All wars are not created equal

The Mises Institute erroneously conflates the War on Drugs with a hypothetical War on Immigration:

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. Even if immigrants bring with them the possibility of tyranny, I think stopping them would require that we embrace even greater tyranny.

I count no less than four errors in this post. Immigration and open borders is one of the few areas where I part company from the Misean approach. First, it is an observable fact that immigrants from less free countries lead to the imposition of policies that encroach on liberty. For two hundred years, immigrants have regularly favored bigger government and more government intervention in the economy.

Second, the cost of proper border control is far less expensive than the cost of providing free government services to tens of millions of immigrants. Third, as the success of Operation Wetback and the long period of restricted immigration proves, it is not necessary to institute a police state in order to methodically return immigrants to their homes in a civilized manner. Indeed, American society was far more free prior to the opening of its borders.

Fourth and finally, it is eminently stupid to assume that immigrants will be transformed to value American ideals, as the course of history demonstrates that immigrants instead tend to transform the nations to which they migrate, usually not for the better. Indeed, it is not an accident that the architect of the 1986 Immigration Act that led to the present problems was engineered by a fourth-generation Irish immigrant named Kennedy,