New Zealand Might Soon Need Border Angels

Immigration restrictions are about the most harmful policies around. Resulting almost entirely from the bigotry of voters (voters are much nastier than people) and a false Malthusian worldview , they prevent the poor and ambitious from seeking a better life in a freer country, while also depriving the host country of valuable new people.

Given that I think civil disobedience is an important way of limiting government power, I’ve always been a bit disappointed that nobody tries to sneak into New Zealand. Border Angels and others assisting illegal immigrants enter a country safely are putting themselves at great personal risk to do extremely valuable humanitarian work. I’d love to help out with such things, but there are no opportunities to do so on an isolated group of islands.

We do have “overstayers,” the object of inhumane crackdowns and brave resistance in the 1970s and ‘80s, but there’s nothing analogous to leaving water in the desert to help these people, since all they’re trying to do is live their lives and keep under the radar.

This might be about to change.

The government seems to think that more people will attempt to enter New Zealand illegally in the future as technology makes long ocean voyages cheaper. Apparently, the authorities are working on new ways of keeping the riff-raff out as New Zealand becomes increasingly “targeted” by the “global people-smuggling crisis.”

Sounds to me like decent New Zealanders unwilling to keep migrants out (i.e. forcibly prevent people from entering our patch of land to peacefully trade with the locals) need work on new ways of helping new migrants enter and settle in the country despite the inhumanity of government policy.

Libertarian Music Friday: 77% of Aussies are Racist Edition

Australian hip-hop group The Herd with 77%:

Libertarian Music Friday: Deportation Edition

Apropos of recent discussion, here’s Bob Dylan and Joan Baez performing Woody Guthrie’s song  Deportee

It’s always funny when bigots claim they are discriminated against

I am utterly disgusted by the nationalism I’m seeing in New Zealand at the moment. One among many examples:

[Union Secretary] Mr Cook fears it’s the New Zealanders who will go first when it does close, which he claims is discrimination.

He claims this because some migrants are on 12-month contracts while locals are not. It seems pretty reasonable that migrants would be contractually guaranteed a minimum term of employment in exchange for moving countries. I guess it would seem unreasonable to a person who doesn’t see foreigners as worthy of moral consideration…

The worst part is that this sort of xenophobia is about to become policy, and has bipartisan support. This makes me feel very stabby. [Update: Eric points out in the comments that it’s not really a change in policy, but an automatic adjustment in the number of work permits based on existing policy. Both major parties are nevertheless pandering to nationalist sentiment. If the sentiment persists, I wouldn’t be suprised to see actual policy change. I still feel very stabby.]  

The Visible Hand in Economics has many good posts on this (see herehere, here, and here, for example). See also Crampton, Darnton and Walker.