Should immigration to anywhere be unlimited?


… my general opinion is that, man having a right to live somewhere on the earth, no nation has a better right to exclude him from their portion of the earth than every other has; & consequently has no such right at all. motives of safety may authorize a temporary denial of certain privileges, but they must be limited with reason & good faith, or they become tyrannical.

Source: To Benjamin Vaughn, June 7, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation

Wise leaders don’t fear outsiders. They welcome them.
Vaughn had written a long letter to Jefferson about what rights aliens should have. He suggested those rights be limited but increased yearly. After 14 years in America, an immigrant’s rights should equal those born here. Jefferson acknowledged Congress could define citizenship and its rights, and individual states could further define the rights of aliens living within their boundaries.

While Jefferson didn’t comment on the specifics of Vaughn’s proposal, he had a broad view of individual rights. He thought no nation on earth had the right to limit where any person might live. A nation could limit an alien’s rights for reasons of safety (national security), but those limitations should be temporary, limited, and characterized by food faith.

Of course, America was a new nation with great promise for its residents. Immigrants eager to share in that promise would make the nation stronger and more prosperous. Jefferson welcomed them.

“Our members were very honored and flattered
by your complimentary remarks…”

Executive Director, Missouri Society of Professional Engineers

Your members will be honored by Mr. Jefferson’s tailored remarks.

Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739


Originally posted at

The Moral Liberal Thomas Jefferson Editor, Patrick Lee, is a professional speaker, actor and writer. Since 1990, he has inspired, entertained and educated audiences from Maine to Hawaii with his authentic, first person leadership presentations as President Thomas Jefferson, Frontiersman Daniel Boone, and Lewis & Clark Co-Leader William Clark. He also appears as himself, The Hopeful Humorist™, with a program of motivational humor, patriotism and inspiration.

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