Though philosophically I’m a left-leaning libertarian, I’m a registered Democrat. I vote Democrat, and contribute to the candidates I think support my interests. On 70% of the issues, I support this party. However, on the issue that’s currently raging in this country—illegal aliens—the Democrats are dead wrong. In fact, the Republicans, a party I usually despise, aren’t even conservative enough on this issue to suit my preference. Maybe I should shut my mouth and let this turn into a “W” in the Democrats’ column; but alas, I cannot. Without hyperbole, the future of the
There are millions upon millions of illegal aliens in the
I want nothing to do with those people.
I am very much pro-immigration. If this country’s 11 million illegal aliens had followed the proper procedures for entry, I would embrace their presence fully. Indeed, if 25 million immigrants had followed the proper procedures for entry, I would be happy to have them. My objection is strictly to the illegal means by which the aliens came here. Quite literally, the first act those 11 million individuals committed after crossing the border was a criminal one. They arrived in the country and then, a second later, spit in the face of its laws. If one of the aliens has been here for 25 years, I would argue said alien has been actively committing a crime for a quarter-century. As such, no form of amnesty is appropriate. Granting amnesty to illegal aliens is analogous to granting amnesty to every illegal-drug user currently in prison.
That’s why I endorse the idea of a border fence. That would bring the flow of illegal aliens to a trickle. At that point, once we have control over the border, I would strongly endorse a plan to liberalize immigration policies. The caveat is that it would not apply retroactively (which would end up awarding citizenship to those who engaged in criminal behavior to come here). As I said earlier, I oppose all forms of amnesty for all types of criminal behavior.
The main counterargument I hear with respect to shutting the door on illegals is that they do work nobody else will do. This counter doesn’t really apply to me, since I support unlimited legal immigration (while most conservatives demagogue the illegal alien issue in order to stem all immigration), but I will debunk it nevertheless. For a libertarian such as I, that argument is bankrupt because it presupposes the existence of social welfare programs. If welfare were wiped away, and work absolutely was required in order to get money, I think quite a few people who are currently not in the workforce would end up taking those “undesirable” jobs. If welfare didn’t exist, then lawn-mowing and housekeeping might seem like pretty good options, compared to living on the street. Americans “won’t” do those kinds of jobs because they don’t have to; they have a government safety net that enables them to live without working. Take down the net, and our need for illegal aliens would disappear.
Many libertarians default to the “freedom” position on this issue, irrespective of the implicit endorsement of criminal behavior. I do not. Even though I endorse drug legalization, border liberalization, prostitution legalization, gay marriage legalization and various other freedom-centric causes, I do not advocate breaking the laws currently on the books. Unjust laws should be changed, not ignored. Society depends upon having a functional justice system, with teeth and the ability to assert itself.
Anarchists (to the best of my knowledge) endorse breaking laws with which they disagree. Nothing against that, but I’m not an anarchist. I’m a libertarian, and there’s nothing in classical libertarian philosophy that compels me to endorse illegal behavior of any kind.