Alien invasion metaphor

See also political externalities, heterogeneity-related harms to immigrant-receiving countries, characteristics of immigrants that harm immigrant-receiving countries, and foreign control and loss of sovereignty.

One of the metaphor used by some (not all) immigration restrictionists is to compare immigration with a hostile “alien invasion.” Often, this metaphor is elaborated upon with examples of both human and non-human societies where foreigners arrive with peaceful pretensions but then enslave the natives. Below are some examples:

General alien invasion language

  • Blog post comment by John S. Bolton:

    Prospective immigrants do not enjoy the benefit of the doubt; it needs to be known that they’re not hostile. We owe loyalty to our fellow national when he is attacked by foreigners coming in on net public subsidy. The nation cannot mean less than that our loyalty is to the net taxpayer here, to defend him against the foreign aggressor.
    For a foreigner to come in on net public subsidy, taken from our fellow citizens, is a hostile act in itself, by those immigrants. It means being accessory to treason, a capital offense. A foreigner who does that is not to be regarded as ordinary people, but, by the law, as in a subhuman punishable category.
    This is also demonstrated by what happens to someone who steps on a landmine at the border, while crossing illegally. He is killed in the same way as an animal, and there is no way to say that his rights were violated by a national defense facility.
    Therefore, necessarily, foreigners approaching in hostile manner are not ordinary people with the same rights as citizens. Anarchists may believe that there could still be rights without government, and such that a magical one-world stateless disorder is rational to believe possible, but why should anyone else?

  • Another blog post comment by John S. Bolton:

    Immigration on to net public subsidy is a serious crime, even a capital offense on the definition of treason, where foreigners can be accessory to treason and share its penalty.
    It’s aid and comfort to enemies, where the officials giving net public subsidy to a thereby-known hostile foreigner are guilty of treason, and the foreign hostile who participates in that is accessory to that treason.
    We’re not about to execute anyone for this, but the crimes are as serious as the allowance of extreme penalties indicates.
    The foreign hostile who immigrates on to net public subsidy is also a party to an increase of the aggression on the net taxpayers of our citizenry, to whom loyalty is owed, and that places him in violation of the natural law.
    No one who values the freedom of Americans could want to do this, therefore a cohort so defined, is known to be hostile in this additional way.

  • Yet another comment by John S. Bolton:

    The citizen’s property right, which is being treacherously ignored by one-worlders, is his right to call upon fellow citizens to take his side against the foreign aggressor.
    We steal from him by dismissing his right to have fellow nationals forcefully take his side over against ‘immigrants’ who increase the level of aggression in our nation by being here, on net public subsidy.
    The nation is the people who share those allegiances here. One-worlders have no rational argument for why we should be disloyal to fellow
    nationals who are being attacked by foreigners here.
    If they did, there would be no need for smears about master races. They would just prove that we gain from all kinds of immigration, and that immigration cohorts do not increase the level of aggression on any of those to whom we do owe loyalty and allegiance through the existence of the nation.
    This they do not attempt, but use smears, appeals to maudlin emotional identifications, dreamed-up figures involving preposterous assumptions, and trying to shift the burden of proof on to those who are not asking for the nation to be forcibly changed.

  • Yet another comment from John S Bolton:

    Paul Krugman, in the NYT, 3-27-06, p. A19, tells us that:”Unfortunately, low-skill immigrants don’t pay enough taxes to cover the cost of the benefits they receive.”
    Is this anti-foreign bias or economic ignorance? No, it’s knowledge and impartial facts.
    Birthplace is of great significance relative to the moral standing of those who receive net public subsidy. For a foreigner to come in on net public subsidy, is a hostile act, and one that makes him accesory to the treason that increased the aggression on the net taxpayer in this way.
    The nation cannot mean less than that we owe loyalty to the net taxpayer, and any of our fellow citizens who are attacked by foreigners here.
    Officials, even anarcholibertarians, owe loyalty to the citizen who is attacked by immigrants on net public subsidy; they owe a loyalty which does not permit taking the side of the aggressive foreigner.

  • Yet another blog post comment by John S. Bolton:

    Using aggression to invest in foreigners, is the bad part. Public universities, and science and engineering programs in a great many private ones, are heavily subsidized by funds taken through aggression on the net taxpayer. It might not be stupid for power-seeking officials to do this for foreigners, though, if their objective is to try every means of generating inter-group conflict that can be gotten away with.

The destruction of a “people”

Some people are concerned about how large-scale immigraton, combined with demographic trends (such as differential fertility) can lead to aliens becoming majorities in the countries they immigrate to. There are various angles to this, such as concerns about culture clash, IQ deficit, and assimilation problems. One aspect of these arguments that is sometimes made is that the idea that aliens would arrive and out-reproduce the natives is ipso facto something to be worried about. Often, restrictionists combine the IQ, culture, and assimiation problem arguments with this ipso facto wrongness argument to build a strong case.

For instance, at the end of an article for titled Race Differences, Immigration, And The Twilight of the European Peoples, Richard Lynn writes:

We are living in an extraordinary time. Nothing like this has ever occurred in human history. Mass immigration of non-Europeans will inevitably result in the European peoples becoming minorities and then increasingly small minorities in their own countries, as they are in most of Latin America and the Caribbean islands. Throughout the Western world the European peoples are allowing themselves to be replaced in their own homelands by non-Europeans.

What is even more remarkable is that the European peoples have become quite complacent about their own elimination. Some even welcome it. Hardly a week goes by without some intellectual or politician declaring that immigration has been good for the country, that “in our diversity is our strength” and “we must celebrate our differences”.

Others announce that they look forward to the day when whites become a minority.

This is the first time in the whole of human history that a people has voluntarily engineered in its own destruction.

Native American angle

One example that some people use to show the demerits of unrestricted immigration is to consider the native American/American Indian policy of unrestricted immigration for Europeans as an example of how open borders led to the destruction of the American Indian culture.

  • In a blog post comment, Saracen writes:

    “So, as Bryan has explained multiple times and as many people try to explain to you, you will most likely become better off economically speaking after the immigrants come over.”

    Are the Native Americans better off because of European immigration over the last 500 years?

  • In another blog post comment, Ed Hanson makes the same point without drawing anti-immigration conclusions:

    Bryan spends a goodly amount time of his lecture that current US immigration policy has not greatly effected American culture, at least, detrimentally. I have little problem with his demonstration of that fact.

    But his mistake in logic is his presumption that since limited immigration does not threaten American culture, then unlimited immigration would also not threaten American culture.

    To refute that logic, one only has to look at recent human experience. Native American Indians, which defined American culture just a few hundred years ago had an unlimited immigration policy. I do not know a single person today who thinks the current American culture is that same Indian culture.

Other historical examples

History offers plenty of examples of brutal dictators and armies that invaded and laid waste to lands, and of other dictators who invaded and established new kingdoms, destroying the preceding kings. Restrictionists often draw upon similarities between these past eras and current immigration waves.


See also:

"The Efficient, Egalitarian, Libertarian, Utilitarian Way to Double World GDP" — Bryan Caplan