In his Democracy: A God That Failed, Hoppe does a very good job discussing the economic consequences of unrestricted immigration, saying quite correctly that unless immigrants bring with them capital goods, an influx of labor will lower wages.

He also tries to illustrate the natural law aspects of immigration with the help of anarcho-capitalism. Of course, under market anarchism, there is no immigration, and Hoppe realizes that. But he could be clearer in pointing out that immigrating from one country to another is categorically distinct from moving from one house or neighborhood to another.

He is technically correct in stating that “if the government excludes a person while a domestic resident exists who wants to admit this very person onto his property, the result is forced exclusion; and if the government admits a person while no domestic resident exists who wants to have this person on his property, the result is forced integration.” (165).

But correct only in principle. There is no parity between these. Take an arbitrary immigrant on the street. Is there really no domestic resident to whom this immigrant will be of use in the whole of the United States, not a single one? A thief or beggar may be a total outcast, but even these people are not deported. An immigrant with even a bit of money in his pocket will easily be able, even in the absence of any anti-discrimination laws, to find an apartment to rent, food to buy — in fact, every business at which the immigrant so much as looks will want him “on its property” as a customer.

In other words, in Hoppe’s scenario, the government can only force exclusion not integration.

Thus, within a country, we may postulate anarcho-capitalism, and so once admitted inside, once he is in the club, the immigrant or foreigner is no longer distinguishable from the “inlander” or citizen in terms of the property rights he possesses or acquires.

It is preposterous to suggest that foreign guestworkers must be encased by a “factory town.” (167n) For it is extremely likely that they’ll be wanted by local businesses and local friends exactly as much as domestic residents.

Similarly crazy is the idea that “the receiving party must assume legal responsibility for the actions of his invitee for the duration of his stay.” So, if I am invited by Starbucks to buy its coffee, then while on its property, do Starbucks owners assume legal responsibility for my actions? Good heavens, why? Again, once I am in the country, I am entitled, according to Hoppe’s own a-c, to do business with whoever wants me and travel “freely,” that is, as freely as domestic residents. Hoppe almost treats the immigrant as a factory emitting noxious fumes, as though his mere presence around a native or the community were a source of scandal, as if he were polluting society just by hanging around! Must he wear an armband to let others know he is “not from around here”?

If he does commit a crime, then he is to be held responsible, not his “invitee.” The very idea of an invitee is absurd, again because I know, for example, that numerous people in Switzerland right now want me to travel to their country and spend my money, even live there for as long as I want if I have a lot of money. There is no need for a specific invitee or sponsor; or if one is required, then any of these people will qualify.

It is very reasonable, as Hoppe suggests, to tie acquisition of citizenship to property ownership. Perhaps even a person born in the country will be unable to vote, unless such an owner. That’s the only real power citizenship should convey. But a person who rents, whether he is a guest, legal resident, or natural born citizen, does not lose his natural rights to other property. Even a rented apartment is as much “home” as a house one owns. Is a young person who is just making his way in the world, intending perhaps, eventually to marry and buy a house, to be denied basic rights, to be deported at the will of the mob?

In between countries, there are collectivist states that grant admissions to whole territories under their control. Thus, a-c cannot be used to help us come up with the best immigration policies, and if a-c is extended throughout the entire world, then the word “immigration” will no longer refer to any human action.

In short, my own personal inclusion and exclusion policies regarding my apartment, and my association preferences are no guide to the federal government in regard to how to deal with immigration.

Categories: Immigration

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