Despite being hammered on his Facebook page, or maybe as a result of such criticism, Judge Andrew Napolitano has continued to push the immigration issue. A column of his was published at LRC today that defends the right of individuals to move unhampered by the state.
The right to travel is an individual personal human right, long recognized under the natural law as immune from governmental interference. Of course, governments have been interfering with this right for millennia. The Romans restricted the travel of Jews; Parliament restricted the travel of serfs; Congress restricted the travel of slaves; and starting in the late 19th century, the federal government has restricted the travel of non-Americans who want to come here and even the travel of those already here. All of these abominable restrictions of the right to travel are based not on any culpability of individuals, but rather on membership in the groups to which persons have belonged from birth.
He goes on to declare that:
Nativism is the arch-enemy of the freedom to travel, as its adherents believe they can use the coercive power of the government to impair the freedom of travel of persons who are unwanted not because of personal behavior, but solely on the basis of where they were born. Nativism teaches that we lack natural rights and enjoy only those rights the government permits us to exercise.
In addition to the standard argument raised by nativists — namely, “they’re stealing our jobs” — two points are raised. The first is: “We are a nation of laws, and they shouldn’t be allowed to break them.”
Okay. So what?
This argument begs the question of whether the laws are themselves just and worth having in the first place. It assumes from the outset that by virtue of being inacted, they should never be changed. It also implies that whomever passed these laws was infalible, and above criticism. It should be obvious that this is foolish.
The second such argument is: “A nation is defined by its borders.”
I tend to agree with this argument, though my view is probably more nuanced than that of your average Texas Minuteman. The way I see it, the borders of a country and the level to which they’re secured indicates a lot about the society within. A society that values personal liberty and embraces free markets should have an equally laissez faire approach to its borders.
On the other hand, a society that is unconcerned with civil liberties and has no appreciation for the market economy will tend to build walls and guard towers, and patrol them with armed guards. So the question one must ask is: do I want a free and open society where contracts and private property are respected, or a prison state marked by guard dogs and razor wire?
Which would you prefer?