If the Tea Parties and conservative activists want to be serious about opposing big government, they need to abandon their love of border police, immigration controls and statist nationalism. The hysterical response to those on the left comparing the Arizona law to Nazism reminds me of the equally hysterical response to those on the right comparing Obama to Hitler. We are never to compare America’s big-government policies to those of the Nazis, unless we ourselves don’t like those policies. That seems to be the standard on both left and right.

The borders cannot be sealed. There is just far too much a stretch of land to try to control. A fence won’t work. People can easily circumvent walls. Any attempt to truly “crack down” on immigration would devastate America. The cost in civil and economic liberties, and the diminution of the freedom of association, are much too severe to treat cavalierly. How is the U.S. government going to “stop” illegal immigration, when it cannot do anything else right? Do we want to see more than 10 million people rounded up and deported? If not, what are we talking about exactly, and if so, how can this possibly be done without destroying the rest of America’s freedom? And where does the Constitution even authorize the federal government to control immigration? Naturalization is the prerogative of Congress; immigration is not.

Those who favor small government and free enterprise should oppose the overbearing state necessary to control immigration. Yes, commentators are right that other nations control immigration, but why should America be more like other nations? If Western Europe is a bad model for economic policy, why should our border policy mimic theirs?

Republicans are split on the Arizona law, but the underlying factor appears to be politics, not principle. This was not always the case. Ronald Reagan implemented the last major immigration amnesty, and if he’s good enough for today’s Republican Party to look upon with nostalgia (as opposed to the Bushes who followed him), why do today’s conservatives ignore one of Reagan’s most sensible policy prescriptions, in the area of immigration?

For more on immigration, see Jonathan Bean’s Race and Liberty in America and the Institute’s immigration archives.

cross-posted from Independent.org

Anthony Gregory

The 10th Amendment

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”



Featured Articles

On the Constitution, history, the founders, and analysis of current events.

featured articles


Tenther Blog and News

Nullification news, quick takes, history, interviews, podcasts and much more.

tenther blog


State of the Nullification Movement

232 pages. History, constitutionality, and application today.

get the report


Path to Liberty

Our flagship podcast. Michael Boldin on the constitution, history, and strategy for liberty today

path to liberty


Maharrey Minute

The title says it all. Mike Maharrey with a 1 minute take on issues under a 10th Amendment lens. maharrey minute

Tenther Essentials

2-4 minute videos on key Constitutional issues - history, and application today


Join TAC, Support Liberty!

Nothing helps us get the job done more than the financial support of our members, from just $2/month!



The 10th Amendment

History, meaning, and purpose - the "Foundation of the Constitution."

10th Amendment



Get an overview of the principles, background, and application in history - and today.