What bothers me most about arguments over immigration control is not the hypocrisy of "My parents got here so I can keep you out", but that no one addresses the incredible bureaucracy and concomitant invasion of privacy required to control immigration. It would be simple enough to check every immigrant for contagious disease, even if that requires quarantining them for several weeks. But that would also forbid contagious citizens from entering. Immigration control requires national ID cars in some form or another, even if hidden as 50 individual state driver licenses. The Supreme Court has declared 100 miles within the borders to have a much weaker 4th Amendment than the rest of the country.

The only way to truly secure the border is to have a soldier every 50 or 100 feet -- 50 to 100 per mile, and by the time you allow for an 8 hour day, 40 hour week, 24 x7 coverage, vacations, holidays, and everything else, that's 250 to 500 soldiers per mile. 3000 mile northern and southern borders, 2000 mile east and west coasts. that's 10,000 miles, millions of soldiers, and anyone who thinks that is fiscally feasible, or can be corruption-free, is an idiot. Cut it back by a factor of 10, use cameras and drones to watch the border, you still need a lot of reserves to arrest all the interlopers.

Because no one wants to mention these things, we end up with a sorry system which doesn't stop illegal immigrants, costs a fortune, and tramples over the Constitution, and the two sides agree to such a status quo because no one wants to tell the truth and have an honest discussion.

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On the immigration issue, this book appears to support the “corrupt our culture” hypothesis: https://www.amazon.com/Culture-Transplant-Migrants-Make-Economies-ebook/dp/B0BCKYZ1VY/

“Over the last two decades, as economists began using big datasets and modern computing power to reveal the sources of national prosperity, their statistical results kept pointing toward the power of culture to drive the wealth of nations. In The Culture Transplant, Garett Jones documents the cultural foundations of cross-country income differences, showing that immigrants import cultural attitudes from their homelands—toward saving, toward trust, and toward the role of government—that persist for decades, and likely for centuries, in their new national homes. Full assimilation in a generation or two, Jones reports, is a myth. And the cultural traits migrants bring to their new homes have enduring effects upon a nation's economic potential.”

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During the 19th Century you were establishing your borders. You expanded your territory and needed a population of European peoples to fill it and develop it.

I am referring to the modern times.

If you cannot control how many and who comes through your borders, then why should you control anything else.

Why do you maintain a military?

Why didn't you just let the Japanese invade in 1941 (which of course they weren't interested in) or allow the Germans to take over in Europe and eventually the USA (which at least initially they weren't interested in doing) ?

Surely you fought the Japanese and Germans for the right to determine how you (and others) lived. Why support the Ukraine now if borders don't mean anything?

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Empire-building welfare bureaucrats want massive immigration to America. So do nice Americans. But not all the people the cartels send us are nice. And the Democratic Party has been putting its interests too far ahead of the rest of America for too long.

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I would be curious as to your take about multiple states and cities publicly declaring immigration to be a problem when it's happening in their area. For Republican controlled states like Texas and Florida, we may be tempted to blame politics - but there's a chicken-or-egg problem there that wants to know why Republicans tend to be against immigration. That Democrat controlled cities are declaring emergencies and saying they can't take the immigrants is a more telling factor that something is wrong. Maybe the rate is too high, but it seems clear that new arrivals are not easily joining society and becoming productive taxpayers.

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A country without borders is not a Nation.

All sympathize with refugees (fleeing political/religious etc persecution in their home countries) and also illegal immigrants (economic migrants wanting a better life in another country - they may also be fleeing criminal activity which endangers them in their own country).

The USA opened its doors through places like Ellis Island (12 million immigrants). Australia had an open door policy up from 1901 (Independence as a Nation) until early 1970's although only to European extraction (based on the shameful White Australia Policy developed after the gold rushes in the 1850's when hundreds of thousands of Chinese came to Australia, most of whom returned to China after the surface gold petered out).

This open door policy still had controls particularly based on diseases.

Between 1945 and 1965, Australia brought in 2 million immigrants into a population of only 8 million in 1945. Many came from camps in Europe for displaced persons as well as British migrants arriving from Britain.

As an Australian, I owe the open door policy a gratitude for the ability of my English ancestors of 1847 and 1851 and my Greek ancestors in 1911 to enter what is now Australia.

Uncontrolled entry to the USA or Australia for example, cannot be allowed. As much as we might sympathize with an individual's problem, entry in a legal manner is the only sensible way to vet who is coming in (to enable exclusion of criminals, terrorists etc). Some will argue that I am suggesting that you crack a walnut with a sledgehammer but a rules based order is touted for global trade so why not immigration.

From 1975 until 1979, some 300,000 Vietnamese fled Vietnam in boats after the fall of South Vietnam (that unfortunately does not include those who lost their lives in sinking at sea or attacks by pirates or were intercepted and returned to Vietnam). Realizing what lay ahead (including a dangerous sea journey to Australia), after the first boat arrived in the northern port of Darwin, Australia in April 1976, a bi-partisan approach was developed in Australia in which boats could be intercepted and people fleeing diverted into UNHCR camps in Malaysia and other SE Asian countries.

Australia led the way in developing the policy promising to take a large number (eventually 80,000 were flown to Australia from the camps). Australia, however, insisted that SE Asian countries stop the practice of refueling and provisioning the boats and sending them on their way. Other countries such the USA, Canada and even the Netherlands and other countries joined in the resettlement of the refugees.

It may have taken years but eventually all the refugees were resettled.

Since 1976 Australia has become home to a thriving Vietnamese community. The 2016 national census showed that 219,357 people in Australia were born in Vietnam.

Currently, Australia has a tough (some say inhumane policy) towards illegal immigrants. However, since it was introduced in 2001 few illegal immigrants have entered Australia by boat (most just overstaying their tourist visa having flown in but that is another story).

Australia has, however, maintained a immigration inflow of about 160,000 but is considering raising that to almost 400,000 in the coming year due to the reduction in numbers during COVID. The % born overseas in Australia is 30% (the same as it was in the 1890's falling to only 10% by 1945). Some 7.6 million of Australians in a population of 26 million are overseas born.

The USA has to get its act together and insist that countries in Central America including Mexico detain all immigrants passing through their countries and place them in UNHCR controlled camps. The USA would be expected to pay the costs of the UNHCR in operating these camps.

Anyone intercepted in the USA as an illegal immigrant should be removed from the USA to one of these camps.

Processing of the the immigrants would then proceed in the camps with anyone deemed ineligible to enter the USA returned to their country of origin. I understand that policies would need to be developed in how to handle those that could not be returned (Afghans for instance although if able to show assistance to US as well as Allied forces in Afghanistan, entry to the USA or even Australia, would hopefully be sympathetically arranged).

Unfortunately, hardening of the heart is necessary, otherwise the mess just continues. Look at the pickle Europe has got itself into by not having a unified policy of setting up UNHCR camps in Libya and neighboring North African countries where immigrants can be protected and processed without needing to undergo the dangerous sea crossing. A policy of returning ALL illegal immigrants to these camps if landed in Europe via boats, would immediately end the sea crossings.

The Developed Nations need to introduce a policy of paying for the infrastructure and development in the Third World to remove the need for many of those populations feeling that they need to move to the USA/Australia/Europe. Firms from the Developed Nations could do the work employing as many of the local population as possible thereby ensuring that corruption is minimized.

How many millions can Europe or the USA absorb before there is insufficient gainful employment to cater for their needs?

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1. Pollution is a better example than vaccination because someone (or a group of people) could have a policy that they don’t consent to be around people that aren’t vaccinated. But it would be unjustified to say that someone else on their own property has to be vaccinated because you’re only at risk if you’re near the sick person. Not to mention the risk to the vaccinated person of side effects.

2. Soda and smoking does harm the user, everyone recognizes that but many choose short term pleasure over long term costs in the moment but want to quit in the future. A governing institution would be justified in restricting these unhealthy habits if they contracted with the person. The institution could take on the responsibility of caring for the person’s medical needs and taking care of them if they become sick. And in return the person could agree to follow the rules of the institution. But he should have the right to cancel the contract if he finds the institution’s rules too onerous. This is the principle of the consent of the governed, on an individual, person by person basis. Bloomberg sited the huge medical costs paid by New York City as justification for the soda restrictions.

3a. God is the personification of the natural order. Whether he is really a conscious being or we just think of him as so because we have a tendency to personify things is irrelevant. There are causes and effects and natural consequences to behavior. God’s punishment or natural consequences are the same thing fundamentally. Religious people and secular people just think about them differently.

3b. Sodomy isn’t just prohibited by God, but it does cause problems to self and others. The rate of catching STDs and especially AIDS is much higher per act of sodomy than act of vaginal sex. And men who have sex with men have many more partners than heterosexuals, on average. We have the AIDS epidemic in America because of the gay community aka wrath from God. Before we knew to watch out for it innocent people got AIDS from blood transfusions. It can also be spread from sharing needles which is also a problem / criminalized behavior. Before the invention of antibiotics STDs were a bigger problem. The same principle that outlawed sodomy also outlawed adultery and required a blood test before getting a marriage license. The principle from points 1 and 2.

3c. People have an automatic disgust for two men being sexual because we are disgusted by things that can make us sick. We evolved to be disgusted by sodomy as a self-protective mechanism. The myth of Sodom and Gomorrah may be based on a true story where two cities went mad with syphilis or similarly acting STD and descended into chaos with roaming gangs of rapists and eventually it burned to the ground and some fled for their lives. Yet those who fled practiced incest either by social contagion or from the effects of a pathogen that effects the mind.

4. Immigration may be great for the individual migrant. But it has a lot of consequences for the country they enter. With as many immigrants as we are getting over the southern border, especially when it’s illegal immigration, and with the democracy set-up we have now, it’s more like colonization. They obviously are taking more than they’re giving back because of the huge costs they put on the healthcare and education system, much of which is bourn locally. And there are implications for crime, culture, trust, ability to communicate, and suppressed wages for native unskilled workers. It tears at the social fabric that libertarians often overlook but is very important, I would say even more important than the legal system.

4b. So if we don’t want to violate the non-aggression principle but we want to benefits of keeping out unauthorized immigrants we need to embrace voluntary government. That way if another group wants to expand their borders they can buy land legitimately and settle there. But if they were to sneak onto private property (even if it’s collectively owned and governed) they would be trespassers. And as trespassers it would be justified to use minimum necessary force to remove them and they certainly wouldn’t be entitled to any of the services afforded to citizens like healthcare and education.

If an employer wants to employ them and a landlord wants to rent them a home, but their government does not allow them to do so, they should be able to cancel their contract with that government, leaving them free to do as they wish and allow who they wish onto their privately owned property.

4c. It’s an ancient strategy of the ruling elite to take slaves from different tribes and mix them up and force them to work together. They have different cultures, different language and ethnic/racial hatred for each other making it hard for them to work together to oppose their masters. Add on the constant riling up of racial tensions through mainstream media and millions of immigrants and you have a recipe for a population that is too busy bickering amongst themselves to fight their true enemy. For libertarians to then have such a simplistic view of immigration as “Open borders good” is flabbergasting. Even if it was good for the “economy” by raising GDP, there are more important things. And the fears of an eventual revolution/colonization if the democrats pass amnesty, giving citizenship and voting rights to all these immigrants is scary. That would be the death knell of America and it’s experiment in freedom.

4d. I met a family from Venezuela. They were illegal immigrants and bought a house and became our neighbors when we lived in the ghetto. They didn’t want their children going to school with black people so they lied about their address to send them to a better school. They knew very little English and weren’t improving on it because they managed to socialize and work almost exclusively with Spanish speakers. I asked them about politics and they said communist wasn’t bad, it was just the current leader that was the problem. They liked the previous leaders who instituted communism when oil prices were high. (I don’t remember their names off the top of my head) I could definitely see them voting for socialism in America. It’s different then the Cubans who didn’t have oil and things were terrible under the original Castro. One complaint that the Venezuelans had about America was the weight gain.

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I think you’re a little too hard on Bloomberg. The real issue was juvenile diabetes, and I imagine the costs of that are calculable.

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Another way of looking at it is, who gets treated like a moral agent (adult) and who gets treated like a moral patient (child)? Clearly these categories exist: infants need guardians, and so both exist. But the only consistent way to force the status quo into this frame is to say only elected officials are adults.

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3. Re Sodom and Gomorrah - I went to Orthodox Jewish schools my entire life, and never heard about the homosexuality thing until I started reading the internet. I always thought it was just because they didn't treat their guests nicely.

I never like reward and punishment in this world as a reason to do or not to do things. Firstly, it's inconsistent with free choice. Secondly, I read Job over this past Shabbat, (because someone pointed me to Scott Alexanders answer to Job and I didn't like it, so I needed to bolster my counterpoints), and there is no answer to why the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper in this world, even though there is reward and punishment, but someone smarter than me once said that the sign of an intelligent person is the ability to hold two contrasting ideas at once.

I'll probably regret writing this comment so quickly but I'll also be annoyed if I forget to post it and have to start again

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(not sure if you saw my apology in the comments to your previous post)

1. These would be relevant issues if the motive for reducing smoking or obesity was protecting us from you rather than you from you but if you try introducing them into the argument you are unlikely to get a friendly reception.

I laughed out loud reading this sentence. It could use some commas, but it's extremely funny to imagine.

2. I also get annoyed when people, not only presidents, point out how dangerous the crossing is for migrants... Like, why do you think they're doing it? You think that they WANT to have an exciting dangerous trip for which they paid all their life savings and might die on the way??

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An excellent, thoughtful article. Thanks.

I think you might not be entirely fair to Clinton. He may well have just been covering a bad policy to prevent worse policies. That is the point Peter Singer made, excerpted here


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