Nation-states maintain borders for safety, maintaining political jurisdiction. Yet, some forms of open borders exist between nation-states: the Schengen Agreement in the European Union, borders between India and Nepal, Ireland and the U.K., and the CA4 Border Control Agreement in Central America. Most nation-states maintain strict border controls, restricting travel between countries and barring entry to migrants. Millions of people risk their lives trying to cross borders into other countries. Some are fleeing violence and war; others are looking for better economic opportunities or to be reunited with family members. Borders protect but they also actively promote death and suffering, as seen in the strategic placement of border patrol along the US-Mexico borderlands. What are the possibilities of a world without borders?
No, we should keep our bordersShow moreShow less
Borders protect nation-states and ensure that governments can take care of their citizens. The cultural and economic gains possible from open borders are not worth the safety and economic risks that will occur if people freely migrate between nation-states.
Though many people migrate to a new country for better economic opportunities or to escape violence and war, we cannot ignore migrants who are criminals and terrorists seeking to take advantage of wealthier societies or disrupt the countries they migrate to.
Advocates for open borders cannot ignore security threats posed by criminal immigrants. In 2018, undocumented immigrants made up 26% of the federal prison population in the United States. In Sweden, migrants tend to commit more criminal activity, but it is because these migrants are young and male. At the same time, 73% of migrants to Europe are young males, according to Pew Research Center in 2016. Open borders would make it easier for young, male immigrants to enter countries, cause crime, and endanger citizens already living there.
Terrorists take advantage of refugees and asylum seekers into European countries. In November 2015, terrorists linked to ISIS killed 130 and injured 368 people across Paris. These terrorists were able to hide themselves along migrant routes between Syria and Europe. Open borders would only make such migrant routes easier to cross, thus making terrorist attacks more frequent.
Border controls do not necessarily and cannot prevent all national security threats.
A vetting process for immigrants, such as a background check, can still exist with open borders. Maintaining a vetting process while lessening immigration restrictions can still help countries prevent national security threats.
People will take advantage of resources in richer countries if they can, even if it means infringing on those countries' national sovereignty.
[P1] Some immigrants are terrorists and criminals who will take advantage of asylum seekers and citizens in the target country.
[P2] Opening borders will encourage freer movement between countries, including freer movement of terrorists and criminals.
[P3] Criminal immigrants and terrorists will endanger a country's citizens.