Restricting immigration violates individual rights

The founding principle of the United States is that “all men” are endowed with “certain unalienable Rights“. These rights are inherent to our nature as human beings, not privileges granted by the government. It is unjust to protect the rights of some but violate the rights of others because of their place of birth.

Immigration is non-coercive; restricting immigration is

A foreigner does not steal from anyone when he pays to buy a house or a car – he benefits both parties. But the government engages in coercion when it forbids a citizen from selling to, hiring, or doing business with a foreigner. There is no right to be protected from being outbid for one’s goods or labor just because one’s competitor is a foreigner. As long as immigrants are peaceful, the government has no right to treat them like criminals by preventing them from engaging in the same voluntary transactions as any other American.

Immigrants make us richer

Every self-supporting worker produces more than he consumes, adding to total output and raising the real wage rate for everyone. The notion that immigrants cause unemployment is based on the fallacious idea that the total output of a country is fixed, and can only be divided among its residents. But historically, the American standard of living rose fastest during peak immigration periods and continues to rise today. Our greatest source of wealth is not natural resources or the capital base, but the ingenuity and creativity of our entrepreneurs and workers. Each new American creates not only new demand, but also provides the supply and insight to meet that demand.

Immigrants are not at fault for welfare abuse

Immigrants are often blamed for living on the public dole. But being born in a particular country does not give anyone a right to the property of others. American welfare bums don’t have any more right to other’s wealth than Mexican bums. It’s the welfare state that’s immoral, not immigration. This argument is also contradicted by legislative efforts to punish the employers of illegal immigrants, and the fact that illegal immigrants and permanent residents are generally not eligible for welfare.

Immigrants epitomize the American Dream

Whether they come here to escape political oppression or simply the pervasive poverty of socialist states, immigrants who come here seeking a free, productive life embody the American spirit. They have shown by their actions that they are far better Americans than most people born in the U.S. While most Americans don’t even bother to vote, they abandon their former life and culture and risk everything to embrace the American dream. Upon coming to America, they are usually more successful than their native born-counterparts.

Further reading

“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “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!”

-“The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus

This was post originally published May 16, 2007 at One Minute Cases.