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Nations can and do exist without immigration restrictions

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By Ilya Somin August 18 at 3:58 PM

One of the most common arguments advanced by immigration restrictionists is that we must curtail migration because a nation can’t exist without borders. As Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump recently put in his recent statement on immigration policy, “A nation without borders is not a nation. [Therefore] There must be a wall across the southern border.” This claim is simply false.

Even if we assume that a nation cannot exist without borders (itself a contestable claim because many nations have historically had unclear or contested boundaries), it does not follow that the maintenance of borders requires immigration restrictions. In reality, borders have a wide range of other functions, besides regulating immigration. For example, they define the territory within which a given government’s laws are binding, and also the land area within which it may deploy its armed forces without getting permission from other governments. If all immigration restrictions were abolished tomorrow, borders could readily continue to facilitate these and other purposes. A nation that doesn’t exclude peaceful migrants can still bar invading armies.

The history of the United States also shows that borders – and nations – can exist without immigration restrictions. Until the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the federal government did not forbid voluntary immigration. Indeed, the original meaning of the Constitution did not give Congress the power to do so, allowing it to restrict eligibility for citizenship, but not to forbid migration. Some state governments had laws excluding immigrants, but not the federal government (and migrants excluded by one state could still potentially enter through another).

If we take Trump’s theory (and others like it) seriously, the Declaration of Independence did not make the United States a nation because it did not establish any immigration restrictions. Even worse, it condemned George III for “obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners [and] refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither.” Instead of celebrating Independence Day on July 4, we should commemorate the enactment of the Chinese Exclusion Act. Jefferson Davis and his friends need not have taken the trouble of trying to secede from the United States in 1861. They should instead have argued that it simply did not exist in the first place.

Even today, some nations, such as Argentina, do not restrict immigration. Few would argue that Argentina is not a real nation, that it has no borders, or that it somehow ceased to exist when it adopted a virtual open borders policy towards migrants in 2004.

The debate over immigration policy raises a number of genuinely complex issues regarding the economic, political, and cultural effects of migration, and the extent to which it is morally permissible to make immigration policy without considering the freedom and well-being of would-be immigrants themselves. There are restrictionist arguments that deserve serious consideration, such as claims that immigration might create dangerous “political externalities” that reduce the quality of public policy. But the assertion that we must restrict immigration because nations cannot exist without borders isn’t one of them.

...

Ilya Somin is Professor of Law at George Mason University. His research focuses on constitutional law, property law, and popular political participation. He is the author of "The Grasping Hand: Kelo v. City of New London and the Limits of Eminent Domain" and "Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government is Smarter."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/08/18/nations-can-and-do-exist-without-immigration-restrictions/

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people should be allowed to live wherever they want. this whole idea that we have to 'stay within the lines' is obviously a new construct..

Why, then, is there the perception that more immigration causes more crime? At least part of the answer is that prominent conservative media personalities and politicians try to so hard to make a connection that isn’t there. A 2008 study found that of the discussions of illegal immigration on Lou Dobbs’ television show the previous year, 52 percent mentioned crime, as did 45 percent of the discussion of illegal immigration on Bill O’Reilly’s show and 39 percent of Glenn Beck’s show.

The American public deserves to hear straight talk about the issues that face the nation. But Mr. Trump is neither telling the truth nor simply being scrappy. He is appealing to the worst stereotypes of brown-skinned people who sell drugs to the children and rape the women. This isn’t straight talk, and it isn’t just insensitive. It’s false.

http://www.salon.com/2015/07/07/this_proves_donald_trump_is_lying_here_are_the_actual_facts_on_immigrants_and_crime/

Edited by decocker

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Well at one time there were no written laws and Professors of Law.

So do we need Professors of Law?


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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Nations can exist without a lot of things.. Somalia for example exists without meaningful laws, it does not mean it is a smart thing to do. Argentina has had net zero migration for long time, they don't deal with illegal immigration through law because they don't have to. Brazil did not have to for a long time, now they are sending people to the US to learn border control.

So.. let's say as a country we decide to get serious on zero population growth. Most western countries have been zero growth for a long time and really only grow through immigration... but say we decide that the land within our borders can support say.. 500 million people with a good quality of life. So we enact programs to have fewer children and set aside land for food and make sure we use our resources so that things such as water are used only as much as can be replenished and the air pollution is no more than can be removed naturally... An awesome little socialist paradise that can sustain 500 million people.. Is it really OK for other parts of the world to decide to just move in and push that country over the edge because they didn't make the same sacrifice themselves?

One example: China made the decision decades ago to reduce its population by putting "programs" in place to encourage couples to have only one child. That is quite a sacrifice to make for an entire generation (probably multiple generations). Those making the sacrifice will not see the fruits of this sacrifice as it will take several generations for the population to actually reduce, in fact there will be a bubble of older people at some point that will cause quite a hardship on the younger generation... They have done this to improve the quality of life for future generations. Do they have a right to keep people out or are these people sacrificing for nothing? They are not responsible for the parts of the world overpopulating.

Edited by OnMyWayID

I don't believe it.. Prove it to me and I still won't believe it. -Ford Prefect

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people should be allowed to live wherever they want.

Why?


August 2000: We start e-mailing. I'm in Bosnia, she's in Florida

October 29th 2000: She sends me e-mail asking if I would marry her

October 29th 2000(5 seconds later): I say yes

November 2000: She sends me tickets to Orlando for when I get back

December 6th 2000: Return from Bos

December 11th 2000: Fly to Orlando, she meets me at airport

December 22nd 2000: I fly back to UK

January 3rd 2001: She flies to UK (Good times)

Mid February 2001: Pregnancy test Positive

Mid February 2001: She flies back to US

March 2001: Miscarriage, I fly to US on first flight I can get

May 2001: I leave US before my 90 days are up

June 2001: I fly back to US, stopped at airport for questioning as I had only just left

September 2001: Pregnancy test Positive again

September 2001: She falls sick, I make decision to stay to look after her as I am afraid I may have problems getting back in.

April 16th 2002: Our son is born, we start getting stuff together for his passport

March 6th 2003: We leave US for UK as family

Early April 2003: Family troubles make her return to US, I ask Embassy in London about possibilities of returning to US

April 16th 2003: London Embassy informs me that I will be banned from the Visa Waiver Program for 10 years, my little boys first birthday

June 13th 2006: I-129f sent

August 11th 2006: NOA1 Recieved

After our relationship breaks down she admits to me that she had never bothered to start the application process

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Why?

I think her statement is fair, the default should always be for more freedom however that is measured. The question we should have to answer is "why not?" and there are a lot of good answers for that.


I don't believe it.. Prove it to me and I still won't believe it. -Ford Prefect

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Why?

because freedom.

I think her statement is fair, the default should always be for more freedom however that is measured. The question we should have to answer is "why not?" and there are a lot of good answers for that.

in my personal opinion, refugee situations (which certainly crush freedom) trump all immigration boohooing. no pun intended.

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because freedom.

in my personal opinion, refugee situations (which certainly crush freedom) trump all immigration boohooing. no pun intended.

Unless there's a hint that it's being abused, then there's no such thing as a genuine refugee. Fleeing persecution and murder in your own country? Doesn't happen, they just want a free McDonald's

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because freedom.

in my personal opinion, refugee situations (which certainly crush freedom) trump all immigration boohooing. no pun intended.

Supporting displaced people due to conflict that have no place to go is a different issue than wanting the borders open for all for any reason.

Edited by OnMyWayID

I don't believe it.. Prove it to me and I still won't believe it. -Ford Prefect

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Supporting displaced people due to conflict that have no place to go is different issue than wanting the borders open for all for any reason.

except that you still have a bureaucratic system ruling the support - who genuinely has 'no place to go' and who just wants free mcdonalds..

we are born onto the planet and we should all be allowed to move about freely. without having to marry, or pay, or suffer to prove we deserve movement..

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except that you still have a bureaucratic system ruling the support - who genuinely has 'no place to go' and who just wants free mcdonalds..

we are born onto the planet and we should all be allowed to move about freely. without having to marry, or pay, or suffer to prove we deserve movement..

It will only happen when the Morlocks take over.

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