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Open Borders Need Open Arms

Open Borders Need Open Arms

Answering an appeal for open borders – such as the one made by Philippe Legrain in this issue of Ode (see Let them in!) – goes against human nature. We are genetically programmed to see people we don’t know as threats to our well-being. That mistrust remains even when to accept strangers would actually work to our benefit – as is the case with the immigration policies in developed countries.

To those with global visions, this fear of foreigners is morally reprehensible. By closing the borders – or only opening them a crack – we deny other world citizens the right to freedom of movement and self-advancement. That’s unfair for two reasons. One: Westerners have the freedom to travel the planet freely. Two: The blessings of the Western way of life are now part of the global consciousness, displayed via satellite and Internet for the world to see.

So they come. And they keep coming. It’s not a sinister invasion; just people seeking better lives. They know there’s work to be done here and that they can earn money to send home, where it’s worth a great deal more.

This situation could be a boon for the West. Immigrants offer us the opportunity to maintain a high standard of living while expanding the workforce as a solution to the problem of our aging populations. Meanwhile, current efforts to keep immigrants from crossing the borders continue to fail. Border patrols cost a lot in both tax money and human lives. The issue is not that border police kill so many immigrants – though it happens – but that this police presence forces migrants to seek increasingly dangerous routes. How long will we continue to look the other way given that strict immigration policies in Europe and the United States send so many people to their deaths at the same time as making human trafficking a lucrative trade that draws unscrupulous people?

Until border policies are relaxed, it’s important to regulate migrant workers both more efficiently and more compassionately. Europe has already taken important steps to do so. For instance, in February, the European Commission took steps toward opening “reception centres” in Africa and Eastern Europe to process those who wish to move to Western Europe, as well as introducing a “blue card,” the European equivalent of the American green card, which will allow illegal aliens to work legally.

Will open borders lead to mass migration? Unlikely. Back in 2004, Great Britain, Ireland and Sweden opened their borders to the 75 million inhabitants of Eastern Europe, including Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Finland, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain have since followed their example. Are these countries being flooded by desperate Eastern Europeans? No, the move has primarily prompted illegal aliens to register in their adopted countries. Immigration has not increased since the borders were opened. It only makes sense: The vast majority of people don’t want to leave home. That too is human nature.

Read more: Community, Do Good, Global Healing, Life, Mental Wellness, News & Issues, Spirit, , ,

By Marco Visscher, Ode Magazine

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Megan, selected from The Intelligent Optimist

Ode, the magazine for Intelligent Optimists, is an international independent journal that publishes positive news, about the people and ideas that are changing our world for the better.

85 comments

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5:06AM PST on Jan 20, 2011

Living within 3 miles of the US/Mexico border, we have a unique view on illegal immigration. Yes, it costs to police the border, and in the larger part, that policing fails to adequately contain the problem, but furthering anti-illegal sentiment is the fact that there are legal ways to pursue entry, and some, not all, illegals pose a major drain on a state's resources by adding to healthcare costs and food subsidy costs. Of course, there are other costs associated with this issue, and to be equally fair, some illegals immigrants bring economy related value to the local and regional areas they cross over in, but again, there are legal ways.
While I feel for every human life that is lost in the crossings, or is abused for profit (mules and coyotes), I cannot help but realize that this is the rpice they KNEW they could possibly pay for their illegal attempt to enter the USA. I fault all around, but I do not fault the governments involved since all they are trying to do is control the drain on their resources and help contain the flow of violence that often comes with the illegal immigrant trade.
Poverty and corruption seem to be root causes for these people (illegal immigrants) wanting to come to the USA, amongst others. I do believe that no person should be hungry, yet solving either problem requires some tough choices on the parts of those directly affected (the illegal immigrants), and thode indirectly affected (those paying for the illegal immigrants).
Illegal immigrants

2:28AM PDT on Jul 4, 2010

If there wasn't so much violence and fear of terrorism in the world, I think open borders would be a welcome thing. I love traveling to different countries and sometimes I think the border restrictions are too much. But if it protects me and others, I guess it's worth it. I can remember years ago when I used to go to Mexico with my parents. We just walked across the Texas/US border into Mexico. It only took a few minutes and we were free to go on our way.

5:00PM PDT on May 24, 2010

Very true, immigrants do help enhance our nation by bringing different viewpoints & customs.
Naturally I believe in following the laws of the land & wish immigration would be done legally, but it becomes hard to do with immigrants in desperate need of work in a country with a broken immigration system that needs an overhaul. Many people in the USA (particularly those of a certain race that shall remain nameless) probably like it broken since they know it can take years & years of bureaucratic red tape before immigrants become legal citizens which allows more time for them to remain the majority in this country.
It’s also good to remember that NOT all immigrants are bad people and NOT all Hispanics are Mexican, illegal immigrants or bad people.
Much of the resentment stems from the bad economy & people resorting to nationalism & protectionism and using immigrants & Hispanics in general as scapegoats for everything wrong in this country. It would be a better idea to really stop & look at yourself & figure out just what it is that bothers you about immigration & Hispanics in particular instead of lumping people together & making sweeping statements. Plus, you never know who may one day become your brother-in-law, sister-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, best friend, neighbor, boss, co-worker, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc.

4:39PM PDT on May 23, 2010

I agree with Margaret and James. My mother and grandparents came here legally in 1927. They had to work very hard to learn this language, our government, and become citizens. They had to wait their turn, which meant that they were not able to come until they were about 60 years old. They cherished their citizenship because it was hard won.

I agree that this nation stands for melding of nationalities. We do take in the "huddled masses", but can't let EVERYONE in. Each person, who wants to come here, must wait his/her turn and do so legally. Further, when my mother and grandparents came, they had to have a sponsor, who vouched for them, that they would not be a drain on the social system. My grandparents never collected unemployment or any other kind of social support. In fact, when my grandfather retired, he at first firmly rejected applying for social security, because he thought it was shameful to have to take money from the government. Times have changed, but so have those values.

It is impossible for anyone to compare the US with many other countries, which have open borders. The Scandinavian countries, for example, are not bordered by countries that are so corrupt and dysfunctional, that their own citizens must leave in droves, in order to earn a living. That is simply not a fair comparison.

Nor is this a race issue. If Canadians or Germans were flocking illegally to the US in the same numbers Latin Americans are, the same problems would obtain.

3:50PM PDT on May 14, 2010

I've always been open to others since I'm multi-cultural. I'm not even from America. I'm Belgian. My dad is from Togo, West Africa. Well my mom is Caribbean (the Americas).

11:55AM PDT on May 6, 2010

Right now I am totally against open borders but deep down I know that is going to happen as we will become the Great Northern States, Mexico, the USA, and Canada, not the United States of America. Believe me, it is just another stepping stone to the NWO and One World Government. There have been plenty of opportunities for the borders to be secured in the last 20-30 years but the government simply has refused to push the agenda, making all kinds of excuses. The governor of Ar got on TV and said racial profiling would not be tolerated and that isn't what the bill was about, that people were judging without reading it. Give her a chance to define the path to coming in legally. Right now the state is being bombarded with drug cartels, robbings, killings. She really does want things fair and balanced. Anyone one else trying to do that? The president? Anyone else trying to balance the budget of these states that are being overrun with illegals and the spending to house, feed, educate, and provide health care until they become legal? Even then they can't pay their own way for the most part. Not racist here as I include ALL illegals in America. But open borders, super highways, a welcome mat to Muslims ( and here I have to wonder why); America will fall because that is what they want, that is what they are pushing for. Don't believe me? Just sit back and watch and truthfully, I'll keep praying that I am wrong.

8:18PM PDT on May 4, 2010

What is the big deal. Freedom of choice
People should be able to go where ever they want.
pat

8:27AM PDT on May 4, 2010

Thank you for this post...Stephanie Alt, MS http://stephaniealt.com/

Some need to examine where their hatred is originates...b

7:38AM PDT on May 4, 2010

thanks for sharing

11:33PM PDT on May 3, 2010

Great post and true, too; I´m from Finland and even though we have "open" borders, there hasn´t been any fllood of people coming in. For me, it´s difficult to understand why the same wouldn´t work everywhere else as well.

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