High Walls and Wide Open Gates

Immigrant at the Mexico/US Border

Within the construct of "Open Borders", Libertarians hold a variety of positions. My personal interpretation includes high walls and wide open gates (don't take the walls literally). I believe we should control our borders for legitimate dangers. I also believe we should welcome all well-intentioned people.

On my recent travels to Hong Kong, I went through various gates to get to my destination. These included baggage checks, finger prints, and forehead temperature check to ensure I wasn't importing a nasty superbug from Macau to Lantau. But these inspections were not intended to keep me out. Rather, they were inspections to secure the safety of the citizens of Hong Kong against terrorists and viruses (a legitimate duty of governments).

Overall, Hong Kong and Macau want to maximize visitors, and they certainly welcomed me. They see us as valuable contributors to their economies. They want to share their culture and enrich our lives with their traditions, art, food, and friendships. For tourists, they have high walls and wide open gates.


I believe the United States should require all visitors and migrants to go through a control gate. The gates should be designed to sniff out anybody or anything that would threaten the lives of our citizens (contagious disease, international terrorist cells, invasive crop parasites, etc.), but the process should be simplified and there should be no caps on who comes and how long they stay.

Our walls should merely be means to ensure that people enter through our welcoming gates. Our design should not be to restrict migration, keep out a certain religion or culture, or protect American workers and businesses from honest competition. Our gates should be the widest and most welcoming in the world. They should celebrate the fact that the United States has succeeded because she has welcomed the migrant, the refugee, and the ambitious young capitalist.


Our gates should be minimal check points with the larger goal of facilitating cultural and economic exchange.

The recent Central American migrant caravan has illuminated a virulent strain of selfishness and xenophobia in some Americans. Here, we had the opportunity to meet the caravan with case workers to ferret out any bad guys and give sanctuary to those who come with good intentions. Instead, we deployed our Army. We missed an opportunity to work with Mexico, and allow our network of charitable organizations to help the migrants process through our arcane immigration process and assimilate into our communities. We missed the opportunity to show the world that America can be both great and good.

Instead, we showed ourselves fearful, selfish, and deaf to the cries of those who suffer. We could have given cautious charity. Instead, we delivered blunt force.

Frankly, the migrants attacked our walls because they knew they were not welcome at our gates. They are desperate for the freedoms and securities that you and I enjoy simply because of the happy accident of our birthplace. But some of us didn't want to share. Thus, impoverished migrants find no other solution than to sneak into our nation and seek anonymity in a cultural and economic underground.

Yes, I lock my doors at night. I am armed and safe inside. But I will not turn away a neighbor in need. If a stranger shows up at my doorstep, I greet him with a smile, a hand shake, and a welcome into my house. The United States should do the same.