Open Borders Day 2016 – Some Thoughts On Immigration And Conservatism

Statue of Liberty seen from the Circle Line ferry, Manhattan, New York
Statue of Liberty seen from the Circle Line ferry, Manhattan, New York

Today is Open Borders Day, an international event created for the purpose of focusing attention on the injustices inflicted by government-imposed restrictions on international migration. On the last two Open Borders Days, I set out the general case for Open Borders and provided some links addressing various possible questions related to the issue.

This year, even more than before, immigration seems to be splitting Americans along ideological and political lines. While liberal Democrats have become more supportive of freer immigration, conservative Republicans are increasingly opposed. As Shikha Dalmia puts it, “whereas Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are beating each other up for being insufficiently nice to immigrants in the past, Republicans are beating each other up for being insufficiently harsh.” Thanks in part to the rise of Donald Trump, even many GOP leaders who have favored greater openness in the past have now adopted more restrictionist positions. Open Borders Day 2016 is a good time to consider some standard right of center justifications for immigration restrictions.

I. A Simple Conservative Case for Free Migration.

It is ironic that so many conservatives who consider themselves free market advocates also forcefully oppose free migration. Immigration restrictions probably interfere with the free market more than any other US government policy. They literally prevent many millions of people from freely seeking jobs and engaging in numerous other market transactions. Free migration throughout the world could potentially double world GDP, leading to more additional economic growth than almost any other potential policy change. And would-be immigrants are not the only ones whose freedom is severely constrained by immigration restrictions. The same is also true of numerous native-born Americans. If you don’t think government can be trusted to decide what types of food we should eat or what kind of health insurance we should buy, there is reason for similar skepticism about giving it the power to determine which potential immigrants we should be allowed to work with, rent housing to, and otherwise interact.

By Ilya Somin for The Washington Post
Read full article HERE>

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