Open or closed borders? That’s the question, and it’s a hot one right now in the libertarian realm. The answer may not be as simple as we would like and the question isn’t a new one.
The Libertarian Party has the position of completely open borders.
Here is the official LP platform position:
3.4 Free Trade and Migration
We support the removal of governmental impediments to free trade. Political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders.
At a glance, this seems like a logical conclusion for libertarians who want maximum freedom all the time. However, there are some issues this position raises.
The most glaring for me is that this is more of an anarchistic position than a position that should be held by a political party that is operating under the U.S. Federal Government framework.
I have no problem with anarchists. In fact, the past 3 years should be a great awakening for people to explore anarchism. However, I have a problem with the consistency. If the Libertarian Party’s position is no government restrictions on the borders, why not in other areas?
Here’s the LP position on National Defense:
3.1 National Defense
We support the maintenance of a sufficient military to defend the United States against aggression. The United States should both avoid entangling alliances and abandon its attempts to act as policeman for the world. We oppose any form of compulsory national service.
The LP itself uses the government system as its guide here again on elections.
3.6 Representative Government
We support election systems that are more representative of the electorate at the federal, state, and local levels. As private voluntary groups, political parties should be free to establish their own rules for nomination procedures, primaries and conventions.
Why anarchism on the borders and not in national defense or elections?
To better secure the borders from threats you first have to identify what those threats are. Do people want to come here for terrorism purposes? Of course. Is this the vast majority of the motivations to come to America? Of course not.
Better opportunities, escaping tyranny, and wanting children to grow up in a free world are major motivations. Not everyone coming across the borders are threats. However, if migrants are benefiting from social programs and filling schools and hospitals while citizens are paying for their stay… that’s not benign. Also, drug and human trafficking are huge problems around the border.
So how do we fix it?
Dr. Ron Paul explained it many times on his campaign trails and Liberty Report.
“I don’t like walls. I don’t want to wall people in and wall people out,” Paul said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
“I don’t want free, open borders either,” he continued. “I think you have to remove the incentives for people to come.” ~Ron Paul
Dave Smith, a Ron Paul libertarian, is expected to run for President in 2024 for the Libertarian Party holds a similar position to Paul.
Andrew Brekus @LibertyBrekfast@OctopusHero @JoeyESQ @ComicDaveSmith So what's your way of dealing with illegal migrants, since no one apparently wants to detain them? Just throw people out of the country who are declared to be illegal without trial?
This potential position change is making waves in the LP as the LP Mises Caucus picks up steam.
The debate is far from over an there is no guarantee the LP will be making any changes to their platforms.
However, I’ve compiled a few resources for you to check out if it is something that you are interested in.
Mises Institute is always a great place to start.
Here is a Ron Paul interview from 14 years ago on immigration:
Here is an article we did years ago.
Dave Smith/ Spike Cohen Borders Debate
Both do a great job of expressing their position.