Uniting Immigration and Foreign Policy


February 15, 2016 by Anders Ingemarson

As the presidential primaries get underway, Republican candidates are competing for the title of “Mr. Anti-Immigration” (as of writing this Carly Fiorina had dropped out of the race so only Misters are left). It may be Pollyannaish to think that rationality will enter the race once we’re past the “knock-out rounds” but as rational optimists we’re holding out hope.

Here at SEPARATE! we are unabashed proponents of free immigration. We hold that, in principle, the government has no right to put any more restrictions on the free movement of people in and out of the country than it has on the free movement of goods and services—with a couple of exceptions.

As we’ve previously argued limiting immigration is immoral because it violates a person’s individual rights which know no borders. Hence our position that total separation of state and immigration is an essential part of total separation of state and the economy. In a sense the only proper immigration policy is no immigration policy—with a couple of exceptions. (This doesn’t mean that we should open the borders over night; it has taken time to reach the current dismal state, so we have to allow a gradual adjustment back to normal).

What are the main exceptions to free immigration? Threats of infectious disease and threats of war. Protecting inhabitants of a country from an imminent threat of serious infectious disease entering the country, or from enemy threats in times of war, are valid causes for temporary restrictions on the movement of people until the threat has been dealt with.

Of the two, the threat of war is normally more serious. However, while for instance the threat of Ebola in 2014 was met with reasonably swift action temporarily limiting entrance into the United States from certain West African countries, rational immigration restrictions tied to enemy threats appear sorely missing.

In order to establish rational immigration restrictions in times of enemy threats one has to first identify the enemy. The U.S.’s main problem is the refusal by administration after administration to acknowledge that America is and has been at war with fundamentalist radical Islam since at least the start of the Iran hostage crisis in 1979.

The left has shied away from naming the enemy for fear of being labeled culturally insensitive and politically incorrect; the right for fear of identifying an enemy in religious terms. On both sides, evasion has been substituted for long range, principled foreign policy action in the rational self-interest of individual Americans. Instead of identifying and fighting the true enemy—Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia, the main sponsors of fundamentalist radical Islam—we have engaged in endless and pointless diplomacy, taken a beating in attack after attack on American targets at home and abroad, and started three costly peripheral wars—Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq—that have done little to weaken or crush the enemy.

Identifying the true enemy would have allowed us to put in place rational restrictions on immigration of citizens from not only Iran and Saudi Arabia, but from other countries that are sympathetic to fundamentalist radical Islam. Fundamentalist radical Islam has de facto declared war on America; it has violated and is threatening to further violate the individual rights of Americans. This means that citizens of countries that support or sympathize with the cause have forfeited their individual rights to immigrate to the United States. It is analogous to a criminal here at home forfeiting his individual rights while being incarcerated because of violating the rights of others through murder, theft, fraud, or other crimes.

This doesn’t mean that all citizens of countries we’re at war with should be denied entrance to the U.S. Many behind enemy lines are sympathetic to the U.S. It may be of benefit to the war effort to let them selectively immigrate under rigorous controls, for instance to cause the enemy serious brain-drain. Think refugee scientists and business men who fled Nazi Germany with their families.

Americans are right to be concerned about unprincipled, seemingly arbitrary governmental decisions to allow immigration from what de facto is enemy territory. A rational foreign policy that properly identified the enemy and dealt with him swiftly and decisively on his own turf, combined with a rational immigration policy severely restricting immigration from enemy lands, would be an important step towards changing the current anti-immigration climate.

2 thoughts on “Uniting Immigration and Foreign Policy

  1. Douglass Holmes says:

    Great post. I would add that we should not take in violent criminals. Still, a policy that made it easy for people to enter our country and work here would be consistent with Thomas Jefferson’s idea that governments are establish to protect our rights, not just the rights of people lucky enough to be born on the correct side of a border.


    • Thanks, Douglass. You are absolutely correct about violent criminals. I think I would further qualify it as “objectively violent criminals” as there may potentially be cases where a country classifies an act as violent which doesn’t meet objective standards. In such cases the act in question wouldn’t be a cause for refusing the person to enter the country.


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