There Is No Anarchy on the U.S.-Mexico Border

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Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal published an editorial about Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s so-far failed bid to become Speaker of the House,  which stated the following: “Voters elected a Republican House to … investigate the anarchy at the southern border.”


I thought “anarchy” meant the absence of government. Are the members of the Journal’s editorial board really claiming that there is no government along the U.S.-Mexico border?

If so, then they need to pay a visit to the borderlands. They will discover that not only is there no anarchy, the entire borderlands has long been an immigration police state, which is about as far from anarchy as one can get.

According to Wikipedia, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which is charged with enforcing the federal government’s system of immigration controls, is the largest federal law enforcement agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It has a workforce of over 58,000 employees.

If the Journal’s editorial board makes the trip to the border, I recommend visiting my hometown of Laredo, Texas. When I was growing up, they had only one international bridge spanning the Rio Grande, which is the border between Texas and Mexico. Today they have four bridges.

Why do they need so many bridges. Because the government stops and checks a certain percentage of vehicles that are entering the United States from Mexico. That process produced such enormous traffic jams that they needed a second bridge and then a third and then a fourth. The drivers of those vehicles will attest that there is no absence of government at those bridges. They make everyone stop and be subjected to questioning and possibly a search as well.

The Border Patrol is everywhere along the border. If you don’t see them at Dunkin’ or Denny’s, they are out on the highways stopping people and searching their vehicles. These are calling roving Border Patrol searches. 

But there are also fixed checkpoints, just like in communist countries. Anyone leaving Laredo and heading north on IH35, for example, comes upon a fixed checkpoint that makes a driver think he’s in Mexico and approaching the United States. At that checkpoint, they stop and search vehicles, just as if they were at the border itself. But this checkpoint is entirely inside the United States! Drivers who never enter Mexico are still required to stop and submit to being searched. The Supreme Court calls it the “functional equivalent” of the border, even though the border is about 40 miles back.

The Border Patrol also enters onto farms and ranches to search for illegal immigrants. No, they don’t have a search warrant. The Supreme Court says they don’t need one. The Court has held that the fact that a farm or ranch is on or near the border nullifies the Fourth Amendment, even though the amendment doesn’t say that.

Border Patrol agents also board Greyhound buses to check people’s papers. Again, no warrant is required. 

On the Mexican side of the border, there are encampments of multitudes of poor foreigners who are seeking refugee status in the United States. The reason they don’t enter the United States to seek such status is because U.S. government forces won’t let them. 

And then there is the ubiquitous Berlin Wall, which President Trump was building and which has been continued under the Biden administration. It is situated on land that the government stole from landowners through eminent-domain abuse. That ugly wall is a testament to the presence, not the absence, of government along the border.

What the Wall Street Journal meant was not “anarchy” but “chaos.” The editorial board is obviously familiar with the word “chaos” because it actually used it to describe the Kevin McCarthy debacle. Where the Journal goes wrong, however, is in thinking that anarchy and chaos are the same thing. They are not. 

There is no question but that there is chaos along the U.S.-Mexico border. It’s been there all my life. There is a simple reason for that chaos — socialism. Socialism always produces chaos. It also produces crises, just like the one that has existed on our southern border all of our lives. 

The reason for America’s perpetual immigration crisis is America’s system of immigration controls, which is a socialist system. It’s a socialist system because it is based on the socialist principle of central planning. Government officials honestly believe that they possess the requisite knowledge to plan, in a top-down, command-and-control manner, the movements of millions of people in a very complex market. The libertarian Nobel Prize-winning economist Friedrich Hayek called this misguided belief “the fatal conceit.”

Central planning produces what the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises called “planned chaos.” What better term to describe America’s never-ending, ongoing, perpetual immigration crisis along the border? Not “anarchy,” but rather “planned chaos.”

All my life, I’ve seen people like the WSJ editorial board get all bent out of shape because of the chaos and crisis along the border. Today, it just amuses me. If only they could see that it’s their immigration-control system that is the cause of the chaos and crisis they lament, maybe, just maybe, they could finally find a sense of inner peace in their lives. Instead, they live lives of permanent stress and anxiety, hoping obsessively that someone will finally come up with a “compressive immigration reform” that will make their socialist system function without producing chaos and crises. 

It will never happen. Socialism is an inherently defective paradigm. It is the bane of mankind. America’s immigration-control system is not broken, as the mainstream press often maintains. It is inherently defective. As a socialist system, it cannot be made to work, no matter what reform is adopted.

There is only one system that works. That system is economic liberty, free enterprise, free markets, freedom of travel, and freedom of association. That necessarily means completely open immigration, the system that the United States had for more than a hundred years. 

No more Border Patrol. No more checkpoints. No more warrantless searches. No more interference with the free movements of goods, people, and services across borders. In other words, the same type of system that exists domestically within the United States for people traveling across state borders. 

Genuinely open borders is also the only system that is consist with moral, ethical, and religious values. It is the only system that will bring an immediate end to the death and suffering that socialism produces. It’s the only system that will bring an end to America’s decades-old immigration crisis and chaos along our Southern border. 

Finally, before the Wall Street Journal editorial board pays a visit to the border, I would recommend that all of its members read the book Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders by Jason Riley, who, interestingly enough, is a member of the Journal’s editorial board.

The post There Is No Anarchy on the U.S.-Mexico Border appeared first on The Future of Freedom Foundation.

* This article was originally published here


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