The argument for open borders

Open borders has the ability to help the economy and reduce poverty


Tanner Smith, JagWire editor-in-chief

As the debate over immigration becomes increasingly politicized and it seems like immigration is all that we can talk about, it is important to look at some of the benefits that a more lax immigration system would allow for. Many of us are so concerned about the border wall that we forget to think about the opposite, more commonly referred to as ‘open borders.’ While the idea may sound scary, it is important to look at the good it could do. Along with being the morally right thing to do, an open border policy could help the economy, reduce worldwide poverty, decrease crime and terrorism and increase foreign relations.

One main argument against open borders is that immigrants will steal jobs and hurt the economy, but in reality immigrants don’t steal jobs or depress wages. As more immigrants come into the country a study by the Reason Foundation found that immigrants boost both the economy and the wages of both the immigrant and their American counterpart. Immigrants also significantly help job growth. For every immigrant who comes into the country, about five jobs are created, easily balancing out any jobs that immigrants might take. Even immigrants who go into lower skilled jobs don’t take jobs away from American workers because they find jobs in complementary fields. This fills needed gaps in the workforce and overall makes the economy a whole lot better.

In addition, open borders helps to better the economies of other nations and helps to decrease poverty. According to the Future of Humanity Institute, an open border policy would be able to almost completely eradicate poverty through increased trade and investment. This increased trade and cooperation could double the global GDP, adding 90 trillion dollars to the world economy. This would not only help economies such as the US to become more prosperous, it would also allow struggling people from all nations to rise out of poverty.

Although critics’ favorite argument against open borders is that we will be overrun with crime and terrorism, this simply is not the case. The laws set in place today are not magically all thrown out the window and criminals will still be prosecuted even if there is open borders. Overall a study by the Chicago Tribune found that immigrants on average commit less crimes than native-born Americans and do more to benefit society as a result. The chance of being negatively affected by an immigrant is abysmal, a study by Richard Jackson of the University of Otago found that the dangers you face everyday, such as driving on your way to school or work, pose more of a threat to you than an immigrant does. In addition, notions that terrorists will come to the United States as a result of open borders are completely unfounded. Increased immigration actually decreases the will for someone to become a terrorist. According to Wired many people become a terrorist because of discontent with their situation. By decreasing poverty and aiding the economy, open borders takes away some of this discotnetmant allowing them to improve their situation and hopefully not chose a life of terror. While open borders may not wipe out terrorism as a whole it could help to make it better through giving people a better life.

On top of everything else immigration helps to increase our foreign relations. As the number of immigrants coming to the United States increases, a study by the World Economic Forum found that this new immigration would boost cooperation and help countries overcome cultural barriers. This cooperation helps not only peace around the world but also strengthens trade, continuing to make these relations stronger.

Along with everything else an open border policy would be amazing for the immigrants. According to CNN, immigrants face widespread discrimination based on where they are born. Opening the borders would help to fix this by increasing the ability of people to get out of bad conditions and increase funding, through investments and remittances, to these places so they can help give people the resources they need to have a better life.

With all of the good open borders could do there is no reason that we should not implement it. The reason we don’t have open borders now is that immigration is politically divisive and both sides of the aisle can not agree on a policy. Political divisions is not a valid reason to stop progress. An open border policy, along with helping a lot of people, could help the economy, reduce worldwide poverty, help to mitigate crime and terrorism and increase foreign relations. All of this would make our world a better place for Americans and immigrants alike.

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