Libertarians often believe in what is de facto open borders. But let’s look at the consequences.
Yes, we are a nation of immigrants, but our current situation is different than it was in the past. The country is suffering from immigration indigestion. The existing laws of the United States now exclude certain classes of immigrants who, we can all understand, would be most undesirable additions to our population. These exclusions have been enforced, and the results have been beneficial; but the excluded classes are extremely limited and do not by any means cover all or even any considerable part of the immigrants whose presence here is undesirable or injurious, nor do they have any adequate effect in properly reducing the great body of immigration to this country. There can be no doubt that there is a very significant and heartfelt desire on the part of the American people to restrict further, and much more extensively than has yet been done, immigration to the United States.
I needn’t mention the economic side of the general policy of restricting immigration. In this direction the argument is unanswerable. If we have any regard for the welfare, the wages, or the standard of life of American workers, we absolutely must restrict immigration. There is no danger to American workers from the entry of skilled or trained and educated immigrants with an established occupation or pursuit, for immigrants of this class will never seek to lower the American standard of life and wages. On the contrary, they desire the same standard for themselves. But there is an appalling danger to the American wage earner from the flood of low, unskilled, ignorant, immigrant labor which has poured into the country for some years and which not only takes lower wages, but accepts a standard of life and living so low that Americans cannot compete with it. In essence, the current wave of immigrants is merely cheap competition for American workers, and a heavier drain on the welfare system. It has been well documented that reliance on foreign workers in low-wage, low-skill occupations, such as farm work, creates disincentives for employers to improve pay and working conditions for American workers. When employers fail to recruit domestically or to pay wages that meet industry-wide standards, the resulting dependence — even on professionals — may adversely affect both U.S. workers in that occupation and U.S. companies that adhere to appropriate labor standards.
New arrivals should be limited to our capacity to absorb them into the ranks of good citizenship. America must be kept American. For this purpose, it is necessary to continue a policy of restricted immigration. It would be well to make such immigration of a selective nature with some inspection at the source, and based either on a prior census or upon the record of naturalization. Either method would insure the admission of those with the largest capacity and best intention of becoming citizens.
To sum up, we have been called the melting pot of the world. We have experienced a situation where it looks as though we have allowed influences to enter our borders that are about to melt the pot in place of us being the melting pot. There has come about a general realization of the fact that the immigrants who have been coming to us in recent years are wholly dissimilar to native-born Americans; that they are unfamiliar and perhaps hostile to self-government, something that has taken us many centuries to acquire. America is also beginning also to feel the pain from the internal ‘foreign colonies’- those groups of aliens, either in city slums or in country districts, who speak a foreign language and live a foreign life, and who want neither to learn our English nor to share our common life. Instead, let’s keep what we have, protect and preserve what we have, make what we have the realization of the dream of those who wrote the Constitution.
(yes, this is a pastiche of contemporary comments from politicians in the early 20th century with some archaisms updated. They argued that Italians, Slavs, Asians, and Jews were qualitatively different than previous immigrants. Thus did half my family perish in Hitler’s concentration camps.)