Local Opposition to the Central State’s Border Fence

Is there any remaining question that the more the federal government cracks down on illegal immigration, the more power for Washington, the less voice for localities, the less liberty for the American people?

The AP reports: “Leaders in a small Texas border city felt blindsided Wednesday after learning that a judge had ordered public land turned over temporarily to the federal government as it works on a border fence.

“U.S. District Judge Alia Moses Ludlum ordered the city of Eagle Pass to ‘surrender’ the 233 acres of city-owned land by Tuesday. The Justice Department had sued for access to the land on Monday. Ludlum’s ruling came the same day, before the city could muster a challenge.”

And good for the “Texas Border Coalition, a group of border mayors, city officials and business leaders who oppose Homeland Security’s border fence plans and have complained that they haven’t had enough input on the effects of the fence on their communities.”

When I was about 14, I used to want the federal government to do something about mass illegal immigration. Then I realized that, as with everything else, more power in Washington couldn’t possibly be the answer. Government border guards and controls cannot help but violate private property rights and freedom of association. Furthermore, thinking that DC can and should be trusted to control that much border just strikes me as folly, even on practical grounds. And certainly, a wall that can actually keep people out can be used to keep people in—not that we have to worry about our benign government, the only one in the world to tax its citizens years after they move away, ever doing that.

Yes, mass immigration presents problems in places in America. Americans have their property trespassed upon. In small communities, it can be an undue burden on civil infrastructure. It can lead to very real cultural unrest. Some libertarians ignore these problems (as they ignore crises in health care and the Fed-distorted economy). But they can be very real, as even many liberals and the socialists in Western Europe will agree.

However, the only possible answer, in both practical and libertarian terms, is decentralism, private property rights and reductions in government power—as always. Mainly, slash the welfare state and federal impositions on local service providers, as Ron Paul proposes. The statist alternatives will fail and violate the rights of peaceful people to associate in the process. People have a right to move. Yes, this doesn’t include a right to move into someone else’s house. Until all property is private, however, I simply cannot trust the federal government with the problem of determining who should be let in and who should not. Indeed, if anyone, out of virtue of de facto trespass, has no right to be here, it is the federal immigration officials, whose entire enterprise is funded through stolen money and whose job involves routine acts of trespass onto private land and into private affairs.

(Thanks to Eric Garris for the link.)

Anthony Gregory is a former Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and author of the Independent books American Surveillance and The Power of Habeas Corpus in America.
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