Immigration and Trade Restrictions are Restrictions on Us

by Don Boudreaux on November 2, 2018

in Immigration, Trade

Here’s yet another letter to my constant correspondent, the self-described “proud pro-Trump man,” Nolan McKinney:

Mr. McKinney:

You disapprove of my decision to link today to Arnold Kling’s criticism of anti-immigrationists’ practice of drawing an analogy between a private piece of real property and a country. As you see matters, I am a “hypocrite” because I “support individuals’ right to choose who enters their homes and businesses and who doesn’t,” while I “oppose Americans’ right to choose who enters our country and who doesn’t.”

I disagree. Among my reasons for opposing immigration quotas is precisely that I fully support individuals’ right to choose who enters their homes and businesses and who doesn’t.

When the state restricts immigration, people other than me – politicians and other strangers – pre-empt my ability to choose who I invite into my home or into my office. Among the persons screened out of the United States by immigration quotas are persons who I might one day – or, in some cases, perhaps knowingly today – wish to befriend, to marry, to employ, or to work with face-to-face. My and every other Americans’ freedom to associate with whomever we choose in our homes, businesses, and places of worship is violated by government-imposed restrictions on the number of peaceful people who are allowed to settle in America.

The U.S. government’s immigration restrictions, no less than its trade restrictions, restrict the freedom and violate the human rights of you, me, and of every other American. These restrictions are controls on us. And this arrogant exertion of power is not remotely excused by the fact that the government that uses force to control us in these ways is ‘ours.’

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
and
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030

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