To answer this question, it is necessary to unpack these terms. Government is the group of individuals who claim to have a monopoly on the initiation of force, i.e. aggression, which they use to assert the authority to control the individuals living within an arbitrary geographical area, i.e. jurisdiction. Control is the power to influence or direct behaviour, in this context the power comes from the threat, or use, of the initiation of force. Immigration is the act of an individual moving to a geographical area that is foreign to the geographical area of their birth. Individual sovereignty is the concept encompassing self–ownership and all the rights that logically follow. A violation in this context is the failure to respect these rights.
As the basis of all rights is self–ownership, it is therefore necessary to understand what self–ownership entails. Essentially, the self exists as consciousness. That consciousness inhabits a body, and through that habitation the self has possession, use, and control over it, constituting an exclusive claim of ownership. Using one’s senses they can observe that other individuals exist, each with exclusive claims over their own bodies. In the course of interaction with other individuals, one comes to the realisation that they do not want their self–ownership to be violated. Through one’s actions they can independently verify that other individuals do not want their self–ownership violated, either via communication or by minimally violating their self–ownership and observing their response. Though this observation it becomes apparent that the violation of self–ownership through aggression necessarily invokes acts of self–defence, which poses a risk of violating the aggressor’s self–ownership, thereby incentivising non–aggression in the first instance. The accumulation of this evidence establishes the universality of self–ownership and the formation of the non-aggression principle. As such, whenever aggression does occur, it necessitates a greater claim of ownership by the aggressor than the aggressed to property in their person. All crimes have their basis in slavery, in part or in whole.
From self–ownership come rights which have their basis in either the property of the self, such as the freedom to express oneself or associate with other individuals, or in property external to the self. As an individual own’s oneself, they also own their actions and the consequences of those actions. Property external to the self is formed when one mixes their labour, i.e. their action, with unowned resources to create something new, i.e. the consequence of their action. Property can also be acquired through exchange with other individuals, with each party of the trade relinquishing ownership of something in exchange for obtaining ownership of something else. From this comes the right not only to own property, but the freedom to trade it as well.
Government control of immigration means that a group of individuals is threatening or using force against another group of individuals to keep them confined to an arbitrary geographical area, and it is this aggression that is a violation of individual sovereignty, but not just of the immigrant, as they are the obvious victim of government aggression. Less obvious is the violation of rights that occurs to individuals under the jurisdiction of that government. When immigration is controlled by government, these individuals no longer have the freedom to associate with immigrants, nor do they have the freedom to trade. Worse still, the government makes an unsubstantiated claim to private property when it controls who can and cannot enter or leave said property, in this case immigrants. The power to decide who can and cannot enter property belongs to the individual who owns it, as a part of their life went into the creation or acquisition of the property. When property external to the self is violated, a part of the property of the self is also violated, so when government makes claims to own private property, they make claims to own the individual as well, which is slavery even if only in part. When government agents or apologists attempt to justify it with whatever rhetoric is popular, they simultaneously justify assault, rape, and murder, for such crimes have their basis in criminals making the claim that they own a part or whole of another individual’s life.
Undeniably, government control of immigration is a violation of individual sovereignty. That said, can immigration be controlled without violating individual sovereignty? Since regulated and closed borders are off the table, one might think that the only option is open borders. This is only partially correct. Open borders coupled with a government welfare system is an option that is not acceptable, as the welfare system itself is a violation of individual sovereignty, funded as it is by taxation, the nonconsensual taking of property, i.e. theft. Immigrants would not only be benefactors of the violation, ever increasing numbers of immigrants entering the system would only expand the amount of violations necessary to keep it going. Privatising the government welfare system would go part of the way to solving the problem,1 however there is still the issue of public property. Open borders coupled with public property is another option that is not acceptable, as the same problem arises here as well, with taxation funding the maintenance of public property and immigrants benefiting from it, albeit many of them would also have taxes extracted from them if they were producing or consuming value on the market, which only compounds the problem. Privatising public property would go the rest of the way to solving the problem.2
If all property is private, open borders on their own would mean immigrants are free to enter and exit any geographical area they wish provided they have permission from the property owner, and the power to decide who is welcome and who is a trespasser is in the hands of the property owner where it belongs. This arrangement ensures that the rights of both immigrant and property owner are respected, and if trespassing does occur, whether the violation was committed by an immigrant or a native, they would be treated the same. Ultimately, immigration would be controlled by the individuals who are affected the most by it, with the rules determined voluntarily on the market rather than imposed by government.
- Privatising the government welfare system would involve separating out each welfare function into its own private entity and be funded by either charitable donations or through voluntary subscriptions.3 With government out of the business of welfare provision, the market that once existed before they entered it would reappear to fill any gaps left by their exit. As with other reforms done in the past, this would need to be a package deal in order to minimise any suffering during the transition.
- Privatising public property would involve creating new private entities to own the property, which would in turn be owned by shareholders made up of individuals who previously funded the property through taxation. As an example, with the privatisation of roads, the shareholders might be the property owners adjacent to the road itself, with funding for maintenance coming from electronic tolls on main thoroughfares.3
- Voluntary payment is the means of funding something that does not violate individual sovereignty.
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