The concept of “private property” applies both to individuals and groups. Effectively the American people “own” the United States of America. The government of the United States of America exists to the serve the American people as the owners of the territory of the United States of America. The entire USA is our “property” in the collective sense of ownership. Just as the stockholders of a corporation are its legal owners under the law. There may be a difference of opinion as to how these concepts are worded, but effectively the American people should be seen as the property owners of the portion of North America where the nation of the United States of America exists. We also own other portions of the world, both as states and territory, but in the sense that as American citizens, we are the collective owners joined together in common ownership. This in any case, is how I see it. Granted, usually we consider such things as the national parks as belonging to the entire country, but still if we the people do elect governments to serve us, then it would appear that we must be the owners in common. That the country belongs to us! We call ourselves “Americans”, and we together effectively “own” the United States of America just as the stockholders of a corporation are the legal owners of that corporation.
Why is this something important? The basis of a free society is the right to own property. To use that property as we see fit as long as we do not harm others in the doing so. Part of the right to property is the legal authority to decide who we will allow on our property. I’m sure all of us reading this have seen signs stating “Private Property, Keep Out”. The owner of the property has decided as the rightful owner of the property that he or she does not want anyone entering his or her property without permission. This is also why we put up fences, gates, put locks on our doors and so forth. We have the legal right under the law to decide who we will allow on our property. Nor can the property be taken away from us except under certain legal aspects of the law. If the government ever desires to take our property for public use, it is required under the Constitution to pay us fair compensation for our property. Granted, sometimes there is an issue as to what is “fair compensation”, but that is a matter that has to be determined by a court of law. Every bit of territory in the United States of America is “owned”, either by private individuals or by the American people under a concept of public ownership where we are the collective owners of the property in question. There is no longer part of the USA where there is no “ownership”.
If indeed we are the collective owners of the territory called the United States of America, then as property owners we have the right to decide who we will welcome on to our “property” and those that we do not want coming on to our property. This is why we have national borders. Why people are required to obtain “permission” in the form of a passport or visa in order to come here legally. Those who come here without gaining our permission are in fact trespassers. They are not here legally, but illegally. And as property owners, we have the legal right to tell them to leave, get off our property! As a matter of fact, every nation on Earth has laws regarding who will be legally admitted and who won’t be admitted. I know of no country where you can just enter that country legally without first obtaining permission to do so. The fact that millions of people have entered the United States of America illegally does not mean that they have any legal right to be here. Any more than you can enter someone’s home without permission. The fact that our government allows people to trespass on our land does not grant these people the right to trespass. No doubt people do trespass on private property and in many cases manage to do so without being caught by the owner doesn’t mean that what they are doing isn’t “wrong”. A criminal act is a criminal act regardless of if the criminal gets away doing it. The same thing applies to those who enter the USA without permission. They may “get away” with it, but that does not mean that they were acting within the law just because the police or other law enforcement agents didn’t happen to catch them. We do have laws regarding such things, and until these laws are changed by the American people, illegally entering the USA is still a crime. We may well decide to allow people who entered illegally to stay here, but that doesn’t change the fact that those who entered illegally broke the law by doing so. The fact that we lacked the ability to prevent illegal entry doesn’t make such entry legal. Any more than breaking the law and getting away with it makes the action in question “legal”. This may not be the opinion of many libertarians, but it does fit in with the concept of private property and public (collective) property. And the right of property owners to decide who they will allow on their property. In my opinion if we want people to immigrate here, we should be honest about it and require that those who immigrate here do so legally. Instead of leaving them in a legal “limbo” where they can be deported at any time… We are supposed to be a country of laws, and the laws should fit the reality of what we are!