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Author Topic: [2007-06-10] "Immigration control is UN-Constitutional!" And so is Drug control!  (Read 59537 times)
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« on: 2008-November-18 10:14:54 PM »

Links to this article..:
[2007-06-10] "Immigration control is UN-Constitutional!" (And so is Drug control!)

"An unconstitutional act is not law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; affords no protection; it creates no office; it is, in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed." - U.S. Supreme Court, Norton v. Shelby County, 118 US 425 (1886)

"Do we live in a republic where the Constitution, which has a fixed and knowable meaning, is the supreme law of the land? Or do we live in a judicial oligarchy where we are governed by case law, which changes from decade to decade according to the shifting opinions of nine unelected, unaccountable judges?"
Derek J. Sheriff

“We’re a nation of laws. A nation without laws is like a house without walls. What’s going to happen? It’s going to come crashing down."
The ironic statement of Arizona governor Jan Brewer regarding her intention to enforce UN-constitutional Federal "laws".

Today, the US claims the legal right to indefinitely detain its citizens; the president can order the assassination of a citizen without so much as even a hearing; the government can spy on its citizens without a court order; and its officials are immune from prosecution for war crimes.

Is this the rule of law of which you speak?

The ONLY things that are "illegal" about immigration
are the Federal government laws!

The ONLY things that are "illegal" about immigration and drugs are the Federal government laws, rules, regulations and actions!

Immigration Control is UN-Constitutional! (And so is Drug Control).
That means that all those "laws" are ILLEGAL.
REPEAL would be true "enforcement of the law" and true "respect for the law"!
The Constitution is SUPPOSED TO BE the supreme law of the land.
What part of UN-Constitutional don't YOU understand?
Number 421, June 10, 2007
"Truth gets slaughtered, over and over again, every day."

Immigration control is UN-Constitutional!
(And so is Drug control!)*

*The following article has been updated [in brown] to include information about the UN-Constitutionality of Drug control.

A review of U.S. Constitution & immigration history

by Dennis Lee Wilson

Exclusive to The Libertarian Enterprise
[Note: LINO = Libertarian In Name Only]

In my article “Ask the Right Question, an interview with a Neo-LINO” [1], I made the case for immigration control being immoral and UN-libertarian. I neglected to make the point that it is also UN-Constitutional. During recent on-line discussions with a Neo-LINO, it became apparent to me that many people are unaware of the actual history of immigration in this country and are either unaware of or deliberately ignoring the fact that the Constitution does NOT AUTHORIZE the U.S. government to control immigration. Even Dr. NO, the “Constitutional” Congressman and Presidential Candidate, Ron Paul misses this point. He recently said “Immigration reform should start with improving our border protection”. What happened to his oft repeated position that Congress should obey the Constitution?

Point #1: The Constitution contains NO mention of "immigration" nor does it authorize controlling it.
Point #1a: The Constitution contains NO mention of "drugs" nor does it authorize controlling any of them.

I cannot show you where immigration and control of it are NOT authorized, because NOWHERE in the Constitution is it even mentioned. NOWHERE! And the same goes for drugs! The Constitution does mention controlling of slave importation in Article I Section IX, but involuntary slave “migration” is a totally different issue that was “settled” with the end of slavery. The Constitution does mention Naturalization (granting of citizenship), which is something entirely different from either slave importation or voluntary immigration: "Article I Section VIII: The Congress shall have Power … To establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization, …" But NOWHERE does the Constitution mention immigration or immigrants and NOWHERE does it authorize the control of immigration or immigrants. Need I remind the reader that if a U.S. government function is not specifically authorized in the Constitution, then it is prohibited by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.

“Immigration” and “naturalization” are not the same things. Even the U.S. government recognizes that fact. Before the recent name change, the enforcing government agency called itself Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS), and the two functions are separate and distinct within the agency—even though only one of those functions is authorized by the Constitution. (I hope I don’t have to explain that this is not the first or only instance of the U.S. government exceeding the limits authorized by the Constitution).

Point #2: This country somehow actually managed to survive its first 100 years WITHOUT immigration “laws”, restrictions, bureaucrats, passports, green cards, permits, fences, ditches, walls, gates and armed border guards and patrols who shoot and kill Mexicans who try to enter and even those who try to leave! [4] Can you even imagine how free this country was during that first 100 years?!

Point #2a: This country somehow actually managed to survive its first 150 years WITHOUT drug “laws”, restrictions, bureaucrats, fences, ditches, walls, gates and armed border guards and patrols who arrest, imprison and/or shoot and kill ANYONE who tries to bring currently restricted drugs into this country or create or grow them within this country.

The remainder of this article consists of what was readily available information [3] from U.S. government (tax funded and therefore public domain) sources.[2] The following is a brief history of Immigration Control excerpted from the government’s own tax funded website. Information that I think is particularly interesting I have emphasized with bold text.

From [3]

There were few federal laws governing immigration into the United States prior to the late 19th century, and those tended to address immigration from Europe or Asia. The Steerage Act of 1819 regulated passenger travel and mandated the creation of records documenting the arrival of immigrants at seaports. Some passenger vessels arriving at United States ports sailed from Central or South America, but the majority of passenger vessels and passengers came from Europe. Not until 1891 did federal law provide for the inspection of immigrants arriving at land border ports.

Nevertheless, the Immigration Act of 1891 maintained Congress' focus on immigration from Europe. It did so by concentrating on the inspection of immigrants who arrived "by water" upon any "steam or sailing vessel." As a result, the federal Immigration Service created by the Act directed its attention to stationing Inspectors and providing facilities (such as Ellis Island) at seaports. Yet the law contained language allowing the Treasury Secretary to "prescribe rules for inspection along the borders of Canada, British Columbia, and Mexico so as not to obstruct or unnecessarily delay, impede, or annoy passengers in ordinary travel between said countries."

It is unclear how much action the new Immigration Service took in 1891 to fulfill its mission along the southern land border. The Service may have opened as many as two immigration ports of entry along the border during 1891 or 1892, one of which was likely at El Paso, Texas. Nevertheless, in 1893, the only U.S. Immigrant Inspector present on the U.S.-Mexican Border was Leonidas B. Giles, who inspected immigrants arriving at El Paso. Unlike the majority of Immigrant Inspectors working at seaport immigrant stations, Giles' salary came from a special appropriation for enforcement of the Alien Contract Labor laws. Six years later, in 1899, there were but four U.S. Immigrant Inspectors working along the Mexican Border. They manned ports of entry at Nogales, Arizona, El Paso and Laredo, Texas, and at Piedras Negras, Mexico.

The corps of Inspectors expanded after 1900, when the Chinese Service came under control of the Bureau of Immigration. The Chinese Service pre-dated the Immigration Service, having been created by the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and both previously existed as independent entities within the Treasury Department. By 1901, in addition to the already named ports, there were Inspectors stationed at Tucson, Arizona, and San Diego, California. At El Paso, Nogales, and San Diego, Chinese Inspectors augmented that force.

During these years the Border District had not yet been formally organized, nor were there any written procedures adapted to Southern Border ports. The Immigration Act of February 14, 1903, essentially re-stated the 1891 provisions concerning land borders, but called for rules covering entry as well as inspection. Following the 1903 act, Service officers began recording entries and inspecting aliens--other than Mexicans--crossing the Mexican Border. Thus while the Immigration Service was present on the Southern Border since 1892, the earliest Mexican Border Arrival Records were not created until a decade or more later.

Under a US-Canadian agreement signed in 1894, immigrants destined to the United States were inspected and recorded by US immigrant inspectors at Canadian ports of entry.

The following covers the same time period but contains additional information about INS history. The entirety of this overview was found at [3] which, of course, is also tax supported.[2]

Overview of INS History

Marian L. Smith, Historian

Originally published in A Historical Guide to the U.S. Government, edited by George T. Kurian.
New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. Reprinted with permission.

Americans encouraged relatively free and open immigration during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and did not question that policy until the late 1800s. After certain states passed immigration laws following the Civil War, the Supreme Court in 1875 declared that regulation of immigration is a Federal responsibility. Thus, as the number of immigrants rose in the 1880s and economic conditions in some areas worsened, Congress began to issue immigration legislation. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and Alien Contract Labor laws of 1885 and 1887 prohibited certain laborers from immigrating to the United States. The more general Immigration Act of 1882 levied a head tax of fifty cents on each immigrant and blocked (or excluded) the entry of idiots, lunatics, convicts, and persons likely to become a public charge. These national immigration laws created the need for a Federal enforcement agency.

In the 1880s, state boards or commissions enforced immigration law with direction from U.S. Treasury Department officials. At the Federal level, U.S. Customs Collectors at each port of entry collected the head tax from immigrants while "Chinese Inspectors" enforced the Chinese Exclusion Act. Congress soon expanded the list of excludable classes, and in doing so made regulation of immigration more complex. As a result, when the Immigration Act of 1891 barred polygamists, persons convicted of crimes of moral turpitude, and those suffering loathsome or contagious diseases from immigrating, it also created the Office of the Superintendent of Immigration. Located within the Treasury Department, the Superintendent oversaw a new corps of U.S. Immigrant Inspectors stationed at the United States' principal ports of entry.

Under the 1891 law, the Federal Government assumed the task of inspecting, admitting, rejecting, and processing all immigrants seeking admission to the United States. The Immigration Service's first task was to collect arrival manifests (passenger lists) from each incoming ship, a responsibility of the Customs Service since 1820. Enforcing immigration law was a new Federal function, and the 1890s witnessed the Immigration Service's first attempts to implement national immigration policy.

Congress continued to exert Federal control over immigration with the Act of March 2, 1895, which upgraded the Office of Immigration to the Bureau of Immigration and changed the agency head's title from Superintendent to Commissioner-General of Immigration. The Act of June 6, 1900, further consolidated immigration enforcement by assigning both Alien Contract Labor law and Chinese Exclusion responsibilities to the Commissioner-General. Because most immigration laws of the time sought to protect American workers and wages, an Act of February 14, 1903, transferred the Bureau of Immigration from the Treasury Department to the newly created Department of Commerce and Labor.

Attention then turned to naturalization, a duty assigned to Congress by the Constitution but carried out by "any court of record" since 1802. A commission charged with investigating naturalization practice and procedure reported in 1905 that there was little or no uniformity among the nation's more than 5,000 naturalization courts. Congress responded with the Basic Naturalization Act of 1906, which framed the rules for naturalization in effect today. The 1906 law also proscribed standard naturalization forms, encouraged state and local courts to relinquish their naturalization jurisdiction to Federal courts, and expanded the Bureau of Immigration into the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization.

[And of course, the new bureaucracy--like any government agency-- made work for itself and then created a bigger agency to “correct” the “problems” that it created. Like the Energizer Bunny, it just kept going and going …. DLW]

The corollary to severely restricted immigration is increased illegal immigration.[5] In response to rising illegal entries and alien smuggling, especially along land borders, Congress in 1924 created the U.S. Border Patrol within the Immigration Service.
The strict new immigration policy coupled with Border Patrol successes shifted more agency staff and resources to deportation activity.

[1] See my article “Ask the Right Question, an interview with a Neo-LINO” in THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE Number 367, May 14, 2006, - expanded version at:

[2] Used here in accordance with Title 15, regarding tax funded work found on tax funded, government sites AND 17 U.S.C. Section 107, regarding copyrighted work distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research & educational purposes only.  Ref.  and

[3] The links to have apparently changed since I acquired the material. The history section is “under construction” according to this working link:

I must have saved my copies during the switch to their new name and web site—which shows the importance of copied text over “hot” links that have a nasty habit of changing or vanishing.

[4] US border guards shoot & kill an unarmed 22-year-old driver--headed FOR Mexico

It has been said that a fence that is good enough to keep “them” out is good enough to keep “us” in. The link above leads to articles about the hazards and risks of getting OUT of the USA. Here are three questions to ponder:
  • WHY do U.S. armed guards stop cars going INTO Mexico?
  • Shouldn’t that be the function of Mexican authorities?
  • Or is it a FACT that we do actually live INSIDE a prison?

[5] PROHIBITION FAILED--AGAIN! What IS the Lesson of History?

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*The above article has been updated [in brown] to include information about the Constitutionality of Drug control.

After reading the article above, you might find the following of interest:
Gino DiSimone, running for Nevada Governor, shows his colors on the AZ "Show your papers" law.

On his website, in his first paragraph under "Arizona Illegal Alien Bill, Simplified", he alleges to have read the same the US Constitution, but somehow (unexplained) he came to a conclusion that is opposite to that in the article above! And then, he praises Arizona's "strict adherence" to Federal laws that are clearly UN-constitutional and ILLEGAL!! (The bold, italic, underlined emphasis is in the original.)

  • I have been asked many times about my thoughts on the constitutionality of the Arizona Bill and if I would support it. To know if the Arizona Bill is Constitutional or not, there is a very easy answer: Read the US Constitution and then read the bill. I did, and this is what you will learn: Arizona went to great lengths to ensure they adhered to the US Constitution. Furthermore, Arizona was remarkably generous with their strict adherence to US Federal Immigration Laws, some of which are not constitutional at all. Never the less, Arizona took careful measures to comply with them entirely.


« Last Edit: 2015-December-14 10:22:49 PM by DennisLeeWilson » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: 2010-May-17 04:47:17 PM »

Copied from ALD-forum@yahoogroups.com

Mike Vosper <mevosper@...> wrote:
> Mr Wilson, you are absolutely correct.
> We cannot just disobey the Constitution to fit our desires. We as Americans
> have done that for far too long as it is. We've allowed our ears to be
> tickled by pretty speeches and bubble gum promises.

Thank you, Mr. Vosper. And I love the way you phrased it!

> However, the 10th Amendment does give Arizona the right to make such a law,
> and personally I fully support the position that they have taken.
> M. Vosper
I agree with your point about the 10 Amendment. What Arizona politicians have conveniently ignored is that the  Federal government's illegal action of putting armed guards and gates on the border several years ago (and gradually "tightening" entry requirements) has been the CAUSE of people crossing at other places along the border--just as happened in Berlin.

PROHIBITION has NEVER worked, whether alcohol, drugs or travel. The "unintended" consequences have ALWAYS been violence and "black" markets where none existed before.

The proper solution is to REPEAL the prohibitions and THAT is what Arizona politicians have failed to identify and rectify. The current problems DID NOT EXIST 30 years ago when the border crossings were not so heavily Federalized.

Dennis Lee Wilson
Signatory: Covenant of Unanimous Consent

Free yourself. Live and Let Live.

Objectivist & Sovereign Individual
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« Reply #2 on: 2010-July-11 06:36:51 PM »

--- In, Edward Britton <sulocco@...> wrote:

> So do I, BUT I still prefer local 'disgusting' over federal
> 'disgusting.' And SINCE the fed won't/can't perform it's PRIMARY
> fucking job, I fully SUPPORT AZ's attempts to defend itself.
One of the points I have been making repeatedly since 2007 is that

 "Immigration control is UN-Constitutional!"

    * REALLY! Its TRUE! The US Constitution does NOT authorize immigration control!
    * P.S., that goes for EXIT control also!!

Or perhaps I should phrase it another way, more direct to your statement:

It is NOT the duty (PRIMARY or otherwise) of the Federal government to control immigration.

AND it is particularly stupid of Arizona politicians (forgive the redundancy) to claim to be doing what the Federal government has NO AUTHORITY to do in the first place.

AND it is additionally stupid of  Arizona politicians (there I go again) to INCREASE PROHIBITIONS instead of learning ANYTHING from history* about how REPEAL of alcohol prohibition[1] solved the very same problems we are now experiencing because of drug and travel prohibitions.

    *(The politicians--and a large majority of Arizonians--would actually have to learn on their own because it is NOT taught in government schools!)

[1] PROHIBITION FAILED--AGAIN! What IS the Lesson of History?
« Last Edit: 2010-December-04 02:34:07 PM by DennisLeeWilson » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: 2012-February-22 10:32:51 PM »

Regarding what I said about EXIT CONTROL...:

'If We Cannot Track You With Our Microchips, You Cannot Leave' — or, Why Ron Paul Is Right Again About 'Border Control'
Posted by Daniel McAdams on February 22, 2012 05:22 PM

When Ron Paul said in a debate last September that the border fences may well be built to keep Americans in rather than keep illegals out, the usual brain-dead, mainstream media-addicted sheep "laughed out loud" at this, the "apex of Paul’s paranoid band of libertarianism."

Fast forward to this incredible story today of a family who had their trip to Belize ruined because the father's passport had a slight crease on the back cover after it had inadvertently been sat on. The family had no problems in their native Denver, but as soon as they got to Dallas an airline official (read: government agent) decided that the passport was "mutilated" and ruined their trip for them.

What is most remarkable about the story is the interview with Ray Priest, owner of International Passport Visas in Denver, who speculated that the rejection may stem from possible damage to the microchip embedded in every American's passport.

Spoke Mr. Priest (who seems suspiciously unbothered — a good little totalitarian? — by the whole thing):

  • “To have a passport is privilege, it’s not entitled to you by citizenship.... They have no reason in the world to let you travel if it’s been damaged.... It’s like cutting your photo out or something if that chip doesn’t work.... This is done for national security...they can’t make an exception, period.” (emphasis added)


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« Reply #4 on: 2012-July-12 09:41:42 AM »

Link to this article
This article contains a good history of the growth of government passport usage.

Another Lost Freedom: The Freedom To Move

by William Jackson

It’s been the norm for several generations now, so we hardly even notice it. But it’s insidious. It’s the curtailment of our freedom to move.

I live in India, but I’m currently in Japan visiting my in-laws. On the way back to India, I’d like to swing through China, just for three days, to visit my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew. But in order to do this, I need a passport with a Chinese visa in it. I do not have the freedom either to leave the jurisdiction of the Japanese Government without an inspection of these documents or to enter the jurisdiction of the Chinese Government without these documents. So I look up the location of the Consular Section of the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo and make my way to it.

After walking through a metal detector and having my bags and pockets searched, I am free to board the elevator to the third floor of the building. I walk out and am greeted by multiple counters, each sporting long lines, plus a waiting room filled with people holding numbers or frantically filling out visa applications. I had printed and filled out mine at home, so I stepped into the first line. When I reached the window, the woman behind it informed me that since I was a non-bussinessperson American, I was not allowed to get my Chinese visa processed there. Americans (engaged in non-business travel) must obtain their visas through an external travel agency.

I left the building more than a little perturbed. These are the hoops of government, I thought. They say jump.

Down the street I found a travel agency. I was informed that they could certainly process my visa. It would cost me 15000 yen, plus a 4000 yen service charge for the agency. My total? 19000 yen; that’s US$240. I pointed to my application – to the part where I explained that I would only be in China for three days. The woman pointed to my passport and said, almost apologetically, “You’re American.” Ah. That again.

It turns out that for any other citizen of every other country, the Chinese Government charges 4000 yen (US$50) or less. But thanks to the political squabbles between the gang of thieves “running” the United States and the gang of thieves “running” China, we lowly citizens are hit with retaliatory fees and penalties apparently exacted based on where you happen to be born. I happen to have been born in California. I did not choose my place of birth, but there you have it. A U.S.-issued passport equals a US$240 entrance fee, compared to a US$50 fee or less for everybody else in the world. What, you’re only staying for three days on your way to India? Doesn’t matter.

Of course, few if any governments exceed the United States’ in humiliating or frustrating visa applications. I’ve helped several of my Indian and Nepalese friends go through the long and often degrading process, with mixed success. Most of them will never be able to visit my country. This is a tragedy. But since I’m not the U.S. Government, I feel no need to apologize for that particular corrupt body. Besides, just to leave my own country, I had to shell out US$750 for passports (for me, my wife, and my three children), not to mention the time and frustration involved in going to the post office on multiple occasions to fill out forms, hand over my money, re-fill out forms, have photos taken, and wait in long lines. That kind of money might be chump change for some people, but not me. For me, this was a considerable financial bite. This was the cost of crossing my own border.

Think about that. You are not allowed to leave your country unless you pay up. And I’m not talking about paying a foreign government. I’m talking about paying your own government. In my case, I had to shell out another thousand dollars to the Indian Government just for permission to enter its sacred space.

Taking into account the additional fees and taxes that went into my airline tickets (including tax-funded subsidies and extra costs forced upon airlines by government that get passed on to you and me), all-in-all I paid about $3,300 just to Government to make the trip to India from the United States. Without all of that, my round-trip tickets – all five of them – would have cost a mere two grand. With it, I paid almost five-and-a-half.

So much for freedom of movement. If you don’t pay up, you’re stuck. This is not an exaggeration. Try crossing the border without a passport. Watch what happens. You will not be allowed out. Let me repeat: You will not be allowed out! Resist, and you’ll be thrown in a cage. Resist well, and you might be shot. The only way you are getting out is by paying up. And only when you’re done paying can you purchase your government-inflated airline ticket.

When did we lose the freedom to move, to travel, to go places? As usual, we can trace it back to a war.

World War One, perhaps the most ridiculous war in human history, boosted fascism, enabled communism, cost millions of lives directly and millions more indirectly, and set the stage for a second (even greater) global conflict. All of this is true, but here we’re concentrating on something smaller – just another stick in your eye, compliments of the governments involved in WWI. I’m talking about passports and visas – those ever-more-costly controls on the freedom of the individual to move.

Before the Great War, very few countries required any sort of documentation at a “border crossing.” If you were from, say, Yorkshire, and you wanted to visit a family member in, say, Philadelphia, you simply paid a sea-going vessel to take you there. You could obtain a passport-like document if you wanted, but it wasn’t necessary for travel. This was considered the civilized way. Only “barbaric” states (like Russia and the Ottoman Empire) had the gall the demand papers (much less mounds of cash). Passports, or something like them, did exist much earlier, but they were not generally required by the ordinary traveler or immigrant. If you wanted to visit your sick mother who happened to live on the other side of the imaginary line we call a border – well, you just went and saw her, without any sort of visit to a consulate, without an exchange of a flurry of papers, without long lines and numbers, and without the mandatory financial fleecing.

There were exceptions, of course. But these were usually tied to wars and other crises, too. The War to Prevent Southern Independence saw the brief introduction of travel controls. The French Revolution, too. As to the latter, Paul Boytinck describes it thus:

The heated debate continued in the French Assembly. One Thuriot, a man without a given forename and hence an object of curiosity and even suspicion as is only right for a man without a given name, was a partisan of passport controls. His measure soon came up for debate if debate it can be called: “By now, the Assembly was churning with controversy, and a proposal to adopt Thuriot’s amendment by acclamation drove the house wild. Pandemonium had erupted in the chamber in response to his proposal to require those wishing to leave the Kingdom to carry a passport in which that intention was inscribed. One legislator insisted on a roll-call vote, calling the provision ‘blood-thirsty’; another denounced it as ‘destructive of commerce and industry, and contrary to the interests of the people.’ That steadfast opponent of passport controls, Girardin, returned to the attack, demanding that the Assembly ‘not be permitted to destroy commerce and freedom without discussion. . .’” (41) Yet when it was all said and done, the French were under the passport yoke once again, and the foreigners within France, diplomatic missions excepted, were placed under special surveillance and they were suffered to remain on French soil only if they remained on their good behavior. The punishment for bad behavior, however defined, was expulsion. And so it came that the “optimistic cosmopolitanism of the early days of the revolution [was] obliterated; and the high-flown ambiguities of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen had been resolved in favor of the nation-state.” War breeds bureaucracies and regulations beyond measure and it is the graveyard of hard-won liberties.

Fast forward to 1914 and “the war to end all wars,” the biggest up to that time in world history. If “war is the health of the state,” as R. Bourne suggested, then certainly a fight of this magnitude would result in a major increase in the size and scope of government, with no hope of returning to pre-war levels (this is called the Ratchet Effect, elaborated upon by Robert Higgs in Crisis and Leviathan and Against Leviathan and warned against by James Madison, who described it as “the old trick of turning every contingency into a resource for accumulating force in government.”) With each new crisis – and particularly with each war – the scope of government widens, rarely if ever to be restored to its prior size once the perceived crisis is over. The 20th century has been particularly painful in this regard (Boytinck characterized it as “a passport chamber of horrors”), thanks in large part to World War One, the Great Depression, World War Two, and the Cold War.

During World War One, the gangs of thieves “running” the various states involved in the conflict, fearing espionage, began requiring documentation at their borders. For example, in Britain (where the government had already, in the first decade of the century, tried using travel controls to stem a perceived Jewish tide into the country) the British Nationality and Status Aliens Act (1914) was passed so that Brits could be distinguished from more suspect “foreign nationals.” Most European countries followed suit, not just to frustrate spies but also to prevent soldiers from deserting. Before the war, large numbers of people had traveled more or less freely across the Europe without passports, apparently without the world coming to an end. Not so any more. In 1920, the League of Nations agreed on a standardization of passports, and several other conferences continued the standardization/centralization trend (1926, 1927).

Ponder that: your passport was born out of fear of Jews (or other specified nationalities, depending on the country), deserting soldiers, and spies during war-time.

In America, an executive order requiring passports was issued around the same time, followed four years later by the Travel Control Act (1918). The latter declared that the president could, during times of war, make passports required for travel.

When the war ended, did such measures, previously considered barbaric, come to an end? Nope. The floodgates had been opened, after all; Government had been handed the keys during a “crisis,” and Government never gives keys back.

In America, the USG’s Travel Control Act requirements lasted until 1921 (when Harding was inaugurated). Even without the requirement, however, travel abroad was made difficult for Americans by other countries’ new requirements, which mostly continued after the war ended. The point became moot anyway, when the USG revived the requirement again in 1941 thanks to…well, you likely guessed it: World War Two (another score for Higgs’ theory!). Finally, in 1978, an amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act (1952) made entry into the U.S. without a passport illegal, in war or in peace. A major part of what made America America died with this amendment, though it had obviously been in its death throes for several decades already.

The 20th-century passport phenomenon is perhaps best described by the erstwhile Interior Minister of Germany, who said that “All the experts essentially recognize that the really dangerous people almost always find a way to get in and out. Passport requirements, and especially visa requirements, thus result in a heavy burden on the movement of the broad mass of innocent travelers. An enormous – and largely useless – administrative effort is expended trying to get a few wrongdoers by issuing millions of passports and visas to innocent people.” [Source: Boytinck, again.]

In 1980, a conference of the International Civil Aviation Organization (a “specialized agency of the United Nations”) standardized passports across the world. The passport had been bureaucratized, institutionalized, standardized. Now there would be no escape. There could be no cross-border movement without this document, plus the necessary visas. And most passports now – around the world – include biometric data.

These days, if you want to travel, you must pay exorbitant fees for the necessary documents. You must give away lots of personal information. And governments use visas – their granting/denying and their costs – to teach other governments a lesson. Government A doesn’t like how Government B is treating it? We’ll show ‘em: let’s slap on a strict visa requirement plus a hefty fee. Forget the fact that the ordinary citizen has virtually nothing to do with the stupid squabbles of the political elite (and forget the fact that this political elite don’t even pay for their own passports and visas – the ordinary citizens do!). That will teach ‘em to disrespect.

Nowadays, carrying a U.S. passport is a liability.

Of course, if you carry an Israeli passport, you won’t even be considered for entry in half a dozen “Muslim” states, plus North Korea and Cuba. And if you’re from a “Muslim” state, you’re likely to run into trouble at some point traveling in the west. If you’re from a “poor” country, you’re find it hard traveling to “rich” countries. I was recently in Pakistan doing research for my Ph.D. and wasn’t allowed to even set foot in half of the places I wanted to go – not because they were dangerous, but because my passport bore the seal of the United States of America. I remember thinking, Come on! I paid good money for this thing! Can I return this to the USG and get my money back? All of this frustration because of a document that was originally instituted to prevent espionage, Jewish immigration, and military desertion.

How long will we put up with this?

I long for the day when people everywhere will organize and carry out passport-burnings in protest of Government’s curtailment of the basic freedom to move.

This originally appeared at The Loadstar.

July 12, 2012

William Jackson [send him mail] has been published in Libertarian Papers and is currently 10 months from receiving his Ph.D. in History from Syracuse University.

Copyright © 2012 William Jackson
« Last Edit: 2012-July-12 09:43:29 AM by DennisLeeWilson » Logged

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