Today at Students for Liberty 2013 I did a double-header debate against the Center for Immigration Studies’ Jan Ting.  The format gave each of us a two minute (!) opening statement for each topic.   Here’s my opening statement for Topic #1: Immigration.

Open Borders in 4 Easy Steps

  1. Immigration laws deny very basic human rights: The right to accept a job offer from a willing employer and the right to rent an apartment from a willing landlord.  The predictable result for people born on the wrong side of the border is severe poverty and worse.  This creates a strong moral presumption against immigration restrictions.
  2. To overcome this presumption, you’d have to show that free immigration has consequences so awful that they clearly overshadow the horrible consequences of restriction.  And you’d have to show that there isn’t any cheaper, more humane way to avert these consequences.
  3. The best social science finds that the alleged downsides of immigration are greatly overstated at best, and often the opposite of the truth.  For starters: Immigrants make Americans and the world richer, and they pay about as much in taxes as they use in benefits.
  4. Even in worst-case scenarios, there are cheaper, more humane remedies.  If immigrants are really a fiscal burden, you don’t have to prevent immigration.  Just make them ineligible for benefits.  If that seems cruel, it’s far less cruel than forcing them to live in Haiti.