Monday, 3 April 2006

British views on immigration

A survey has shown that over 75% of British people favour limits on immigration. The survey also stated that most people felt immigration undermined good community relations. Others believed that Britain was already overcrowded and British society was increasingly becoming racially segregated.

Some of these claims seem reasonable. The United Kingdom is a rather densely populated country, in comparison with other EU and first world nations. As for undermining community relations, well I don't concur with this argument. It probably would be best if immigrants were encouraged to follow British mores and culture, once they arrived in the country. Is such a belief "unlibertarian"? I wouldn't think so. I see no general correlation between multiculturalism and libertarian thought.

Evidently, the "classic" libertarian line on immigration is for "open borders". Some libertarians have questioned this approach though, since they feel an open borders policy would allow people with no attachment to liberty to gain access to the country. They believe this would undermine the libertarian ethos of a free society.

Freedom of movement clearly is a human right. Is it "unlibertarian" to have controls on immigration? Maybe. However, I feel that immigration will be an issue of debate amongst libertarians for some time to come.