I will start out by saying that I agree in principle with the Standard Objectivist Position On Immigration. The central solution to most current problems is to reform immigration law and abolish quotas so that the black market is removed, much like the whole war on drugs mess.
I think that the way I most often see this position presented is, at best inaccurate or oversimplified and at worst naive or suicidal. I will call this presentation, "Open Immigration" because that is what its presenters call it and also because that name highlights the key point of what is wrong with it.
First of all, many fail to make the very much necessary distinction between legal residence and citizenship. Most readers will take the position of "Open Immigration" to be "Open Citizenship," and while, yes, you could say that's their problem, I think it's counterproductive to do anything but cut that thing off at the pass. This is a good example of many of the right approaches to not only this point, but of how to frame the case in general. Or a good start, at least.
With that out of the way, comes a few questions which I believe are the best way for me to lay bare what my issue is with the policy name and proposed policy of so-called "Open Immigration."
1) Is your proposed policy that anyone professing or admitting to the Moslem faith is de facto an enemy of the US government, its citizens, and its constitution and therefore may be barred entry?
If so, how can you accurately characterize your position as "Open Immigration?" If not, then we may indeed have deeper disagreements and I believe your proposal may amount to not only a misunderstanding of the principles involved, but also a suicidal self-sacrifice on the part of America.
(As a follow up to that question, what is your position on That Mosque, and if you agree it should be demolished but don't agree with the above point, how do you square those two things?)
2) Would your proposed immigration policy bar members of Mexican drug gangs, Chinese Communists, and other assorted members of murderous organizations and open enemies of the U.S.?
If not, again, that is suicide as above. If so, again whence the term "Open." But perhaps more importantly:
3) Do you not realize that most of the countries which currently represent immigration problems exist under a near or total breakdown of law and order such that it would in most cases be relatively impossible to determine whether entrants were in fact in the above categories? That records from such countries are often either nonexistent, notoriously unreliable, or maliciously deceptive? And furthermore that this is before one even beings to consider the fact that such entrants would be lost in a deluge of millions, such that we would go bankrupt in any attempt to employ enough investigators to determine so many cases?
And that in turn leads to my final question,
5) Given that it is impossible in the case of many countries to determine the danger or harmlessness of applicants, do you believe that the burden of proof in such cases are that the non-citizen applicant is responsible for proving his harmlessness to the citizens and government of America or that the burden of proof rests on America such that if we cannot prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that an entrant is malicious that we must By Right let him into our midst?
I would answer that the duty of our government is to protect the rights of its citizens first, and the rights of foreigners as a second. And I have yet to hear a convincing (or even non-tautological) argument as to why entry to a governmental jurisdiction for a non-citizen (who, by definition, does not own any claim to such territory) is, as such, a right.
So yes, I suppose one could, in a very technical sense, characterize the proper position on immigration as "Open," given that, absent any of the aforementioned factors, yes we should let anyone who wants it, in.
But at this point, the whole characterization is just inaccurate. And if they're using it as a stand on principle, I'd fear that we're dealing with a wrong or misunderstood principle, or at the very least a poorly-worded position that makes us look bad in front of non-philosophical people who have the good sense to know how impracticable anything with the title "Open Immigration" is in today's context - i.e. just the sort of people we're trying to get this message out to.
Perhaps worst of all, it allows the conservatives, of all people, to gain ground on us with those same people. Conservatives. I'll just let that last one sink in for a bit.