There is no such thing as immigration

Immigration is like darkness. It is the absence of something, not something in and of itself. It is a partial restoration of the state of nature.

The natural state of man is that we move as we please. We stop people from moving as they or we please for various reasons. These stopping points are generally, but not exclusively called borders. Borders are not permanent. They can be moved, erased, reconstituted again. As any observer of Europe will note it can happen quickly and pretty often. Borders do not have to be impermeable. They can have exceptions to the rules. When people are peacefully allowed to cross borders permanently according to the will of the people controlling the border as an exception to the general rule of no crossings, it’s called immigration. Since most borders are controlled by more than one group, the exiting group often calls it a different term than the entry group.

You cannot create a proper system of exceptions to a rule without understanding why the rule exists. But ask people who have strong opinions on immigration why borders exist and more times than not, they haven’t considered the question at all. You could intuit why we have borders by the exceptions but almost nobody does, not even immigration restrictionists. We’re all playing the old game of blind men feeling the elephant and having opinions as to what it is.

20 thoughts on “There is no such thing as immigration”

  1. One world. No borders, that works for me.

    The sooner this happens, the sooner we can get on with human activity, that does not involve the constant fighting for preeminence and advantage, that the international politics of separate states, naturally enforces.

  2. We cannot have open borders and a welfare state. I believe that was a basic principle of Milton Friedman.

    An attempt at something like this was California’s Prop 187.

    On November 8, 1994, California voters approved the proposition by a wide margin: 59% to 41%.[8] According to the Los Angeles Times exit polls, 63% of non-Hispanic white voters and 23% of Latino voters voted for Proposition 187; African-American and ethnic Asian voters split their voting equally for and against the law. Although non-Hispanic whites comprised 57% of California’s population at the time, they comprised 81% of voters in the 1994 general election. Latinos totaled 8% of voters, although they comprised 26% of the state’s population.

    While 78% of Republicans and 62% of Independents voted for the initiative, Democratic voters opposed the measure by 64%

    It was declared unConstitutional by federal judge.

    The law was challenged in a legal suit and found unconstitutional by a federal district court. In 1999, Governor Gray Davis halted state appeals of this ruling.

    The judge ? Pfaelzer was nominated by President Jimmy Carter to a seat on the United States District Court for the Central District of California vacated by Francis C. Whelan. She was confirmed by the United States Senate on September 22, 1978, and received commission the next day. She was the first female District Judge appointed to that District. She assumed senior status on December 31, 1997.

    After Judge Mariana Pfaelzer issued a permanent injunction of Proposition 187 in December 1994, blocking all provisions except those dealing with higher education and false documents, multiple cases were consolidated and brought before the federal court. In November 1997, Pfaelzer found the law to be unconstitutional on the basis that it infringed on the federal government’s exclusive jurisdiction over matters relating to immigration.[19] Pfaelzer also explained that Proposition 187’s effect on the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, the Congressional overhaul of the American welfare system, proved that the bill was a “scheme” to regulate immigration:

    Bill Clinton was president and Gray Davis, once elected Governor, halted the appeals process.

    The decision ended all attempts to deny welfare to illegal immigrants.

  3. PenGun – you seem to imagine that a world without borders will be something you can live with, something not to different than the free nation you live in today. Good luck with that.

    Mike K – You cannot have a welfare state without borders in any sense of the words welfare state familiar to those in the West. Without borders, you would have no way to limit the payments direct to poor nations. Without borders, what is the limiting principle that rejects applications from anywhere in the world?

  4. Without borders, what is the limiting principle that rejects applications from anywhere in the world?

    That was my point. Europe is undergoing a crash course on this fact.

    Libertarians do not live in the real world. In the days when my great grandfather came here from Ireland, about 1800, there was no welfare state and immigrants were on their own. That he and his children thrived had nothing to do with government. Finally, he bought farm land in Illinois and some of it may have been homesteaded. My grandmother’s parents did homestead their farm.

    Lincoln was a Whig and they supported canals and railroads. That was beneficial but there was no welfare. There was not even a program for the wounded of the Civil War. There were Revolutionary War pensions and an ancestor did apply. I think it was mostly land that was free anyway.

    We are a long way from the libertarian world.

  5. Kaiser Derden – It’s really helpful to understanding your point if you make it clear who you are addressing. We have borders for a lot of reasons, some of which have nothing to do with security which is where the locked door analogy works really well.

    Mike K – Actually we’re working related but different points. What the EU is getting a lesson on is muslims at their physical doorstep. What I am pointing out is that without borders, you have no justification for not approving a medicaid application from someone in Aleppo who never leaves their neighborhood. That insanity is still beyond most people as a policy proposal but without borders limiting where our laws apply, why isn’t a resident of Tokyo, Beijing, or Mumbai eligible?

    On another note, you do know that I am a libertarian. Specifically, I’m a minarchist who is perfectly happy to consider the no borders case if someone were to actually make it and demonstrate its superiority. Unfortunately, nobody actually does because no borders ends up being stupid when you actually follow through on the policy implications. It’s something that is way at the back of the libertarian policy bus by any sane libertarian (and there are plenty of sane libertarians).

  6. The Chinese moved a billion people from third to first world in a relatively short time. They will be the world’s largest economy soon.

    It’s possible the first world could now move most of the rest of humanity to an, at least pending, first world state.

    The benefits to humanity would be huge and we would finally leave the play pen. Who knows what we might accomplish together?

  7. PenGun – That last response is what is called a non-sequitur. Borders existed from the time of China’s most recent fall through the time of its rise again. In fact, the unequal treaties, which the PRC is still notably ticked off about, were significantly an exercise in reducing the effectiveness of China’s borders.

    Without borders, there is no meaning to the term “first world”. Would you care to restate that in a way that doesn’t make a mockery of your own policy position? As you state earlier “One world. No borders, that works for me.” Act like your stated opinion is your actual opinion and even if I disagree, I’ll respect you. This, not so much.

  8. China’s not a 1st world country. Not even close. Even if you believe their government numbers, which you’d be crazy to do.

    Emulating anything about China would make the entire world a hellhole.

  9. “Act like your stated opinion is your actual opinion and even if I disagree, I’ll respect you. This, not so much.”

    TM you are a bully. It’s part of your shtick and I feel no need at all, to toe any line you might set. ;)

  10. TM Lutas:

    Perhaps a practical experiment would be in order. Vancouver, BC has benefited mightily from Chinese immigration, however much of that immigration I know from personal observation was from the wealthy entrepreneurs of Hong Kong getting out with their wealth before Hong Kong reverted to the PRC, and now with the wealthy of the PRC creating bolt holes in case of a reversion to either “interesting times” in the Middle Kingdom and/or a new version of a Cultural Revolution, a Great Leap, or a campaign against anyone deemed a “Rightist deviationist”.

    Not the standard immigrant, in wealth or culture.

    However, if Pengun’s postulate is correct, any number or type of immigration would be a good thing for the receiving country and society.

    There is obviously a difference in opinion between what hopefully is a majority in this country and those such as Pengun.

    It can be resolved. We are “catching” tens of thousands of illegal invaders from Mexico and Central America monthly and releasing them immediately and sending them directly to our welfare system and placing them above the laws the rest of us have to obey.

    1) there is a surplus of shipping in the world, evidenced by the bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping. Container ships should be available fairly cheaply. Container ships travel at about 25 kts., and current container ship shipping schedules show that the voyage from Los Angeles to Vancouver, BC takes 6 days.

    2) there is also a surplus of shipping containers. They can be procured fairly cheaply. Modifying containers to be humane berthing areas, food prep areas, etc. for a short voyage [say a week-week and a half for a fudge factor] would neither push the state of the art, nor be unduly expensive.

    3) combining 1) and 2) would create the capability to take the tens of thousands of invaders we intercept and to create a shuttle from LA to Vancouver where those we consider to be invaders could be offloaded into a welcoming and accepting society with no need of borders.

    4) the United States would potentially benefit, far beyond the costs of creating and running the shuttle, due to savings in welfare benefits and the costs of social disruption. At least in our view.

    5) if Pengun’s postulate is correct, and borders are counterproductive and total free movement is beneficial, then Canada will see a new golden age as they receive those we do not want.

    6) sounds like a win-win situation for everybody concerned.

    I will leave the decision of whether or not to insert a /sarc tag at this point to the Gentle Reader.

  11. PenGun – being a bully is generally not defined as laughing at the ridiculous. Internally consistent arguments aren’t too much to ask.

    Brian – There’s no a priori reason why a borderless world has to look like more like China. I think that you’re right in what you say, however that China is the world that much of our elite would like to transition too. You just need to show your work as to how we get from here to there a bit better. I think that this fake elite is more delusional than anything else.

    Subotai Bahadur – Canada conditions their welfare on possession of an ID cared, I believe. Shipping lantin american illegal entrants to Vancouver isn’t going to do much good. They’ll be in Seattle before you know it.

  12. TM Lutas Says:
    September 5th, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    Yeah, but it would be a wonderful proof on concept to expose some Canadians to the realities of the situation. You could bet that Canadians would scream like ruptured Bann Sidh if they had to put up with what we do.

    Also, one could make an argument that pushing Seattle to the end stage of collectivist lunacy would in and of itself be a good thing. ;-)

    And if we decide to ship them south [Tierra del Fuego???] instead the ships and containers could be re-used.

  13. We have taken 25,000 Syrian refugees. You were most upset about taking 10,000.

    My desire for one world is just that. It would solve so many problems. It would be very difficult, but will occur in time. It’s also what we need to get off the planet in good order. Imagine humanity united to a cause, instead of fighting for position. That would allow great things.

    Getting off the planet is essential for the survival of our species, in the long run. We should be focusing on this.

  14. PenGun – The world relocates approximately 80,000 refugees a year generally. The FY 2015 totals for the US can be found here:

    The US accepted just under 70,000 refugees in total last year. It targeted 70,000 and actually admitted 69,973. Canada targeted 10,000 in 2015 and admitted approximately 6,000 from Syria:

    We’re 3% of the world’s population and by GDP perhaps 17%. 7/8ths of the refugees admitted anywhere in the world in a normal year is not the mark of an ungenerous nation. Get off your high horse.

    Now it is true that Germany, for instance, has taken an outsized portion of the current surge. But that isn’t likely to last as the recent state election results have shown:

    The US, wisely, does what it can every year. Crisis or no, we generally do refugee admission sustainably. The rest of the world can’t match our ability to admit and integrate foreigners but it’s not a system that is designed for surges.

  15. Freedom to associate includes freedom to exclude.

    Nations have borders for the same reason houses have walls and doors: to define what belongs to whom. Doors don’t have to be locked all the time, but it would be madness to insist that all doors remain unlocked.

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