Talk about confused…Is Immigration a Basic Human Right? My Opening Statement, by Bryan Caplan.
Before I get to the confused part, who is Bryan Caplan?
I'm Bryan Caplan, Professor of Economics at George Mason University and blogger for EconLog…. I am currently working on All Roads Lead to Open Borders, a non-fiction graphic novel on the philosophy and social science of immigration…
Now, what are “human rights”?
The United Nations has a “Universal” declaration; you can imagine the long list of positive rights in this document…which is pretty much assumed whenever one speaks of “human rights.” I will say, even the United Nations is not so bold as to declare immigration a “human right.” The clause on point, as follows:
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
Freedom of movement within the borders; freedom to emigrate. There is no freedom to immigrate. The only “open border” is to the resident, to return freely to his country.
Wikipedia offers a page on human rights, and from there a link to another page, Freedom of Movement:
Freedom of movement, mobility rights, or the right to travel is a human rights concept encompassing the right of individuals to travel from place to place within the territory of a country, and to leave the country and return to it.
Again, nothing about immigration. But there is more….
Some people and organizations advocate an extension of the freedom of movement to include a freedom of movement – or migration – between the countries as well as within the countries. This include Libertarian Party of the United States, the International Society for Individual Liberty, and … [wait for it…this is a doozy…]…
…economist Bryan Caplan.
Now, on to the confused part of Mr. Caplan’s piece:
If someone is peacefully living his life, he's innocent - whatever the government says. What does this have to do with immigration? Lots.
That is the “human rights” part. Now, how does he defend this human right? Using the example of illegal immigrants in San Diego, he offers:
What are the vast majority of them doing? Working for willing employers. Renting apartments from willing landlords. Buying stuff from willing merchants.
Every action involves a property right. So…why defend it as a property right, yet place it under the lefter-than-left term…human rights?
To justify an action based on human rights is a road paved to hell. The United Nations – an far-left entity that does not have the audacity to claim immigration as a human right – offers a long list of positive rights under the umbrella of human rights.
Would it surprise you to learn that I found Caplan’s piece at Jacob Hornberger’s blog?
Hornberger and Caplan: more “left” than the United Nations? Hornberger and Caplan: willing to rely on the road paved to hell that is “human rights”? Hornberger and Caplan: arguing “human rights” when property rights is the only appropriate argument for a libertarian?