From the Comments: Open Borders, Immigration and the Sociology of Gradualism

Dr Delacroix takes issue with my woefully inadequate summary of his work on open borders in the Independent Review. He writes:

Small yet somewhat important correction: In our piece in the Independent Review, Nikiforov and I argue for somewhat more than a guest worker program and our reference is not a to a EU “guest worker program.” (I am not sure whether there is one.) Rather, we argue that little harm would be done and, as we see now, much harm avoided, by simply agreeing that citizens of Canada, the US and Mexico (especially Mexico) can freely move across the common borders of the three countries. including for the long term. What we have seen in the EU for now more than twenty years shows that there is no reason to attach this free movement principle to citizenship.

That you may work, open a business, pay taxes in Mexico does not logically imply that you may vote in Mexican elections. That you may not does not deprive you of any “rights.” As an immigrant into Mexico you knew what you were doing. You moved under your own power. It’s unlikely anyone even invited you. If you crashed the party, you have no moral right to complain that the food is not kosher (or hallal, you decide).

Several years later, I think that the only reason for this insistence on tying residence to citizenship is the Democratic Party’s totalitarian aspirations. Observing the drift in the Obama administration toward non-legality clarified the picture for me, personally. (I am not speaking for my co-author, here. He just spent three years in Russia; I will ask him.)

Historical precedents matter, and a preference for gradualism may make it desirable -in this country- to transition through a somewhat familiar “guest worker program” rather than directly decree open borders for the citizens of the three NAFTA countries.

I am for whatever works but we must keep concepts distinct from each other: A tomato is not really a fruit, not really.

PS I am glad Notes On Liberty publishes my essays (and even my stories) and that it links to my blog. When I grow up, I want a readership like Notes’ readership!

Please keep it civil

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