The Right is Wrong on Immigration

There are many things I like about the conservative movement.  The conservative Heritage Foundation, for example, includes free enterprise, limited government, and individual freedom in its statement of guiding principles.  These are principles are central to my own moral vision.  On many political issues I find myself agreeing with at least the rhetoric of conservatives and even sometimes the proposals of the main conservative political party – the Republican Party.

But on the political issue I care most about, prevailing conservative opinion seems to me so audaciously, breathtakingly wrong that I doubt that I really have principles in common with conservatives.  Or that c­onservatives have any real principles.

That issue is immigration.  In my hubris, I continue to hope that most conservatives simply haven’t thought the issue through.  Most, though not quite all, of their rhetoric, I believe, bears this out.  I wanted to take the opportunity to lay out in moderate detail why I think the arguments against open immigration are either badly wrong or wrongly bad – or both.  I will be posting a new section of my argument on this blog every day for the next week and a half or so.  It may take a while before I get to your favorite argument for walling foreigners off from America, but if I neglect it in this series altogether then please let me know.  If the arguments I do make are weak, sound off in the comments!  The sections of my argument, subject to possible revision, will be as follows:

* The Moral Obviousness of Open Immigration

* The Rule of Law

* National Security

* The Utilitarian Argument

* The Prudential Argument

* The Externalities of Immigration

* Fairness

* The Bad Analogy

* The Psychology of Nativism

* Ideological Cancer

* Systemic Forces

* Credit Where it is Due

* Conclusion: What Should be done?

* Addendum: What About Citizenship?


  • Greg

    I’ve actually thought of a fairly strong argument–based on self-interest–against low-skilled immigration. I’m not 100% convinced by it, but I think it would be a very reasonable position for someone to take. I guess I can wait and see if you refute it in one or more of your planned posts.

  • wallaceforman

    You’ll probably want to throw it out there when I post about “the utilitarian argument”. I don’t refute the argument that you are probably thinking about, but it is worth discussing in comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.