The Immigration Debate
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The Immigration Debate
by The Editors | April 17, 2017
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The Immigration Debate

by The Editors | April 17, 2017

ARI’s viewpoint on immigration derives from our advocacy of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of reason, rational egoism and laissez-faire capitalism. In a free society, the government’s proper function is strictly limited to the protection of individual rights. That principle entails not only a policy of genuine free trade, but also “open immigration.”  

What is “open immigration”? What kind of government involvement in immigration is necessary to protect the rights of Americans? And what does this approach mean in today’s political context? Today’s America is not a laissez-faire capitalist society, but a “mixed economy” — a precarious combination of government interventions and pockets of freedom — with massive welfare and entitlements programs. What about the fears that immigrants are “taking our jobs”? Impacting our culture and politics? What about crime? And what about the jihadist threat?  

These are among the questions Yaron Brook and Onkar Ghate cover in a wide-ranging discussion of ARI’s viewpoint on immigration and its application to today’s heated debate. They lay out what “open immigration” actually looks like and then consider the current state of America’s immigration policy, the value of immigration in a free society, the morality of illegal immigration, the issue of ideological screening, how America’s disastrous Middle East policy relates to the jihadist menace, and what to do about it

Brook and Ghate also step back to comment on the nature of today’s immigration debate itself. Noting that the debate is awash in collectivist premises and shoddy arguments, they point out, for example, how certain advocates in the debate present statistics tendentiously to serve a political agenda, rather than evaluating the data objectively and seeking the truth. Additionally, Brook and Ghate comment on disagreements over immigration among Objectivists.

Following up on that extensive discussion, which was recorded in October 2015, in a recent interview Yaron Brook tackled new aspects of the immigration debate, including the Trump administration’s immigration ban on several Muslim-majority countries, the refugee crisis and the proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

 

* * *

In this brief Q&A exchange from 1973, Ayn Rand, herself an immigrant from the USSR, responds to this question: “What is your attitude toward immigration? Doesn’t open immigration have a negative effect on a country’s standard of living?”

* * *

Below are additional resources that indicate ARI’s approach to immigration and apply it to some current issues.

This brief talk indicates how the distinctively American principle of individual rights should guide a proper government’s domestic and immigration policy:

Speaking at the Ayn Rand Student Conference in 2016 Yaron Brook relates immigration policy to the philosophic issue of free will, and notes how determinism — a view negating free will — informs the outlook of some opponents of immigration:

On his radio show, Yaron Brook has discussed various aspects of the immigration debate. Here he comments on President Trump’s February 2017 ban on immigration from certain Muslim-majority countries:

In these podcast clips, Brook offers a perspective on the situation in Europe, the refugee crisis, the moral ideas shaping the refugee policy of some European nations, and the longstanding failure of Western countries to address the jihadist menace:

 

About The Author

The Editors

The editors are Elan Journo, director of policy research; Steve Simpson, director of legal studies; and Carl Svanberg, editorial assistant.