Why Not Open Borders?


Greece to Dismiss 750 Refugees to Turkey: Report

The question of open borders is complex, to say the least. I reckon most people in the United States, whether liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, oppose the idea of open borders. Even Bernie Sanders opposes open borders! I’ve only recently begun to give serious thought to this question. While I’m certainly in no position to make an argumentative case for open borders, I can at least point out a few of the weaker arguments against it.

Consider, for instance, the assertion that we can’t have a country without borders. What that’s really saying is that we can’t have a country without restrictive immigration laws. Such an assertion is patent nonsense. Open borders doesn’t mean no borders. It means borders across which all people can pass with relative freedom. It doesn’t mean there’s no longer such a thing as individual nations with laws, customs, and, yes, citizenship requirements that are unique to a particular land mass defined by a set of geographical boundaries. Nor does it mean we no longer have a process for scrutinizing people who cross our borders, in order to prevent terrorists or dangerous drugs from entering our country.

As for what open borders does mean, why it is a morally compelling idea, and why the current border control regime is immoral, the following article makes an interesting case:

7 reasons why we should have open borders

The poet A. E. Stallings has written evocatively and powerfully on the question of borders. Here is one of her epigrammatic poems about the refugee crisis:

Proposed epitaph for drowned refugee children

Go tell the bureaucrats, passer by, that all is ship-shape, fine.
The stuff that trickles from your eye is only a little brine.

~ A. E. Stallings


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