I’d like to clear up some confusions about the nature of the open immigration policy advocated by The Objective Standard. Open immigration does not mean that government plays no role in immigration. Rather, it means that government plays a specific, highly delimited role—namely, that of protecting the rights of Americans, not violating the rights of those seeking to immigrate to America, and not permitting entry to those whom the U.S. government has reason to believe might pose a threat to the lives or rights of Americans. As Craig Biddle put it in “Immigration and Individual Rights”:
Open immigration means that anyone is free to enter and reside in America—providing that he enters at a designated checkpoint and passes an objective screening process, the purpose of which is to keep out criminals, enemies of America, and people with certain kinds of contagious diseases.
Open immigration does not mean that government must let in criminals and terrorists. And our alternatives obviously are not limited to letting in criminals and terrorists or keeping out rights-respecting people who want to move here. The alternative consistent with individual rights is a policy under which immigration is open to all and only rights-respecting, non-rights threatening individuals. (The matter of how the government should check a person’s background, and what standards of evidence should be used in this context, is a complex issue beyond the scope of this article; this is the job of intelligence experts, who have a great deal of training, information, and technology at their disposal. The matter of when, if ever, citizenship should be granted to immigrants is also a separate matter.)
In his article, Biddle deals with several fallacious arguments made against a rights-respecting immigration policy. But I’d like to address a specific claim that I’ve seen made in several places and that I think is worth further discussion: the claim that countries that allow “too much” immigration from predominantly Muslim countries thereby expose themselves to rights-violating behavior by those immigrants. . . .