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Home | Blog | Would a War on Immigrants Turn Out Like the Wars on Drugs and Terror?

Would a War on Immigrants Turn Out Like the Wars on Drugs and Terror?


Probably. Here’s Ryan McMaken, from the LewRockwell.com Blog:

We must have a police state in this country or immigrants will come here and support the creation of a police state.

This raises what I think is a very important question. A lot of people oppose the war on drugs because of the horrific consequences or agree that we should abolish the TSA because of the predictable consequences for liberty. Matt Zwolinski, for example, details some of the encroachments on liberty that have emerged as a consequence of the drug war.

One of the arguments people make against immigration is that immigrants from less-free countries will lead to the adoption of policies that encroach on liberty in the US. I doubt that the immigrants in the US want to recreate the dysfunctional institutions that encouraged them to leave their homelands in the first place, but I also think the consequences of the wars on drugs and terror are instructive. There’s no free lunch, and there’s also no free border fence, either financially or institutionally. I also doubt very much that we could deport even a fraction of the undocumented workers who are already in the US or do “secure our borders” to the nativists’ satisfaction without even more of the kinds of encroachments on liberty that we have endured as a result of the wars on drugs and terror.

I think the case for immigration is pretty solid on its own practical and philosophical merits (Lant Pritchett’s Let Their People Comedownloadable for $0–offers a solid defense). Even if immigrants bring with them the possibility of tyranny, I think stopping them would require that we embrace even greater tyranny.

Art Carden is assistant professor of economics, Brock School of Business, Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama.

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