The discussion of open borders is one that’s become very heated over the past two decades, whether it’s regarding open borders to Mexico or maintaining open borders with immigrants/refugees from the Middle East. Even in the Anarcho-Capitalist community, the topic of open borders is one that is discussed at lengths, with people bringing up moral reasons as to why it should be a thing and others bringing up practical reasons as to why it shouldn’t be a thing. I’m going to present both of these arguments and their merits, then I’ll give my opinion on the subject as to how I feel things should be handled.
I’ll start off with the more “moral” approach to open borders, which is that any country should have open borders because:
1) We, as anarchists, bear no right to stop people from immigrating from place to place
2) By acknowledging and endorsing an closed borders policy, we are utilizing the power of the state to exercise what we feel is right
3) By giving the state this power, we surrender not only our own rights, but we violate the rights of others through the endorsement and use of the “majority ruling”
4) Through endorsing this power in the state, we give leeway to further violations of our rights and the rights of others, giving the state the option to decide who gets to come into a country, who doesn’t, and under what pretenses they may enter
Coming from a moral stance, these are all fair and valid points to use in objection to a closed borders policy. Although state power already exists and is exerted over the borders it claims to control, further endorsement of these powers lead to more regulations on both the citizen and the immigrant. In the case of the United States, people have complained as to the rigorous process in attaining US citizenship. Lots of paperwork, lots of courses in learning US culture, learning English (if the immigrant doesn’t already understand and speak a intermediate level of English), and the years of waiting to be approved for US citizenship. All the while, more taxpayer money is being poured into these agencies and in border control to keep this racket alive and well.
From this stance, we’re looking at this process as an absolutely immoral process that’s exerted by an immoral exertion of power by the people who claim to represent all of our best interests. Who are we to tell people, on the behalf of everyone, that they cannot enter this country, live here, work here, and be part of this culture and then demand money from them, which they have no control over where it goes or what that money funds, in order to do all of those things? In advocating against the state, to endorse in the state’s initiation of force on those who want to enter and live in what the state perceives to be “it’s” territory is, by this standard, to forsake the moral principles of Voluntarism and Anarcho-Capitalism.
As for the argument in favor of open/closed borders, which claims a more “practical” approach, its often argued that:
1) Regardless of what we want, the state will do what it wants and allow whoever they want
2) We are in an immoral scenario, meaning that taking a moral stance to the argument does not necessarily make it the right stance, in order to diminish and destroy the power of the state
3) Through advocating for an open borders policy, with the knowledge that a state governance being in affect, this only continues to allow the state to coerce people into the welfare system
4) In advocating for closed borders, we eliminate the massive tax placed upon the taxpayers to provide immigrants with state “welfare”, such as medical care, food stamps, state housing, public education, state/federal grants and scholarships rewarded only to certain ethnicities, and other “necessities” that the state gives to immigrants
I come from a family of immigrants, being a man of Hispanic descent, most of whom came during the early 20th century after WWII to escape poverty in Puerto Rico and Columbia. Although the immigration process was vastly different from the process we see today, my grandparents and other relatives were able to come to this country, start from virtually nothing, and start a new and prosperous life (in comparison to the ones back in the old country). As I wrote about in my article, “Is The American Dream Dead?”, the ability to build yourself up from nothing, due to state and federal regulations on commerce and businesses, has been systematically done away with. The days of people like my grandparents, uncles, aunts, and older cousins immigrating to this country and being able to be financially stable, by their own merit, is non-existent. For most immigrants to succeed in immigrating and creating that sort of life, they must already have relatives or friends in that country to boost them up.
From this stance, allowing the state to continue to use an open border policy to subsidize the welfare state and as a means of manipulating the people it governs into submission is inexcusable and an impractical method of ending the state. No matter how immoral it may be to refuse people the right to entry into what the state declares as its own property, we are in a situation of immorality and we must shunt and destroy the state’s means of funding of further violence against those it governs and those they seek to govern. By removing the state’s power to continue initiating force on others, we can work towards an anarchist society where we CAN allow anyone to move wherever they want without the worry of those people utilizing a state’s power to do so at everyone else’s expense.
Having summed those two arguments up, I can tell you that I advocate for the latter argument, with reservations. As I’ve stated in this article and others, Western governments have taken to utilizing open borders policies as a method of subsidizing and justifying war, tariffs and sanctions, domestic regulations on commerce and social policies, and the continuation of these infringements on our rights. Because there is no method of immigrants to enter the country and build a life outside of the means of the state and because, in the past 3 decades, immigrants of impoverished backgrounds have learned to rely on the state, it becomes an impractical and immoral method of ridding the state’s power by advocating for open or no borders.
Of course, there are small exceptions to this, because not all immigrants stay impoverished and become “welfare whores”, but the majority of immigrants do end up this way. Some, in the case of European countries like Germany, not by their choosing because of the country they’ve been forced to immigrate to. The state of the economy and job market cannot support this subsidization without collapsing, affecting and harming those who had no hand or voice in the matter. With the way the state has placed a vice-grip on businesses and trade, there is no way that people can engage in business without already having a substantial amount of wealth, connections, and the patience to deal with state rules, regulations, fines and fees, and the harassment they place on new and growing businesses.
Black market businesses and trading is off the table, due to the fact that there would have to be a massive amount of people engaging in black market dealing en masse to avoid the state punishing them for doing so. If there was any practical and effective measure of allowing people to enter countries and avoid relying on the state, I would advocate for it in a heartbeat. I would encourage and promote those measures adamantly and even get involved in those measures. However, in the current state of society and in the current economic climate, the only logical course of action to take is to advocate for a closed borders policy as a means of crippling and destroying the welfare state, which draws heavily from the taxation of citizens and those who wish to become citizens.