Progressives and liberals in the US (myself included) typically support two ideas:
- That immigration should be open so that undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay and provided a so-called "path to citizenship".
- That at least some form of state welfare (Universal health care, unemployment income or guaranteed universal income, pensions and retirement income, free public education and university education, etc...) are good and necessary for the well being of society as a whole.
But it struck me recently that these two objectives might be contradictory: If a society (through its state) guarantees a certain amount of welfare to its members, doesn't it have to have some sort of membership criteria? It can't simply provide this welfare to anyone who asks for it. Consider this analogy with the adult in a family: I am responsible for providing for my own biological children, and for my adopted children, and eventually for my nieces and nephews or grandchildren, and maybe for my neighbor's children and those of my very good friend who is unable to provide for his children, etc....but I shouldn't be expected to provide for each and every child around, it would be impossible to do so. At some point some criteria for my responsibility over children has to be established, otherwise I would be stretched too thin.
In the same way, a state can't indefinitely commit to providing welfare to anyone who needs it, at some point it has to establish a boundary between those it is responsible for and those it isn't responsible for. But if we have an open immigration policy were anyone who arrives in the country can stay and benefit from the services of the country, doesn't that abolish that boundary?
How can one reconcile the goal of welfare states with an open immigration policy?
Is this the reason that Marx made communism an international movement?