Open Borders Is Neither Moral Nor Practical

Published on February 18th, 2015

“Open borders” is the agenda of many mass immigration promoters. The idea is that anyone from abroad who wants to cross our border and settle in the United States should have the right to do so. But aside from zany libertarians, most of these advocates don’t explicitly endorse what they believe because they know how preposterous it sounds to most people. Sometimes they are globalists who are advancing political and economic goals at odds with the interests of most of their fellow citizens – thus the need to conceal their aims.

Open borders basically means that citizens have no right to decide what kind of country they want to have. The notion is therefore undemocratic, and suggests that countries have no real significance. Nevertheless, it seems that more open borders advocates are coming out of the closet and proclaiming their view without apology.

To put a good face on open borders, advocates try to portray it as a morally superior position. An article recently published by Open Borders: The Case expresses this view, stating, “Open Borders activists may erode support for migration controls by simply pointing out that human beings have a right to peacefully move across national borders as they would internal borders as long as they do not harm others.”

Further, some of them claim that open borders is morally correct because it will allow people from poor countries to move to places like the U.S. where they can become much more prosperous. One of them fantastically claims that “the upside of open borders would be the rapid elimination of absolute poverty on earth.” Another maintains that open borders could double the world GDP, and he has “research” – at least partially completed research – to prove it.

And what would happen to American workers if the poor of the world inundate our labor market even more than now? Well, say the open borders folks, don’t worry. They also claim that “studies” prove that massive immigration during the past five decades has scarcely reduced the wages of “average” U.S. workers, if any at all! So even more couldn’t hurt – could they?

Well, the fact of the matter is that the U.S. has suffered notable wage suppression during the past several decades of large-scale immigration, even as productivity has increased. Immigration has disproportionately held down the wages of poor and low-skilled Americans, according to Harvard economist George Borjas, a recognized leader in this field of research. He also has found that immigration, by holding down wages of less affluent Americans for the benefit of employers, is essentially transferring wealth from poor citizens to better-off Americans.

Thus, as open border promoters stand as advocates of the poor, it seems that the well-being of disadvantaged American citizens is not one of their priorities. And with completely open borders the stress on working Americans will get much worse. A Gallup Poll found that 150 million people around the world would like to move to the U.S. With family reunification largely guiding our immigration policy, this means that they could bring in their relatives, who in turn could bring in their relatives. Thus within 20 years, immigration could add a half billion or more people to our current population of 320 million.

Can anyone doubt that such a deluge of people would swamp us, break our national cohesion with unassimilable diversity, and ultimately create economic conditions in the U.S. not much different from the immigrants’ home countries?

The key reasons for poverty in many poor countries are cultures of family favoritism and corruption which retard economic development. To let those cultures take root here is of no benefit to anyone. Encouraging people to stay where they are and deal with their problems is the most humane and practical solution to poverty. In any case, most people prefer what is familiar to them, so they will choose to remain in their homelands regardless of whether we open our borders. Thus, they must prosper at home if they are to prosper at all.

Open borders advocates misunderstand morality by imagining that unrestrained individual freedom is the pinnacle of ethics. They ignore the ties of society and country, and the proper desire of people to maintain those connections of allegiance and loyalty. Enthusiasts for open borders are wise to hide their full intentions. But wisdom, alas, does not easily restrain people committed to the folly of a borderless world.

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