Question for Open Borders Folks

What do believers in open borders do about terrorists who want to immigrate, or other people of an unsavory character? What if the extent of a potential immigrant's transgressions was praising terrorists in public press? He hasn't actually harmed anyone, so to prevent him from immigrating would be unjust according to an open borders philosophy.

I think it clear that the government should prevent such a person from immigrating. In the worst case scenario, he is actually a peaceful person and our country will lose a tiny bit of economic benefit through the loss of economic exchange with him. But if he is not a peaceful person then the decision to let him immigrate is disastrous.

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The same things I do with

The same things I do with praisers of terrorism that were born here.

What if he has said "I am

What if he has said "I am going to move to the United States, and when I get there I am going to blow up an occupied building"?

Also, what would you do with people who had actually committed crimes in foreign countries? I am assuming you would at least reject their immigration.

What if he has said "I am

What if he has said "I am going to move to the United States, and when I get there I am going to blow up an occupied building"?

Wouldn't this be a pretty explicit threat? Are there libertarians who object to the police power (whether the police are public or private) to prosecute those who make threats of violence?

Also, what would you do with people who had actually committed crimes in foreign countries? I am assuming you would at least reject their immigration.

I'm not so sure I would reject them. Are you talking about people who have committed crimes, been caught, prosecuted, convicted, and punished by foreign governments? Or are you talking about people who are fleeing jurisdiction?

In the first case, I have a problem with denying ex-convicts rights/privileges enjoyed by non-ex-convicts, unless the denied right/privilege is part of a rational system of parole (i.e. it might make sense to place a restraining order on all parolees convicted of child molestation prohibiting direct contact with children for the rest of their lives, but it doesn't make sense to deny them, say, the legal right to own weapons or vote. There are, of course, good consequentialist reasons against excessive and unreasonable parole restrictions. As sociologists and criminologists have long recognized, "The unintended consequence of these policies can be to promote the very circumstances that led to crime in the first place."

In the second case, I don't have a problem with legal jurisdictions (whether public or private) occasionally working together to respect each other's jurisdictional authority, and return fleeing criminals to their jurisdiction of origin to face charges, depending on the legitimacy of particular legal jurisdictions and the crime in question, of course.

Whatever you do, look at the

Whatever you do, look at the cost.

The policy of letting everyone in is very cheap, and has the advantage that it does not inconvenience peaceful immigrants in the slightest.

The policy of letting everyone except Bin Laden in (for example) is extremely expensive and at least somewhat inconvenient to all peaceful immigrants. Why? Because you need to check every single immigrant in order to make sure they are not Bin Laden. You need to thoroughly check every single vehicle to make sure that Bin Laden is not hiding inside it. And so on. This is both costly for the US government (to hire the customs agents) and also costly to immigrants (if you have ever waited in a long line waiting to get into the US, you know what I mean - last time I visited Canada I, along with everyone else, waited 2 hours to get back into the US - now multiply the time waiting by the number of people inconvenienced, and you have a significant economic hit).

Moreover the policy of letting everybody in except Bin Laden has the further problem that it creates a structure - Customs - that can be then be used by the government to further harass visitors and returning citizens, to impose increasing costs on travelers and further discourage peaceful travel. The economic damage of all that would be hard to estimate but in all likelihood massive.

Also, I remind you of what happened when we kept Bin Laden out.

Step 1: Keep Bin Laden out. (done)

Step 2: 9/11, 3000 murdered by Bin Laden's men.

Also, what would you do with people who had actually committed crimes in foreign countries? I am assuming you would at least reject their immigration.

Here are two approaches to combating crime. Ahmed is a convicted mugger. Here are two approaches to dealing with Ahmed.

Approach 1: Check every single person entering the US to make sure that he or she is not Ahmed.

Approach 2: Don't check anybody entering the US. If Ahmed enters the US and mugs somebody, deal with that via the usual police work.

Approach 2 has the advantage of not harassing the vast number of travelers entering the US. Approach 1 has the advantage that it pro-actively prevents Ahmed from coming into the US and committing a crime there.

If you favor Approach 1, why not favor equivalents for domestic criminals? Suppose that Alvin the American has mugged someone but has evaded the police. Should we:

Approach 1b: do a door to door search of every house in the US to see if Alvin is inside.

Sure, it harasses 300 million Americans, but see, it's proactive. If you don't do it, and Alvin mugs somebody else, how can you face his victim knowing that you might have been able to prevent the mugging if only you had done a door-to-door search for Alvin across America?

Could work. But I sorta want

Could work. But I sorta want somewhere else to try it first.

A lot of people already

A lot of people already employ the hands-off, non-pro-active approach to dealing with visitors. States of our union do it with visitors from other states. Cities do it with visitors from outside the city. Mall owners do it with people visiting the mall. There are many criminals already in the US but outside specific states, cities, and malls. But those states, cities, and malls do not check anybody entering. There are even some homegrown terrorists, but states, cities, and malls still do not check anybody entering.

I think he meant he found

I think he meant he found the idea of door-to-door searches interesting, not open borders.

I remember when this was a libertarian web site.

I remember when this was a

I remember when this was a libertarian web site.

People have been having this argument here for four years, so there's certainly been no sudden rush to statism, if these posts are the evidence.

Personally, I think it's delightful that dogmatic, axiomatic, argument-based libertarianism seems to be on the decline, and experimental, pluralist, structural libertarianism is on the rise.

Structural libertarianism is

Structural libertarianism is on the rise because Patri and Jonathan started a couple more web sites?

Oh snap! In fairness, one of

Oh snap!

In fairness, one of those links was to Paul Romer's Charter Cities website, which is not run by Patri and Jonathan, although I know Patri is a Romer fan.

Wow, I missed that link.

So: Three web sites.

Fair point, although my

Fair point, although my totally unscientific feel is that on the margin, more people are talking about institutions and competition rather than philosophy. That may be simply total exhaustion with rehashing the same points on the internet for the millionth time.

Take Romer (who as far as I know, does not identify as a libertarian) for example. It's simply astounding to me that one of the most respected economists in the world (a sure Nobel winner, eventually) advocates what amounts to a limited form of competitive governance rather than traditional "good policy" or what have you. Maybe that impresses some people less me, but it's fairly radical.

Patri's five years ahead of

Patri's five years ahead of me, always.

I remember when this was a

I remember when this was a libertarian web site.

My thoughts exactly. The collectivist spirit of this entry is astounding.

Then argue against it and

Then argue against it and show us why Jacob is wrong! That was Constant's approach, and isn't this comment thread much more interesting to read than a blog with an enforced party line? If you never leave your libertarian echo chamber, your justificatory and persuasive abilities atrophy.

I find immigration restrictions to be antithetical to the spirit of libertarianism, and certainly incompatible with deontological NAP versions of it. A libertarian who finds the best justification for libertarianism to involve some form of consequentialism might also happen to conclude that open immigration is unjustified on grounds that it leads to bad consequences (for whom?).

I think this remains a difficulty inherent in the definition of libertarianism. I look at libertarianism as a family resemblance concept, with consequentialists as the red-headed stepchild of the family, and deontologist NAP types comprising the favored majority. So, just from a cultural analysis perspective, open borders types have a better claim when declaring theirs to be "the" libertarian perspective on the issue, but I'm not quite comfortable reading all restrictionists entirely out of "the movement".

Yes, yes, boo hiss movementarianism and all that, but common usage defines the term based on the policy positions of self-described libertarians, and a large enough portion are (unfortunately) restrictionists to justify their inclusion. So too, I think it's unwise to read out of libertarianism all of the pro-war types, even though the pro-war position (at least with regard to Iraq) is entirely mistaken. On the other hand, if the term ever comes to include, say, drug prohibitionists, I'd agree that the term has lost all coherence and meaning.

That's an excellent point.

That's an excellent point. Open borders probably is the stronger libertarian argument, all things considered.

I'd say, though, at least for me, I don't really care if my view is labeled libertarian or not. I have a constellation of beliefs that more-or-less lines up with libertarians. But if on some issues it doesn't, well, so be it.

Incidentally, I don't hold particularly strong views on immigration (I do support increasing legal immigration), despite the fact that I seem to be perpetually arguing against open borders here. Frankly, I'm mystified by how confident people seem to be in predicting what would happen with open borders, considering how poorly we understand the effects of immigration today. Which would seem to be important for the consequentialists.

Frankly, I'm mystified by

Frankly, I'm mystified by how confident people seem to be in predicting what would happen with open borders, considering how poorly we understand the effects of immigration today. Which would seem to be important for the consequentialists.

The confidence (at least among the consequentialists) arises not because of a prediction of what the extreme end of the spectrum might look like, but because even relatively small changes in the status-quo towards a more open worker migration policy have incredibly huge benefits for the migrant workers. Here is economist Lant Pritchett in an interview with Reason magazine from two years ago:

If the 30 affluent countries making up the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) were to allow just a 3 percent rise in the size of the their labor forces through loosened immigration restrictions, claims a 2005 World Bank report, the gains to citizens of poor countries would amount to $300 billion. That’s $230 billion more than the developed world currently allocates to foreign aid for poor countries. And foreign aid is a transfer: The $70 billion that rich countries give leaves those countries $70 billion poorer. According to the World Bank study, wealthy nations that let in 3 percent more workers would gain $51 billion by boosting returns to capital and reducing the cost of production.

Consequentialists who reject this argument generally reject granting the foreign born any consideration at all in their cost-benefit analysis. (This is also why accusations of bigotry arise.) If the question is only restricted to whether more open immigration policies would benefit the native born, the benefits are modest and somewhat mixed (i.e. not a pure Pareto improvement, although there is still strong evidence that it would be a moderate Kaldor-Hicks improvement). But when the benefits to immigrants themselves are considered, the cost-benefit analysis is so far lopsided in favor of more open immigration that this gives us a high level of confidence, at least within any policy range close to the status-quo.

(I do support increasing legal immigration)

Incidentally, Milton Friedman preferred illegal immigration over legal immigration as a second-best policy in the presence of a welfare state.

Incidentally, Milton

Incidentally, Milton Friedman preferred illegal immigration over legal immigration as a second-best policy in the presence of a welfare state.

Interesting, I did not know that.

That Reason article reminded me of something else, since Pritchett talks about guest workers. Will Wilkinson once chided me, with some justification, for conflating allowing workers to move with citizenship. He's actually right I think: A not-insignificant share of the potential (and I stress potential, since I'm as unsure about this stuff as anyone) problems with free migration are really worries about changing the electorate, which as long as we're a democracy, seem relevant.

A guest worker program gets around that nicely.

A guest worker program gets

A guest worker program gets around that nicely.

Yes, it does, and here I think Will is borrowing directly from Pritchett. The irony, of course, is that lefties recoil at the notion of a guest worker program, since it creates a second class of non-citizens who are entitled to less rights/privileges than the native born. Of course, this fails to recognize that only through this kind of class stratification would these immigrants get to enjoy a standard of living orders of magnitude greater than their current situation.

This is the ultimate form of "limousine liberalism" - as long as poor people are kept on the other side of the border where we don't have to see them so much, we can pretend like they don't exist and successfully ignore the tremendous inequality between us and them. But making them much better off by letting them in as workers but not citizens isn't kosher, because it would be an inegalitarian system which we can see. If you don't see poverty or if it isn't located near you, it's as if it doesn't exist. This kind of egalitarianism is nonsense on stilts.

Nonsense on stilts

nonsense on stilts

Could this be because they are committed to supporting union cartels of labor, and need some way to rationalize their bigotry against foreign guest workers?

"Then argue against it and

"Then argue against it and show us why Jacob is wrong!"

Um, I did. He's wrong because America is not his property. It's analogous to me deciding who gets to visit to your house.

"A libertarian who finds the best justification for libertarianism to involve some form of consequentialism might also happen to conclude that open immigration is unjustified on grounds that it leads to bad consequences (for whom?)."

If you can justify this under libertarianism then what collectivist scheme can't be justified? Why not libertarian conscription?

I don't care about the word, it just happens to be the most handy word for a pro-liberty position. My objection is that the policy obviously destroys liberty.

On the other hand, if the term ever comes to include, say, drug prohibitionists, I'd agree that the term has lost all coherence and meaning.

Why? Because drug addicts are obviously so much less dangerous to liberty than Mexicans? Or because you use drugs but don't need to immigrate here? Your argument lacks coherence.

If you can justify this

If you can justify this under libertarianism then what collectivist scheme can't be justified? Why not libertarian conscription?

Recall that David Friedman defended conscription under certain hypothetical conditions in The Machinery of Freedom:

"I will now carry the argument a step further by defending one of the particular heresies which, it is widely believed, no libertarian can support--that under some conceivable circumstances a draft would be desirable."

My objection is that the policy obviously destroys liberty.

I agree with your objection. But some immigration restrictionists who call themselves libertarian don't seem to take the liberty of potential immigrants into account. I think the argument at that point needs to shift from a discussion of libertarian definitions to a discussion of bigotry: Which entities should we include in our moral circle of consideration and which can we rightfully exclude? Isn't it morally monstrous to exclude an entire class of people from moral consideration merely because they were not lucky enough to be born inside some arbitrarily drawn border lines?

On the other hand, if the term ever comes to include, say, drug prohibitionists, I'd agree that the term has lost all coherence and meaning.

Why? Because drug addicts are obviously so much less dangerous to liberty than Mexicans? Or because you use drugs but don't need to immigrate here? Your argument lacks coherence.

The best arguments given by drug prohibitionists generally involve some appeal to paternalism, which is hard to square with any conception of libertarianism. The argument that legalization will lead to a massive increase in drug addicts, who in turn will cause massive widespread social chaos is difficult to take as seriously as the paternalist arguments, since we have so many empirical counterexamples.

I believe some drug prohibitionists genuinely believe in the paternalist arguments, and it's harder to argue with them because it becomes a disagreement over values - whether or not paternalism is a valid motivation for restricting other adults' freedom. I have a much more difficult time believing that smart people familiar with the evidence sincerely believe in the social chaos arguments; I think they just use them as scare tactics for the politically naive.

So I can easily imagine a relatively well informed, honest person who favors drug prohibition because he or she believes paternalism is a legitimate justification. I cannot imagine a relatively well informed, honest person who favors drug prohibition because he or she truly believes that, if legalized, a large enough portion of the population would immediately go out and become addicted to meth, and this would lead to social havoc. And the concept of a libertarian paternalist seems to rob the term "libertarianism" of all meaning. Whereas the idea of a libertarian terrified of meth addicts ruining society may be more congruent with libertarianism, but more likely that that libertarian is just badly misinformed or disingenuous. And I try to avoid assuming that people who disagree with me are evil or stupid. But sometimes it's really difficult!

Recall that David Friedman

Recall that David Friedman defended conscription under certain hypothetical conditions in The Machinery of Freedom:

"I will now carry the argument a step further by defending one of the particular heresies which, it is widely believed, no libertarian can support--that under some conceivable circumstances a draft would be desirable."

And is it then libertarian to execute your conscript if he refuses to comply?

The fact that David Friedman made an argument doesn't make it a libertarian argument.

The best arguments given by drug prohibitionists generally involve some appeal to paternalism, which is hard to square with any conception of libertarianism.

Why? If we accept collective standards for libertarianism then why would we assume a priori that paternalism government paternalism can't enhance liberty? You just accepted David Friedman's argument for libertarian conscription as plausible.

Isn't it morally monstrous to exclude an entire class of people from moral consideration merely because they were not lucky enough to be born inside some arbitrarily drawn border lines?

I'm not clear at all on what that means. It is morally monstrous to shoot peaceful individuals for crossing a line that you don't own - which enforcement of Jacob's policy requires.

It's not a failure to consider people (whatever that means) that is immoral, it's the act of harming them.

The fact that David Friedman

The fact that David Friedman made an argument doesn't make it a libertarian argument.

True, but it's an argument designed to appeal to libertarians in order to convince them that simple formulations of libertarianism such as the non-aggression principle are incomplete or insufficient. He chose the example of conscription for the same reason you did: because it's a particularly heretical position for a libertarian to hold. But, under the (unlikely and contrived) situation he described, it's hard to believe that any libertarian would prefer the much worse outcome that does not involve conscription.

You just accepted David Friedman's argument for libertarian conscription as plausible.

He is describing a contrived hypothetical scenario that, by his own admission, he believes is very unlikely to ever occur, but that is theoretically possible. Friedman again:

The point of this argument is not that we should have a draft. As it happens, I not only believe that under present circumstances a draft is a bad thing, I also believe that if the government has the power to impose a draft it is very much more likely that it will use it when it should not than that the rather unlikely circumstances I have described will occur. That is, however, a practical argument, and one that might depend on the particular circumstances of a particular time and place; it is not an argument of principle that would apply everywhere and everywhen.

I suppose you could make the same sort of argument about drug prohibition. If tomorrow someone invented a drug that was instantly addictive, guaranteed to be harmful to both the health of the user and others -- say, it turns everyone who uses it into a super-strong, hyper-violent sociopath unable to reason and control themselves, like an even more extreme version of PCP, I think most libertarians would be in favor of some sort of restriction. But, of course, this is very unlikely, partly because such a drug wouldn't be very popular among consumers, just as PCP is not a very popular drug. So the likelihood of a significant portion of the population of self-described libertarians coming to favor drug prohibition is slim; for practical reasons. But if, under some strange scenario that I cannot imagine happening (perhaps a Leninist-style takeover of libertarian organizations by social conservatives?), a significant portion of the population of self-described libertarians did come to favor general drug prohibition, it would probably be time to hang up the title.

I ask again...

...if your conscript refuses to serve would it then be libertarian to execute him?

I don't care how contrived it is, the question now is whether it's libertarian.

I think it goes without

I think it goes without saying that a conscript who refuses to serve would be forced to serve against his or her will; that's just what conscription means.

Is it libertarian? No, not at all. But the hypothetical is set up in such a way as to elicit the answer, "So much the worse for libertarianism."

Okay, so conscrription is not libertarian.

So how can Jacob's immigration policy be libertarian when it's enforcement also requires killing peaceful individuals?

Given the welfare state...

...professed libertarians like Hoppe argue that it is moral to stop immigration since immigration imposes costs on us all via the welfare state. While rejecting the argument, Roderick Long and Walter Block both identify the argument as a libertarian argument. The same "libertarian" argument can be made against drug use - given the welfare state drug users impose costs on the rest of the population and thus it is permissible to use force to avoid those costs. What basis do you have to say such an argument is not libertarian?

I don't agree with Long and

I don't agree with Long and Block that Hoppe's argument is a libertarian one. My reason for not reading Hoppe out of libertarianism is merely a numbers game; there are enough libertarians who agree with his position to stake claim to the title even if this individual policy position isn't very libertarian at all.

I'll concede that my reason for wanting to exclude a theoretical coalition of self-described libertarian drug prohibitions is not well grounded; it's more just wishful thinking that such a coalition never arises. I guess I'll have to cross that bridge if I ever come to it!

Obama's bank tax is stupid.

Obama's bank tax is stupid. And it's a shame that I can't legally buy some 'shrooms tonight.

There, ya happy?

That was boring.

It seems not unreasonable

It's not unreasonable that we could expect less danger on average from unrestricted immigration from Montana than unrestricted immigration from Yemen. This counter-argument is too simple.

Isn't the original argument

Isn't the original argument too strong, at least for anyone who considers themselves any kind of individualist? After all, one could similarly argue that "It's not unreasonable that we could expect less danger on average from unrestricted immigration from [insert WASPy suburb with low rates of poverty and corresponding low rates of crime] than unrestricted immigration from [insert urban inner city with relatively high rates poverty and corresponding high rates of crime rate]."

Part of being an individualist means giving people the benefit of the doubt and treating them as individuals worthy of a presumption of innocence, rather than members of a collective each of whom is held responsible for the statistical characteristics of that collective, however "reasonable" it may be to do otherwise.

Do you really prefer to live in a society that prejudges you based on the statistical characteristics of the collectives you happen to belong to, either by birth or choice? I don't.

"Restricted" doesn't mean

"Restricted" doesn't mean completely restricted. There is a spectrum of policy we can implement towards immigrants from any area between "complete accept" and "complete reject". Constant provides the example of a completely unrestricted immigration model that sounds optimal on a local level. My rejoinder is that this model's demonstrated effectiveness in some circumstances doesn't make it optimal in all circumstances.

In particular, I wouldn't shed a tear if the government restricted immigration of people from certain areas who had made public proclamations advocating terrorism or attended groups where methods of terrorism are taught. Constant is correct to point out that the cost of implementing this policy could be greater than the benefits. But that is an empirical question.

Your response to me is that I'm being collectivist, which is interestingly enough an argument about morality. Let's run with that. Let's suppose I advocated complete restriction of immigration from Yemen. Furthermore, let's suppose that a full 50% of immigrants from Yemen blow shit up once they reach America. In such circumstances collectivism is still morally wrong, but it's smart as hell. And the assertion that individualism == optimal policy falls apart. We do not live in a benevolent world where what is moral matches what is optimal, so we have to chose.

Someone's going to reply that this is a contrived example. And yes it is. But I can't rule out that there exists real circumstances where the cost of morality so exceeds its benefits that all but the most devout are compelled to abandon dogmatism. This may not happen often, but it does happen. And sometimes it happens in very pivotal circumstances.

And while I value morality, I don't always chose it. If it leads to bad enough outcomes, I'm willing to let it slip in the edge cases. This is called "pragmatism".

In such circumstances

In such circumstances collectivism is still morally wrong, but it's smart as hell. And the assertion that individualism == optimal policy falls apart. We do not live in a benevolent world where what is moral matches what is optimal, so we have to chose.

And while I value morality, I don't always chose it. If it leads to bad enough outcomes, I'm willing to let it slip in the edge cases. This is called "pragmatism".

I don't disagree with any of this. What is moral may not always be optimal, if optimality is defined narrowly using measures like minimizing crime rates. But why define optimality so narrowly? Why not also consider our individualist urge to not collectively treat individual people badly for crimes they as individuals have not yet committed?

I can think of lots of hypothetical cases where I would prefer the "pragmatic" approach over the doctrinaire libertarian one. But immigration is not one of them, at least not until we move so far along the spectrum towards completely open borders that prediction of secondary effects becomes nearly impossible. We are far, far away from that point. I have yet to read any morally defensible argument justifying the status-quo level of immigration in the U.S. or anything even remotely close to it. And certainly no morally defensible argument justifying even greater restrictions than the status-quo.

It's not unreasonable that

It's not unreasonable that we could expect less danger on average from unrestricted immigration from Montana than unrestricted immigration from Yemen.

I am working with the available evidence. If the borders were generally open between countries, I think you would discover directly, empirically, that it's not a terrible thing to have them open. Since they are closed, you are perfectly free, like a child who is afraid of what is in the closet with the closed door, to let your imagination run wild about what horrible things would happen if the borders were opened.

And since those borders are closed, I can't use those as evidence that open borders are okay. I am forced to use the available evidence - the available open borders. The available evidence that we can easily examine is the borders between areas inside the US.

You are reluctant to generalize from the available evidence.

If a person is reluctant to generalize, it is usually easy to come up with rationalizations not to generalize. Reluctance to generalize usually is not rational, but rationalized.

There is a continuum of danger, from bunny dangerous, to zombies dangerous. Some areas in the US are close to bunny dangerous. Other areas in the US are close to zombies dangerous. Maybe Yemen is radioactive zombies dangerous. But isn't it rather much of a coincidence that the broad continuum of danger that one finds inside the US is, from bunnies to zombies, optimally dealt with by an open border policy, while radioactive zombies is optimally dealt with by a controlled border policy? That seems a bit much of a coincidence. How convenient that the great range of dangers that face us inside the US, from bunnies to zombies, conveniently manage to fall this side of the controlled border policy, while the radioactive zombies of Yemen fall on the other side. How convenient that national political borders just happen to line up perfectly with what you, Jacob, would recommend based purely on a danger-level analysis. I mean, it looks exactly as if you're rationalizing the current policy, just as the child is rationalizing not looking behind the closed closet door.

And are you even right? Is Yemen, on a per capita basis, really more dangerous than the most dangerous neighborhoods in the US? And what of Mexico? Is that so dangerous? What of Canada? Is Canada really more dangerous than the worst American neighborhoods?

Notice, meanwhile, that you cannot enter Yemen freely. You need a visa, it's not free, and it does not last forever. Do you seriously argue that the United States is more dangerous than Yemen, that Yemen is justified in patrolling its borders? If so, then that would imply that the United States is more dangerous than the United States.

You suggested, in an earlier comment, that we should keep out foreign criminals. You did not specify super-dangerous criminals. Just criminals, including thieves and muggers. Your argument implies that since Yemen has criminals, then it makes sense to control entry so that we can keep the Yemeni criminals out. This applies to any country - they all have criminals. But your argument applies also inside the United States. The United States has criminals. If the existence of outside criminals implies that we should control entry in order to keep out criminals, then your argument applies inside the US. You can't use the "Yemen is more dangerous" dodge here, because your argument, as stated, applies inside the US. As a reminder, here it is:

Also, what would you do with people who had actually committed crimes in foreign countries? I am assuming you would at least reject their immigration.

You can replace "foreign countries" with "other states" or "other towns". Such a replacement does not change the logic of the argument. If your argument as it stands is true about foreign criminals, then the analogous argument is also true about American criminals. And yet we don't have a system of controlled borders insided the US.

An answer

Patrol the borders of your property as you see fit. Make whatever agreements you like with other property owners as to the coordinated patrolling of your borders.

Aside from that though you have no borders. You have no more moral authority over my property, or U.S. borders than you have over the borders of Spain.

I hereby declare, on oath,

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; [so help me God.]*

*: optional

If they can't give that oath, if they have given statements indicating that they would not abide by that oath, then they should not be citizens. This is not a complicated issue.

The actual state of affairs

This is not a complicated issue.

The actual state of affairs are not in question.

But we are trying to imagine what it would be like if America were a free country.

What does that have to do

What does that have to do with crossing a border?

Coincidentally, I read an

Coincidentally, I read an article yesterday about how some European schools were no longer teaching about the Holocaust for fear of offending Islamic immigrants. In England there are problems with extra-legal Sharia courts that enforce horrible, medieval laws on women (funny that these are never praised as an example of poly-centric anarchic law).

Yet if 100,000,000 million people from conservative Islamic countries wanted to move here, I feel most of you would support that. Micha would point out how much better off the immigrants would be. John would feel good about following the non-aggression principle. Constant would convince himself that it would all work out for the better, even as the specter of bruised eyes look out at him from behind the veils of women who dared to show too much skin in public.

I would apply for immigration to Canada.

No, you are wrong. I believe

No, you are wrong. I believe that Islam is a serious danger to freedom. I have often written about Islam here. Islam is at war with the non-Islamic world, and the rules of war are not the rules of peace.

Interesting.

Interesting.

You consider yourself entitled to shoot peaceful people?

John would feel good about following the non-aggression principle.

I point out that the enforcement of the policy you champion necessarily requires shooting peaceful individuals for crossing a line you don't own. You classify this as navel gazing. It's simple human decency.

Plenty of people would think

Plenty of people would think it indecent to shoot people for crossing a line you do own as well. The shooting people is the emotional part. You're hooking onto that emotion to make a case for the version of property rights that you prefer.

But if we acknowledge that shooting people (or the threat thereof) for crossing a line is sometimes required in order to preserve a corner of the world that is pleasant to live in, then we can have a rational argument about which lines should be defended.

I should note that in practice the US Border Patrol doesn't shoot people, but rather restrains and deports them.

In the U.S., Israel, and

In the U.S., Israel, and many other countries, there are problems with extra-legal rabbinical courts that enforce horrible, medieval laws on women.

even as the specter of bruised eyes look out at him from behind the veils of women who dared to show too much skin in public.

Let me ask you a question, Jacob, since you appear to be genuinely concerned with the wellbeing if Islamic women: Do you think any given women born into Islamic society in the Middle East would be better off if forced to live in her country of origin for the rest of her life, or would she be better off if given the option of living in the U.S.? Under which scenario is it more likely that, if she chooses, she could leave her abusive husband and male relatives and find support elsewhere?

I find myself strangely

I find myself strangely tempted by the policy of allowing only the women into the US. Hmm.

You focus on the inessential.

Do you think any given women born into Islamic society in the Middle East would be better off if forced to live in her country of origin for the rest of her life, or would she be better off if given the option of living in the U.S.?

If such women would be better off living in Jacob's house would that entail any obligation on his part to take them in?

There may be billions of people who would be better off if you let them live in your home. So?

The essential point here is that we're not talking about Jacob's home, thus where they live isn't his business - whatever their situation.

You focus on the unpersuasive

You aren't going to convince anyone who doesn't already share your conception of property rights with that argument, so why make it? I prefer the approach of the internal critique.

Stop a random guy on the street....

...demand that they he give you his wallet and then observe his conception of property rights. In the immediate and concrete people tend to get it right because they have to.

"...the US Border patrol doesn't shoot people..."

They don't have to shoot most border-crossers because the threat of deadly violence usually suffices. But you know perfectly well that your policy is simply ignored when the threat of deadly force is absent.

Gandhi confronted people with the full moral implications of their policies:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3C8AAOMWsg&feature=related

Would you be willing to personally strike down peaceful individuals crossing a line you didn't own? To kill them if they sufficiently decline to obey you?

It appears to me that you are simply in denial about the full moral implications of your policy.