Immigration in a Free Society

On the issue of the United States border, it is useful to imagine what immigration would be like in a free society.

In a libertarian social order, immigration would occur in accordance with private property norms. Property owners would be welcome to invite a newcomer to the land. Refugees could be invited and cared for by immigration agencies, for example, as long as they don’t violate private property norms. Such immigration agencies would be liable for the refugees, and would have to ensure that the refugees do not trespass on private property.

Private property owners could invite newcomers for various reasons. Rather than regulating what reasons for immigration are acceptable, newcomers would be “regulated” by their ability to adhere to private property norms and to assimilate into society. Failure to do so would result in intervention by the private legal system with deportation being a possible outcome. One could invite a newcomer by selling him or her land, or renting space. The point being to avoid forced importation of refugees who become a burden on a society if individuals are forced to subsidize their well-being.

Certainly, unowned land would be open for homestead by newcomers.

The newcomer would only have to access the land without trespassing. Perhaps road access or access to unowned land would be granted to newcomers by the owners of roads for a fee, or be included in some immigration agency fee.

Given Austro-libertarian principles and these ideas explaining how immigration can occur in a libertarian social order, we can try to describe the best solution to the United States borders and public land. When individuals act, or engage in purposeful behavior, they are using means to achieve a desirable end. When a newcomer attempts to enter a country whose “public property” is paid for involuntarily by taxpayers, the newcomer is trespassing. For one, the immigrant is knowingly or unknowingly increasing the demand for taxation.

An increase in population in a given area will decrease access to infrastructure in that area. This creates more burden on taxpayers. Secondly, the newcomer is trespassing when entering “public property” because “public property” can only be owned, so to speak, by the taxpayers who have been victimized by the state. Taxpayers, being the victims of theft by the state, have the highest claim to the property altered by the state using the taxpayer’s resources.

The open borders position is very much at odds with libertarian principles and ideas.

Intentionally or not, an uninvited newcomer is trespassing and ultimately committing an act of aggression against victims of taxation. I’ll admit that having closed borders and deporting uninvited newcomers is a better position than open borders. It is much easier to prevent entry and remove uninvited newcomers than it is to subsidize the newcomers use of “public property” for years and years.

An ideal solution would be proportional restitution to victims of taxation along with privatization of all “public property”. “Public property” specifically meaning property altered with funds of tax victims. Unowned land would remain unowned until one homesteads the land. Restitution could possibly be done by distributing stock in the private firms assuming ownership of the previous “public property”. These kinds of policies aren’t even in the same universe as the current mainstream political discussion. Permitting closed borders for the time being, the best way forward for libertarians is to demand privatization of all “public property” and to push for secession as a means of achieving a free society.

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