Are Open Borders Really the Position of Libertarians?

By Kirk D.

Migration is a hot topic these days, especially since President Trump’s travel ban on nations of interest. Many Republicans tend to embrace strict limitations on immigration while Democrats seem to have no limitations; but what about Libertarians?

The official Libertarian Party’s platform on migration states that people should be able to “travel freely as long as they are peaceful.” They also claim that ‘most immigrants are peaceful and productive’ and that ‘undocumented immigrants shouldn’t be classified as criminals.’ The Future of Freedom Foundation (FFF) takes it a step further and claims that “there is only one Libertarian position on immigration” and that is “open borders.” There are a slew of other Libertarian websites (like this one) making similar claims, but do all Libertarians feel this way?

It’s hard to quantify considering most polls don’t include Libertarian based questions on topic issues. But if you take to the comment sections on many platforms and a vast array of websites and blogs, a lot of people calling themselves Libertarian don’t seem to share the institutional views that the Libertarian Party, the FFF and many other gatekeeper outlets espouse. Some more mainstream Libertarians like David Boaz and John Stossel believe that migration needs checks and balances. Some equate open borders as being a principle of communism. Ron Paul has advocated for creating better working visa programs while still enforcing migration laws but above all, ending the welfare state.

But the last point is key.

How can Libertarians be in favor of open borders while a welfare state is in place?

And there lies the conundrum. I think this article from LewRockwell.com is a must read for Libertarians who are confused on their position of open borders. Hans-Hermann Hoppe encourages real Libertarians to not be the useful idiots of cultural Marxism via the victimology that has permeated the main stream Libertarian institutions.

One Reply to “Are Open Borders Really the Position of Libertarians?”

  1. My problem with borders is similar to Walter Block’s. Who owns them? I don’t believe a nation has a legitimate claim for any of the undeveloped land it acquires. So, it either has to use eminent domain to establish borders on private land, or use *stolen* money to “homestead” some border land to build a wall, etc.

    Hypothetical: if an Arizona landowner on the Mexican border doesn’t want the wall on his property, and wants to allow migrants to pass freely through his land, what should the gov do? Well, if they respect property rights, they will build around his property. But, this isn’t what would happen. They wouldn’t want to create a snake of a fence, so they’ll use eminent domain and just steal land. The wall in this scenario can be taken as *any* border control. Proposing closed borders means proposing property rights abuses.

    I understand Hoppe’s argument but I don’t see how it can be applied while maintaining moral consistency.

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