Why immigration is a right

A member asks why immigration is a right. Another member asks why it isn’t. Who has the burden of proof?

Every human action is a right, unless it initiates physical force against another.

So, does the act of immigration initiate force? No, not per se. Does it threaten the initiation of force, since the threat of force is force? No, not qua immigration. That is, some people walking or driving across the border do so in a way that threatens force, such as driving recklessly or coming in with weapons brandished. (This has to be rare.) Some come in planning or going to plan criminal acts.

But it’s not qua immigration that this happens. Sometimes natives of Newark, NJ, present an objective threat of force as they enter Manhattan. Or as they enter Union, NJ. Or as they cross the street in Newark.

Some people who are immigrants will commit crimes. Some people wearing Nike shoes will commit crimes. If we have to regulate immigration, vet the immigrants, check their criminal records, do we have to do the same for those wearing Nike shoes?

And how about those people who are traveling within the country to destinations beginning with the letter P? Some of them are bad guys. Some of them have communicable diseases. So if you are planning a trip to Patterson, Peoria, Pittsburgh, or Paducah, you need to present your papers at the gates of these cities and maybe have a medical exam.

Actually, it’s a known fact that some percentage of people who play the accordion take jobs away from the rest of us. They have to be closely watched, lest they try to get jobs.

When  there’s a particular point of origin where Ebola or some such disease is rampant, it makes a certain sense to screen people (even returning citizens) who are coming from there. But it’s perverse and absurd to make a special threat-category for those who prefer your country to the one they want to leave.

As to the effect on culture, if that’s the standard then the entire faculty of every university in the country should be deported. (Not a bad idea!) The university professors are the culture-destroyers — not the people who value this country enough to move here, often risking death in the process.

All regulation—gun regulation, medical innovation regulation, immigration regulation—is preventive law. It is not the case that people, natives or foreigners, are to be presumed guilty and have to prove their innocence.

Incidentally, to uphold the right of immigration is not to say that immigrants should be soon (or ever) given the vote. The privilege of voting should be delinked from the right of free transit.

How is there a right of immigration? Just ask yourself: Would you, as an individual, have the right to stand at the border and stop by force people who were passing by you?