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Immigration Reform

The assault on liberty at the Belarus-Poland border


A critical situation has developed along the Belarus-Poland border. Offered entry by the Belarusian regime, migrants seeking to reach the European Union now find themselves trapped with nowhere to go amid the harsh outdoor conditions of Belarus in November.

Centralized power assaults individual rights

The Dantean scenes on the Belarus-Poland border are tied to continuous violations of what should be crucial individual liberties. This crisis has become a solid piece of evidence for how centralized power inevitably ends up assaulting individual rights. Moreover, we must not assume that unacceptable actions have been exercised solely by the Belarusian government, even if it did initiate the conflict.

If we bring the argument for the right to freedom of movement to its logical conclusion, we will find that it indeed presents a radical challenge to the notion of state sovereignty. The state should not have the power to determine which individuals may or may not enter a certain piece of land. Indeed, if the land is privately owned, it is the owner of that private property who has the legitimacy to filter who is permitted to enter the aforementioned property.

Taking this principle into account, the deployment of 15,000 troops along the Belarusian border to prevent migrants from crossing into EU territory is denying individuals their freedom of movement. It is a position that the EU should no longer hold.

The Belarusian regime is using human beings as a political weapon

On the other hand, we have Alexander Lukashenko, the authoritarian leader clinging to power in Belarus, who has not hesitated to use human beings, including children, as pawns in his political game. And with Lukashenko comes Putin, who is the one backing the Belarusian regime politically and militarily. 

Predictably, what has happened as a result of Kurdish migrants being escorted to the Polish border by the Belarusian military is Polish forces establishing border controls, whereby migrants are confined to spaces resembling makeshift refugee camps where they remain in inhumane conditions

However, the story does not end there. Not content with merely sending their military to the vicinity of the Belarus-Poland border to prevent freedom of movement, the Polish government has imposed a state of emergency across two border provinces. 
What this means is that NGOs and aid workers are forbidden from accessing the area in order to provide humanitarian support for migrants who are spending their nights outside in the woods with temperatures dropping below freezing. Beyond constituting a clear assault on freedom of association, the human beings affected are essentially condemned.

We cannot permit authorities to dictate the lives of migrants

From a libertarian point of view, it is safe to say that individual liberties are being consistently infringed upon during this crisis, and that centralized power is at the root of the problem. 

The idea that nation states are entities that should exercise exclusive sovereignty over territories and populations neglects to consider the true host of sovereignty, which is the individual. We must push for a decentralization of power that guarantees the preservation of individual liberties and hold these in sufficient esteem.

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This piece solely expresses the opinion of the author and not necessarily the organization as a whole. Students For Liberty is committed to facilitating a broad dialogue for liberty, representing a variety of opinions. If you’re a student interested in presenting your perspective on this blog, send your piece to [email protected], and mention SFL Blog in the email subject line for your chance to be published and be seen!

Álvaro Castilla Vera is a Spanish student of Economic Analysis in the University Pablo de Olavide in Seville, Spain. He is also a political libertarian disseminator on social media.

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