherwise many will be following. In fact the border is now so full of people wanting to come across. Speed boats are carrying illegal immigrants from Cuba to the shores of the United States. That provision of the law should be struck out.

  • http://www.theicea.org beverly Miko

    INTERVIEW: American Cultural Ambassadors David and Renate Jakupca with Manuel Bartsch with Senator Mike DeWine on Illegal Immigration.

    Cleveland, Ohio July 4, 2006 - Manuel Bartsch, a German teenager who didn't know he was in the United States illegally made a renewed appeal recently to stay in the country and thanked new found friends U.S. Sen. Michael DeWine, R-Ohio, and Rep. Paul Gillmor, R-Tiffin or supporting him when he was jailed last December.
    "I consider myself an American," said Manuel Bartsch, 18, who has lived in Gilboa, southwest of Toledo, for nearly half his life. "I grew up here. I have a lot of friends back home. I'm a part of the community. Hopefully, I can continue on doing what I'm doing."
    He learned he was in the U.S. illegally in December when he was jailed for 16 days after trying to find out his Social Security number so he could take a college entrance exam.
    Bartsch returned to the Cleveland area where he was jailed to thank private citizens and politicians who spoke up on his behalf.
    Immigration attorney David Leopold said Bartsch is awaiting a hearing on his immigration status, which could take weeks or months.
    “There is no comparison between Bartsch and the millions of illegal immigrants who never had any intention of complying with the rules, as the young German did. Equating him with them is simply dishonest. Bartsch intended to comply with the rules. He may deserve a break. Those who intentionally are breaking the law do not.” said David Jakupca about the Bartsch situation.
    The situation could be resolved sooner if Congress passes a bill allowing Bartsch to remain here or if immigration legislation currently pending allows Bartsch and others in similar circumstances to remain in the United States.
    Bartsch said he would obey the law if ordered to leave the country but would find it difficult.
    "I just take it day by day," he said. "I try to not think about it."
    Bartsch won't be deported before at least the end of the year.
    At the request of Sen. Mike DeWine of Ohio, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee's immigration subcommittee, has requested a report on Bartsch's case from the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The request blocks Bartsch from being deported this year even if a judge orders it.
    DeWine has introduced a measure that's part of the Senate's immigration legislation that would let illegal immigrants' children stay in the country and go to state universities if they have been in the U.S. for five consecutive years and finish high school here.
    Another piece of legislation that would give Bartsch permanent residency status was introduced last month by U.S. Sen. Michael DeWine, R-Ohio, and Rep. Paul Gillmor, R-Tiffin, who Bartsch met with.
    “I just told them that I appreciated them introducing the legislation and hope they continue my cause and help me out,” he said. “DeWine told me that one way or another, they were going to help me out. I’m pretty confident.”

    Bartsch traveled from Germany to Ohio in 1997 on a 90-day visa with a U.S. citizen, Toby Deal, who took custody of Bartsch in Germany when Bartsch's grandmother died. Deal never adopted him nor processed his immigration papers in the U.S.
    Bartsch will graduate Friday evening from Pandora-Gilboa High School and has asked for time to thank his fellow graduates and the community for their support. On Wednesday, seniors will share their remembrances of their time with Bartsch during an after-school gathering.
    German American Business Association (GABA) businesses supports Bartsch: Fred Baker, 63, who emigrated from England in 1964 as a 22-year-old auto mechanic and now owns a Porsche-Audi dealership, said he helped Bartsch informally by encouraging friends, including those in public office, to support Bartsch, after hearing he had been jailed.
    "I didn't think that was right considering the fact that there are millions of illegal immigrants running around," said Baker, who offered a job at his suburban Cleveland dealership to Bartsch if that would help resolve his immigration status.
    Baker said allowing Bartsch to stay in the U.S. wouldn't amount to amnesty, which some oppose as encouraging illegal immigration, because Bartsch was unaware of his immigration responsibilities when he was brought here by adults.
    "He didn't know anything," Baker said.

    Federal legislation proposal: http://www.dreamact.info

    Contact Info:
    Breann González
    U.S. Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH)
    152 Russell Senate Office Building
    Washington D.C. 20510
    Direct: 202.224.7997
    Cell: 202.531.5511

  • La Mano

    Your 'citizen of the world' ideas are misguided and just silly. Good fences make good neighbors just as good borders do.

  • Fuckalatino

    Fuck all the mexicans... they smell, they stink, they took my daddy's job, they got my mom pregnant, stole my dog and ate it, PUPPY GORDITA MOTHER FUCKERS!!! FUCK EM ALL!! NUKE EM BUSH, NUKE EM!!!

  • bigmaq1980

    You knew you'd be open to incoherent nonsense such as the poster previous to me.

    Coyote, thanks for your line of thinking, something I've not hit upon yet. However, I'm not sure this obviates the need for some way to manage the border.

  • IrateScientist

    The distinctions between the Berlin Wall and the Nogales Wall is that the former was built to keep people in, while the latter was built to keep people out. Prisons have walls, and houses have walls, but that does not mean that houses are prisons. As a US citizen, I have certain rights and prerogatives. They have value, and they belong to me. They are property, which I inherited from my parents, and it is the duty of the State to defend them from those who would deprive me of them.

    Now, I realize that, from your 30,000 feet perspective, there is no reason why I should have that property, instead of some deserving person from Mexico or China. But that is true of all inherited property, not just citizenship.

    You may ask, how does it deprive me of my property to allow people to cross the border freely? Try a thought experiment. A) If I could sell my citizenship, would there be buyers? Yes, there would, at a very high price. So it must have value. Now, if anyone who wanted to could move here, would my citizenship still be valuable? No, it would be a meaningless trifle. So, what you are saying is that you have a plan to take something valuable away from me, giving me nothing in return, and I should be OK with that because you have a convoluted theory about the origins of rights. OK, and do you have a bridge I could buy?

  • Scott L

    "I can accept that there can be some minimum residence requirements to
    vote in elections and perform certain government duties, but again these
    are functions associated with this artificial construct called
    "government". "

    In your construct.... what does government do? Seems to that if you are to have sovereign nations, the government that you vote for must differentiate you (citizen) from people of other countries. If you provide conditions not provided by other states and allow for open immigration, soon you will have nothing appealing about your lands....

    This view, by the way, leads me to considerable conflict in the Libertarian view of good national defence and law as derived from our U.S. Constitution and trying to reconcile that with open borders. You can't be an effective nation state without borders.....

    Oh Yes and this comment: "Rights do not flow to us from government, but in fact governments are formed by men as an artificial construct to help us protect those rights, and well-constructed governments, like ours, are carefully limited in their powers to avoid stifling the rights we have inherently as human beings."

    You must read MSM more than I do.... seems to me that our government’s construction of late, is far from well.