The Trump campaign was in large part fueled by a populist outrage that the U.S. no longer enforces its immigration laws (and that among elites what we used to call illegal immigration is now seen an honorable way to come to the United States).
Undoubtedly we have a variety of opinions about immigration at IWF (as indeed there is famously a lot of latitude on the issue in the Republican Party), but I nevertheless want to call your attention to Victor Davis Hanson's important essay on open borders, published by City Journal. It's headlined "Imagine There's No Border" (a tribute to Beatle John Lennon's song).
Driving the growing populist outrage in Europe and North America is the ongoing elite push for a borderless world. Among elites, borderlessness has taken its place among the politically correct positions of our age—and, as with other such ideas, it has shaped the language we use. The descriptive term “illegal alien” has given way to the nebulous “unlawful immigrant.”
This, in turn, has given way to “undocumented immigrant,” “immigrant,” or the entirely neutral “migrant”—a noun that obscures whether the individual in question is entering or leaving. Such linguistic gymnastics are unfortunately necessary. Since an enforceable southern border no longer exists, there can be no immigration law to break in the first place.
Today’s open-borders agenda has its roots not only in economic factors—the need for low-wage workers who will do the work that native-born Americans or Europeans supposedly will not—but also in several decades of intellectual ferment, in which Western academics have created a trendy field of “borders discourse.”
What we might call post-borderism argues that boundaries even between distinct nations are mere artificial constructs, methods of marginalization designed by those in power, mostly to stigmatize and oppress the “other”—usually the poorer and less Western—who arbitrarily ended up on the wrong side of the divide. “Where borders are drawn, power is exercised,” as one European scholar put it.
This view assumes that where borders are not drawn, power is not exercised—as if a million Middle Eastern immigrants pouring into Germany do not wield considerable power by their sheer numbers and adroit manipulation of Western notions of victimization and grievance politics. Indeed, Western leftists seek political empowerment by encouraging the arrival of millions of impoverished migrants.
After a brief history of the ideology of borderlessness (from Plutarch to H.G. Wells), Hanson observes:
Yet the truth is that borders do not create difference—they reflect it. Elites’ continued attempts to erase borders are both futile and destructive.
People who advocate borderlessness generally do so for others, as Hanson notes:
Few escape petty hypocrisy when preaching the universal gospel of borderlessness. Barack Obama has caricatured the building of a wall on the U.S. southern border as nonsensical, as if borders are discriminatory and walls never work. Obama, remember, declared in his 2008 speech in Berlin that he wasn’t just an American but also a “citizen of the world.”
Yet the Secret Service is currently adding five feet to the White House fence—presumably on the retrograde logic that what is inside the White House grounds is different from what is outside and that the higher the fence goes (“higher and stronger,” the Secret Service promises), the more of a deterrent it will be to would-be trespassers. If Obama’s previous wall was six feet high, the proposed 11 feet should be even better.
The open borders advocates generally overlook two things–that people should be able to have some control over immigration and that the view from the elites' gated communities–and the White House is the ultimate gated community–is different from the views of the vast majority of the citizenry.
Furthermore, as my colleague Carrie Lukas has pointed out, people who care about the rights of women must take into consideration that many immigrants come from cultures in which women are devalued. Immigration without assimilation is a women's issue and we have every right to raise it.