I haven’t had much to say about the debates over legal and illegal immigration that have been a nationwide obsession over the past month, and that’s partly because I’m conflicted. On the one hand, I find it troublesome that our borders are so porous that 12 million people have managed to get here illegally and will likely never face the consequences of their illegal act. On the other hand, I think its undeniable that immigration of all kinds has been a net-plus to America over the past two centuries. It has brought hard working people who have helped build everything from our railroads to our skyscrapers, and it has enriched our culture in ways that are too numerous to mention.
I’ve been meaning to put something in writing on this issue, and just haven’t gotten around to it.
Now, I see that I don’t have to. Over at The Liberty Papers, Brad Warbiany has an excellent post up about the immigration issue from a libertarian/classical liberal point of view.
Here’s my favorite quote:
Immigration is a thorny issue. But when we stand around and say ?we don?t want you here?, I have to break ranks. When they say ?these immigrants are damaging our economy?, I have to break ranks. I don?t have all the answers as to how to fix the problem, but I know that I refuse to close our country to people who want to live the American Dream. We have to enforce our laws, but when our laws are contrary to the very fabric of America, those laws need to change.
I’m with Brad on this. Closing the borders would be short-sighted and it would go against everything that America has stood for since its founding. Will immigrants from new parts of the world change America in some ways ? Probably. But America will also change them and their children, for the better.