Is there a right to immigrate? Or to emigrate? To leave one country and then enter another? Before we get into the issue, let me now propose a question perhaps most libertarians haven’t considered. Is a country the private property of the people who live there? Just as a land owner has the legal right to exclude people he or she does not want on his or her property. Is there such a thing as “collective ownership” of property? It would appear that there is, in that the stockholders of a corporation can be considered to be the collective legal owners of the corporation. Obviously a group of people could get together, pool their economic resources and purchase real estate through a corporation. So there does seem to be a legal basis for the concept of collective ownership of an area of land. Actually looking back in history, human groups did lay claim to possession of an area of land. Land that they were willing to defend if necessary by force from others.
Going by this, it would appear that the collective owners of the land could legally prevent others from trespassing on their land without permission. That it would be necessary to obtain permission to enter or cross the land under collective ownership. The fact that the land is under collective ownership does not change the fact that it is indeed “private property”. The laws regarding private property still apply regardless of the number of owners. Most likely the individual owners would hire someone to supervise things and hire security forces if necessary to protect their private property. The size of the property itself has no legal bearing upon whether or not it is indeed private property, not unowned property that anyone may do with as they see fit. If someone wishes to enter private property, they have to obtain permission to do so or they are considered a trespasser and as a general rule, can be prosecuted in a court of law for having done so.
Next, I ask, what is a country? A country is an area of land which is inhabited (as a general rule) by people who could be considered the collective owners of that land. If we look back in history, we will see that the people of the past did consider the land upon which lived as being “theirs”. The Greeks of the City State of Athens did consider their land as “theirs”. Land which they would defend against other people not of their city. The same appears to be true of other historical people. There was a concept of land ownership that applied to the collective people who lived there on that land. Jared Diamond in his explorations of the hunter/gathering people of New Guinea found that it was necessary to ask permission of the various tribal groups that occupied portions of the land in the highlands of New Guinea. So the concept of land as the property of a group/tribe has existed for probably tens of thousands of years. Perhaps not in the legal sense we use today, but the concept of collective ownership of land dates back a long ways…
What this means here is that the American people do have collective ownership of the area of land within the borders of the United States of America. In effect all land within the borders of the USA is in fact “owned” by the American people in the collective sense.
Which raises the next question: “Who should we allow in?” It becomes rather obvious when you think about it that we don’t need more “unskilled labor” performed by the uneducated. We have quite a sufficient number of American citizens who already fall into this category. Instead, we want more people who will be “assets” to this country. You will note if you have investigated this that other developed countries have minimum educational requirements in order to immigrate to their country and remain there as a working resident. The type of uneducated unskilled labor type that comes here would not be acceptable anywhere else. True, some of these countries do allow in people who don’t qualify educationally, but who come in under “refugee status”. You will also note that many of these (generally today Muslims) create a lot of trouble for their host country and its own citizens. Certainly we wouldn’t want this type of immigrant here!
So how do we separate those who will make desirable citizens from those who do not? One way is to establish a “grade” system where higher education and skills give you a higher status among those who are attempting to immigrate here legally. These are of course the sort of people that we want as citizens. People who will be “assets” to us. So someone who is a college graduate in a field of study that is needed and useful should be allowed in well ahead of someone who does not have very much to offer as a possible citizen of the United States of America.
Contrary to the statements of the Libertarian Party, there is no right to immigrate to another country if that country doesn’t want you. A country has the right to exclude those who are more likely to end up a “liability” or worse just as a home owner has the right to exclude those people who might do harm or create problems. And while there is no doubt a right to emigrate from a country, there is no corresponding right to immigrate to the country of your choice. Other countries have the right to exclude you if they feel that you will not be an asset to your new country, but much more likely just a “liability”. You may disagree with this, but consider this: “Would you allow just anyone into your home?” The same thing applies to immigrants. They have to be people useful to the US!