Immigration is currently one of the world’s hottest political issues. The Syrian refugee crisis in Europe, Donald Trump’s stances on illegal and Muslim immigration, and the UK’s referendum on EU membership have brought the legality of crossing national borders to the forefront.
In this post, I will name and explain eight different philosophies immigration can be founded upon. I will not use this piece to promote my own views on immigration, but hope to write a companion piece that does so sometime soon.
A National-Socialist immigration policy is likely the easiest to ascertain, and it may be the world’s most popular. The priority of a National-Socialist society is to preserve a common national identity. The people, the land, their language, and their customs bind them as a cohesive unit, and neither human rights nor economic theories can be allowed to whittle this away.
While it is referred to as a form of right-wing extremism, Nazi actually stood for the National Socialist German Worker’s Party. There is nothing right-wing about National-Socialism, and Labour parties are almost always opposed to Conservative ones, so calling the Nazis right-wing is demonstrably inaccurate. National-Socialism is a form of Leftism.
More to the point, the Nazis are far from the only group to have favored a National-Socialist view on immigration. Nearly all nations have national languages; Thai schools teach in Thai, French schools teach in French, and Russian schools teach in Russian.
Birthright citizenship only exists in the United States, Canada, and a few South American and Caribbean nations. Typically, it takes more than being born within a nation’s borders to earn the right to be there.
And nations rarely allow foreigners to serve as elected officials or occupy government jobs of any kind.
Although not always as extreme as the White America envisioned by Richard Spencer, National-Socialist immigration policies are the norm.
A National-Capitalist immigration policy would be defined by its leaders’ vetting of immigrants to ensure that the brightest and most prosperous foreign nationals are granted access to the nation while the tired, poor, huddled masses are kept out. Not only would leaders allow talented migrants across their borders, they would likely incentivize them to come.
France is attempting something similar by “poaching” climate scientists from the rapidly deregulating US.
Anarcho-Capitalists are fundamentalist Libertarians who believe that absolute private property rights are the foundation of all ethics and preferred policies. Ancaps do not believe public property exists, as sharing is a voluntary action that an individual can reconsider at will. Property can only be public via the consent of its owners, so, in actuality, it is privately owned.
This means that Ancaps do not believe states or nations have the right to exist.
As a result, an ideal Anarcho-Capitalist world would not involve immigration as land would wither be privately homesteaded or not. If land is owned, only the owner’s permission is needed to step on it. If land is not owned, it’s up for grabs.
Like AnCaps, Left-Wing Anarchists reject nations too. But unlike Ancaps who see nations as a violation of private property rights, Left-Wing Anarchists see nations as a forceful recognition of property rights which do not exist in their eyes.
Left-Wing Anarchists rationalize a borderless world by rejecting borders wholesale. Not only should national borders be eliminated, but private property itself should be delegitimized too.
Immigration would cease to exist in an ideal Left-Wing Anarchist world because land is a resource to be exploited for the sake of the common good, not for a nation or individual.
A Neoliberal immigration policy would be liberal with border control, but not completely anarchic. Immigration would generally be permitted to anyone who desires it, but reasonable regulations like passport checks and limited access to public services and privileges could be enacted.
There are two ways to rationalize a Neoliberal immigration policy. The first is the fundamental human right to free movement. Since national borders are technically imaginary, and since there is no justification for condemning an individual to stay put in the place he was born, no authority has the authority to keep someone from traveling from place to place or interacting and trading with other people.
The second is economic growth. The more freely people are allowed to bring their services to new markets, the more access all people have to new services. The more hands there are to make widgets, the more widgets get made. The more brains there are to solve problems, the more problems get solved. All of this causes supply to increase and price to fall. The rich get richer, and poor get richer too.
For a Neoliberal immigration policy to work, public services would likely have to be limited. If a nation’s citizens are forced to pay taxes to support schools, healthcare, social security, and other welfare programs, it would be unfair for new citizens to suddenly gain access without paying their fair share first. Since generous and expansive welfare programs are difficult to regulate, keeping them small and local would probably be the best way to ensure that they are not abused. In other words, the smaller the state’s presence in the economy, the more liberal a Neoliberal immigration policy can be.
An Anti-Capitalist immigration policy would have altruistic ends, but restrictive means. The idea would be that rich, developed nations should not recruit the best and brightest from poor and developing nations because the latter nations need them more.
If the best doctors and engineers are coaxed out of the sickest and least industrialized nations, those nations will lack the human capital to progress. At the same time, nations that already have a wealth of resources, both material and intellectual, would nab even more while impoverished nations are left unable to compete.
The problem an Anti-Capitalist immigration policy would address is often referred to as the brain drain, and there is evidence that it’s real. However, this policy would strictly limit free movement and would require the same central planning as a Globalist policy, albeit in a different way.
A Globalist immigration policy would generally ignore the will of nations and instead find ways to manage populations through mandates and incentives from a centralized authority. A community of nations would decide for individual nations how many migrants and refugees they must admit and what sanctions they would face for disobeying.
The Globalist authority would determine immigration requirements based on economic needs and ability to provide for new arrivals. If a population were failing to reproduce itself, the Global authority would send in migrants to maintain the infrastructure. Aging populations that work less and rely on social services more would be flooded with young migrants to take jobs and pay taxes.
It would also demand that nations guarantee a minimum standard of living for each immigrant and accommodate their cultural or religious preferences.
Globalist immigration would take economic central planning and apply it to living, breathing human beings.