Friday, December 05, 2014
Immigration and Economic Freedom
On November 20th the president introduced a plan that would allow roughly 5 million illegal immigrants to come forward and register, pay a fine, and go through a background check and they would receive work permits and no longer have to live in fear of deportation. Immigration is something that has been on and off the table for decades in our current political system without resolution. Many argue that the country already has a system in place that would allow those who desire to immigrate to this country legally the opportunity. Others argue that even with those laws in place there are tens of millions of people already within the US illegally and it is not feasible to track those people down and force them through deportation or the legalization process.
When it comes to economic freedom the classical liberal stance is clearly that open borders and freedom of movement is acceptable and perhaps even desired on grounds of liberty. Mises wrote, “There cannot be the slightest doubt that migration barriers diminish the productivity of human labor.” Many economists even argue that illegal immigration is a necessary component of the working economy of the US. The question becomes why has the United States, a country that was founded on immigration and utilized it as a necessity of rapid growth in the 19th and 20th century having such a difficult time reaching agreements in Washington? The president’s actions were unconstitutional in my opinion and as of yesterday the House voted to make them null and void, which is just the first step in stopping the executive order. But on the grounds of liberty the actions of the plan themselves are a small drop in the bucket compared to the immigration reform that needs to take place within the country. It might be time for our country to revisit the words on the statue of liberty that so many of our forefathers saw on their way to Ellis Island,
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”