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?
Yes, we should abolish all borders
Borders—and border control—cause unneeded suffering, promote discrimination, and legally motivate border control to kill people seeking safety or better economic freedom. Borders should be abolished not just for the sake of human rights but also for improving countries' economies.
Moral Case: Open borders would reduce deaths and suffering
Millions of people die every year as a result of trying to cross borders illegally
Moral Case: Borders are a form of global discrimination
Rather than acting as a form of protection for nation-states, borders create and exacerbate global inequality. Borders preserve the privileges of wealthier countries and are a form of global apartheid.
Economic Case: Opening borders would help the world's economy
According to some economists, opening the borders could increase the world's GDP. Lessened border restrictions to allow people to work wherever jobs are is an opportunity for countries to stimulate their economies.
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.
Countries cannot economically or politically sustain open borders
Opening all borders would result in everyone migrating to richer, safer countries. These countries do not have the societal infrastructure to sustain the influx of immigrants.
Opening borders is like removing the doors from your home
When we put locks on our doors and fences around our home, we do so with the intention of protecting what we have created. A country has a culture that supports what it created, and borders help to protect that.