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Should countries accept immigrants?
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People have the right to live wherever they want

Progressives argue that borders should stay open because people have the right to migrate to wherever they want. The desire to migrate and settle in a more prosperous country is a purely rational one. Open borders is a good response to the huge economic inequalities in the world.

The Argument

One's country of birth does determine, to a significant extent, what one can expect to achieve in life. Some people are born into prosperous countries with rewarding paths of education and work, but others are born into countries with no promising paths of learning or livelihood. However, neither is responsible for their relative positions within global society.[1] Therefore, arbitrary borders do nothing but perpetuate this inequality. Pro-immigration arguments object to this massive international inequality. The average Swede, they maintain, only has a better life than the average Chadian because they were born in a flourishing environment; only because of luck do they enjoy a comfortable life.[1] So what grounds can the Swedes give for turning Chadians away from their borders—Chadians who want to migrate north and settle in a better social, political and economic environment? Keeping borders open is a necessary response to the serious economic inequalities that exist between different countries.[1]

Counter arguments

This argument for open borders assumes that inequality is fixable. Those who put forward this argument believe that every inequality that emerges from luck needs to be fixed.[1] For others, the real flaw in this argument is that its conclusion does not seem to follow from its ethical foundations. There are other means for prosperous nations to meet provide justice and meet their ethical obligations, not just open borders.[1] Foreign aid and investment is another form of justice that helps better the contexts of other countries[1] This is how wealthy individuals and countries can provide justice, without opening borders to all immigrants. For example, as long as Jeff Bezos gives a portion of his wealth to the less fortunate, he has every right to keep others out of his home. If the domestic environment is like this, then why should the international one be any different?



Rejecting the premises

Further Reading


This page was last edited on Monday, 30 Nov 2020 at 12:21 UTC

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