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When it comes down to national security for the United States of America, I will argue that sometimes it is morally permissible for nation-states to restrict immigration to protect its own citizens. I also understand that many American people are objecting to the Trump administration’s immigration policies, but just like any other government power, limits on migration may be misused or abused. Now everybody has a legitimate right to protect “their stuff” just like the states has their legitimate reasons to protect “our stuff” and “our spaces” from outsiders, and I’m also not saying that the limits set by federal or state government are justified, because state and federal power again may also be misused or abused. In this paper, I want to explore briefly on some reasons, that it is sometimes morally permissible for nation-states to restrict immigration to protect its own citizens. I will explain some key arguments about having restricted immigration, as well examine why it may not morally permissible to have restricted immigration, because they both have strengths and weaknesses, and both have very solid cases.

Like it or not, but much of United States land, water, and hell even air is owned, but just imagine if all those common resources that I just mention started to deplete, I probably would not be arguing about if it is morally permissible for nation-states to restrict immigration. God forbid if this was to happen then everybody would want strict immigration laws to be put in place, therefore the state and federal government are not trying to be this “jerk” that everybody hates, but sometimes it needs to be that “jerk” in order to protect valuable resources that most Americans take for granted every day and do not even consider it when it comes to enforcing immigration laws, but instead they think enforcement of the immigration law has been intrusive, arbitrary, and even callous lately. Culture can also be the main concern for nation-states, if America decided to open its border to every single outsider than we can have a culture shock, losing the American culture can put this nation at stake and everything America has fought and stood for can go out the window. Recently I read an article from Stanford and it did mention how opening borders can impact the culture, it stated ‘the public culture of their country is something that people have an interest in controlling: they want to be able to shape the way that their nation develops, including the values that are contained in the public culture. They may not, of course, succeed: valued cultural features can be eroded by economic and other forces that evade political control. But they may certainly have good reason to try, and in particular to try to maintain cultural continuity over time, so that they can see themselves as the bearers of an identifiable cultural tradition that stretches backward historically.’ (Wellman) However this may not show real evidence if opening borders can impact the culture, as other factors can play a role as well, but this is something to really think about because personally, it does not sound like crazy talk. Many immigrants fail to learn English, do we really want America to become a different country by losing our culture? I believe the response would be no, and therefore immigration restrictions seem like a common sense answer. Finally, this does not justify excluding every single outsider, but it can explain why countries can be entitled to slow down the limit of immigrants that have a distinct culture, but a country would not seem to justify excluding all immigrants.Economy is the other factor I was talking about before, open borders can hurt and will hurt the economy, because depending on the economy it can only support a certain number of blue and white collar workers, and those people who are suffering in finding a job due to their “less skilled abilities” now have to compete with immigrants who may also shoot down a good wage for the economy as immigrants are cheap labor workers. This is currently happening in today’s world, that immigration is taking over American jobs, and this can also tie into State benefits as well. Taking care of “our own” should be top priority, for example Canada and Sweden must have a limitation on the number of people they allow inside the country, so state benefits can be strong and stable to sustain itself, otherwise poor people from other countries could very well come and take advantage of such benefits, a country can not have open borders and welfare states, it will just simply fail, even if a wealthy state such as California open its borders and knowing that the state can probably still support itself, it is still not a reasonable argument, as other states economy could fail and that would be bad news. Thus, do not forget about 9/11 this terror act shows that evil exists and it is out there, and it does not care about your feelings or your loved ones, therefore it is morally permissible for nation-states to restrict immigration to protect its own citizens by establishing security, because no one will argue the moral importance of protecting innocent lives from terror act such as 9/11, and it is hard for a country to have a stable balance of national security, because a country cannot exclude everybody that seems to a threat without restricting visitors such as tourists, guest workers, visiting students, and business trips from other countries, plus restricting immigration may not stop terrorist from attacking, as terrorists will do anything to seek out their mission and does not care about immigration laws, but not having some limits of restricting immigration can put our guard down and potentially have more terrorists attack than we do today. Protecting American Liberty is a must, and the majority of immigrants come from countries that do not have the stance of freedom, they never had a god given rights, most of them probably came from a country that had dictators, so some immigrants would not have the same outlook on American policy and culture. This doesn’t mean that the government has a right to just kick out everybody, but any particular person that poses a national security, law and order, or a public health threat, than the government should have every right to close the border to that particular person to keep the states safe and its own citizens

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Being open-minded is a good thing, just don’t be too open-minded, thus I also understand the other side of the argument of it not being morally permissible for nation states to have restricted immigration, they are some arguments about this, and I do agree on some points of not having restricted immigration laws, such as a quote I read from an article, that really made me think more about this. Before I said how immigrants can affect the economy and how immigrants were taking American jobs, well this quote states “Suppose a farmer from the United States wanted to hire workers from Mexico. The government would have no right to prohibit him from doing this. To prevent the Mexicans from coming would violate the rights of both the American farmer and the Mexican workers to engage in voluntary transactions.” (Caplan) this made me think that immigrants may be taking American jobs, but if an American were to hire an immigrant worker for cheap labor, that should be the right of that American, to hire whoever he/she wants to hire because the United States also has a short supply of skilled workers. As an article I read that stated “Arguably, it is not the total number of health care professionals that exist in the world today that is a problem, but rather their distribution.” (Wellman) This is a legitimate argument, that sometimes a country will lack in certain areas due to the lack of available people that is capable of performing the job and excelling in the sector, therefore an owner of a company should be able to reach out and start recruiting immigrants, if there is a lack of available workers, and immigration laws can disrespect individual rights sometimes, in which this case the state is no longer legitimate. The character of this national community has a fair argument.

In summary it is morally permissible for nation-states to restrict immigration to protect its own citizens. Its necessary to run and achieve a steady state system, and it remains difficult for me to really choose sides here, because it is hard to decide what kind of restrictive laws are appropriate and morally legitimate, thus the laws we have in place for restrictions on immigration needs to be worked to have a reassuring enforcement system, that is the starting point.

Works Cited

  1. Caplan, Bryan. “Carens on Nozick on Immigration.” Econlib, 19 Sept. 2018,
  2. Wellman, Christopher Heath. “Immigration.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford University, 23 Mar. 2015,

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