This week President Trump made his case that a border wall is important to preserve our sovereignty and to protect our resources, our jobs and our nation’s security.
His opposition thinks a Wall is nativist and divisive and discriminates against minorities. They see the Wall as a device to preserve white privilege.
They say a border wall is the wrong message for Americans to send to the world. That we should help refugees and the poor to improve their lot in life by embracing their efforts to move to America. That providing hope and opportunity is the very essence of our American values.
I would argue that debating the benefits or liabilities of reinforced borders is missing the whole point. I believe the border issue is a property rights dispute.
That’s right, property rights.
We should all agree that in America, we venerate the idea that owning property is sacrosanct. And that by definition, property has property lines. Your property rights end where mine begin. In America we have laws against trespassing, burglary and home invasion. Some states have “Stand Your Ground” laws that support property owners who defend themselves from uninvited invaders.
Why shouldn’t a country be afforded the same considerations? Why should there be any difference in the definition of property just because it is a “border line” versus a residence or business “property line”?
The Constitution states: “the United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against invasion (See Article IV, Section 4).”
If open border proponents win, they will delegitimize the constitution, and inch closer to further undermining the basis of our union. They will argue that illegal immigration is not an invasion but an important and valuable addition to our culture.
Does anyone really think that 12 million people entering our country without permission is not the definition of an invasion? If one person enters your home without your permission, would you call it an invasion? No? What about 100 people? Just where would you draw the line on the use of the term invasion?
What would you think if the government suddenly eliminated the idea of property lines and asserted that your home had no border definition and therefore you must remove your front door and allow anyone to come into your home to spend the night or take up residence with you?
Come on, you know you would go to war before you would ever allow that to happen.
It is obviously hypocritical to suggest your personal property border is any different than those of our homeland. Your front door, your fence, your security system is no less effective than vetting migrants who are coming from countries and cultures dissimilar to ours.
The underlying motivations of illegal immigrants is fleeing poverty, chaos and corruption. Conditions in their home countries make their lives difficult and sometimes hopeless. The fact is they are escaping mostly socialist, corrupt Mafia-style governments that have led their nations down a path of despair. Most refugees simply do not live by the same cultural systems and values that we do. If they did, they wouldn’t be desperate to leave home.
If they successfully avoid detection, they are just trespassers. But once illegal immigrants start accepting welfare assistance, they are burglars. They are uninvited guests who are helping themselves to property that does not belong to them.
The first thing they must demonstrate before they can properly assimilate, is a healthy respect for American law. Which means they must get in line and conform to our immigration process, as flawed as it may be. Otherwise, they are incompatible with our society.
The real battle over Trump’s Wall is over our political culture. Like so many other cultural battles in our country, Americans have fundamental disagreements over how we manage our business. On the Right is a reverence for capitalism and respect for the constitution. On the Left is a yearning for a collectivist society, where the state provides for the citizenry by a compulsory system of sharing.
The battle over the Wall is symbolic. It illustrates the cultural divide over the collectivist concept of a Progressive global government and those of good old-fashioned capitalist Americanism. It is a property rights issue, and has absolutely nothing to do with migration, refugees, or xenophobia. Those are straw man polemic devices designed to obfuscate the issue of national sovereignty and secure borders that protect our constitutional notions of private property ownership.
* * *
Rick Elkin is a long-time Escondido resident and media and cultural observer. You can follow him at RickElkin.com