Frequently, immigration is the hot topic for columnists, bloggers and people who generally have not much else to talk about other than “foreigners”. I feel it’s important to just briefly talk about this hot topic and provide the libertarian perspective on such a topic (at least the position I support anyway) which is frequently up for debate. One of the more well known libertarians on the global scene, Ron Paul, does not support this position, but generally speaking, the libertarian view on immigration that I hold, is one held widely.
So what do I favour? I favour an open border policy. Immigrants have every right to enter my country, just as much as I should have the right to enter theirs. It is the right of every free individual in this world to seek out a better life for themselves and their families, but I will attempt to deal with the potential responses to such an open border policy, putting my own view on the table. Whether or not you agree with my position is your choice, yet I hope you will at least understand the position which I have adopted, and the reason for me holding that view.
One opposition argument to open border policy is that it will dilute the language and cultures of the native lands which sees and influx of immigrants. It is a reasonable argument to make, yet I do not consider this to be a bad thing. All around us we see examples of other cultures which have become part of every day life. The sharing of language educates and opens minds. We learn from each other and gain understanding of other’s faith, language, cultural traditions and so on. A free society accepts the differences in others and allows person’s to go about their daily lives without interference from the state and other individual’s. Just as much as a Muslim does not have the right to tell a Sikh how to dress, a British man does not have the right to tell a Polish person that he must speak English before he can enter our land. Such restrictions on a person’s liberty are not representative of a free society.
Another argument may be that open borders may put a strain on the welfare of a particular nation which sees an influx of immigrants. This again is a reasonable concern, yet rather than propose limitations on immigration, we should perhaps look at reform to the welfare safety net which our nation operates. Power to operate such a welfare system would be best served by being devolved to local authorities who were granted policy powers of creating such a system, and to raise funds to pay for such a system. If that particular local authority chose to allow immigrants access to the same welfare as citizens within the particular area, then that would be a choice reached by the local authority with the consent of the voters.
Some would argue that it would make getting a job more difficult for British citizens at a time when getting a job is already quite challenging. This again, is a reasonable concern, but it is another one I would instantly reject. Perhaps the opportunity for more qualified person’s for a particular job to move to the UK and provide further competition for a job would improve productivity in the jobs market. Competition for jobs is not a negative, in fact it is a positive as it would encourage more citizens to improve their own skills to make their prospects of employment better and make them more competitive. It is said that a number of applications are rejected because of the most basic of errors, employers want the best candidates, and do not want to resort to settling for the least awful candidate. Terrible employees creates a terrible service, which in turn damages the business, and in a wider sense damages the economy.
The UK pays around £8bn in foreign aid, and the budget for the UK Border agency is around £2.5bn per year. This is a lot of money that could be saved instantly with open borders. It is a fallacy to imply that open borders would lead to chaos, racial tensions and so on. The only real cause racial tensions and chaos is the fecklessness of the UKBA which encourages racial profiling and chaos because it simply does not know what it’s doing. Time for a rethink on immigration, and it starts with looking toward the benefits of such a policy of open borders.