Open English Borders

I am in favor of open borders for economic and moral reasons. It’s not crazy, however, to be concerned about some of the potential consequences of immediately opening borders between countries with very different income levels, culture or history. It is crazy, however, to fear opening borders between countries with similar income levels, culture and history. Thus, I fully support the petition of the Commonwealth Freedom of Movement Organisation:

Because of the unique relationship and socio-economic bonds that the U.K, Canada, Australia and New Zealand share, we believe that each country can benefit from a free movement agreement with each other, similar to the policies of the European Union and the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement (T.T.T.A) between Australia and New Zealand.

We propose that the governments of the aforementioned countries finalise agreements (and inevitably, legislation) which make it possible for citizens to move freely with no restrictions regarding work permits or visa controls.

Amen to that.

The only problem with agreements like this is that the very big gains come from opening up borders between countries that are different. Still, I am for lowering transportation and transaction costs. I do hope, however, that more people will come to appreciate that the right to move is a human right and not just a right of the British and their colonial cousins.

Addendum: Open Borders Day is coming on March 16. Write about open borders–pro or con–on that day. Let’s peacefully debate.


looks like the silliness is starting to crack

"I am for lowering transportation and transaction costs." That's a cruel dig at Australians I suppose. Or was it just tin-eared?

Well, at least the EU gets Italian kiwis, with much lower transportation and transaction costs....

Thought experiment.

We open the border between Canada and the U.S. I move to a house close to the old border. I work in the US for lower taxes but go to hospitals in Canada because they are free at use.

So the US gets my revenue and Canada gets my costs.

To fix this the countries need to align their policies, as we see increasingly in the EU today. Counties become more similar with decision making for the whole becoming more centralized.

Differences fade which means the element of competition does too.

What libertarian would propose the end of differences and competition?

Lol yeah right

There's this pesky little thing called "residence"...

"Thus, I fully support the petition of the Commonwealth Freedom of Movement Organisation."

And over here, why don't we see if we can start with re-opening the damn border with Canada? It's beyond ridiculous that driving from Germany to France (involved in death-match wars twice in living memory and who have a hell of a lot more to worry about from local terrorists) is no more eventful than in driving from Michigan to Ohio, but driving across the bridge from Michigan to Ontario is often such a time-consuming PITA that it's almost not worth the trouble.

And what if we burn down the Parliament and the White House again?

Need a match?

Excellent idea. Maybe if the Commonwealth thing succeeds it will give it a nudge?

You open the border with Canada, and from there it's a hop, skip and a jump to resurrecting the British Empire and putting us all under the thumb of the House of Windsor.

The right to spread 3rd world diseases is a human right?

As is the right to abscond into America and immediately benefit from free health care, education, welfare, etc. all paid for by the American taxpayers.

You can have your welfare state and you can have your open borders, but not both.

One positive, this will overload the welfare state and hopefully cause its collapse. Then, they'll blame Bush and the tea party.

Not to mention ISIS infiltartors . . .

It takes years before immigrants are eligible to participate in gov't assistance programs. And during those years that they aren't eligible they still pay taxes towards those things. I was just reminded of this yesterday when my wife and I were doing our taxes and I had to listen to yet another rant about how much was taken out for US gov't programs she pays into but can't benefit from (not that she needs or wants to use the just bothers her in principle that she has to pay for something they won't let her use). Also, part of the immigration process involves proving that you will not be a burden on the welfare state (and, if you are, that your sponsor will reimburse the state).

Of course, very few people qualify to immigrate into the US (and even if they do, the process is very long and expensive), so some opt just to skip all that and enter on a temporary visa and stay illegally, avoiding the hassle and rules mentioned above. Creating new and easier paths for legal immigration would put more people under the rules that safeguard against abuse of the welfare state.

I don't know where this idea that immigrants have to wait for years before they get taxpayer assistance comes from.

This woman has been in the US for three years and knows 3 words of English. Her Obamacare bill is $.27 (that's cents not dollars) a month.

She also has 2 children. it's not clear if they are in school yet, but when they do they'll cost 12,570 per kid per school year.

There are sorts of loopholes for Cubans, Haitains, refugees, "victims" of trafficking and such.


The law includes important exceptions for certain types of services. Regardless of their status, “not qualified” immigrants remained eligible for emergency Medicaid [13] if they are otherwise eligible for their state’s Medicaid program. The law does not restrict access to public health programs providing immunizations and/or treatment of communicable disease symptoms (whether or not those symptoms are caused by such a disease). School breakfast and lunch programs remain open to all children regardless of immigration status, and every state has opted to provide access to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).[15] Short-term noncash emergency disaster assistance remains available without regard to immigration status. Also exempted from the restrictions are other in-kind services necessary to protect life or safety, as long as no individual or household income qualification is required.

And of course this presupposes that the aid dispensing agencies are interested in checking whether folks are not eligible for these programs in the first place.

Not to mention all the gov't money that gets funneled to non-profits to help immigrants cope in their new surroundings.

Oops! Forgot the link:

Yes, low-wage workers (both immigrant and non-immigrant) cost the country more in services than they generate in tax revenues. Educating their children is a significant chunk of this cost. There are also hidden costs such as subsidies for transit which is primarily used by low-income workers.

The obvious solution is to import only higher-income workers. It's quite hard to work out how much an immigrant will actually earn. Australia and Canada both use a points-based system in which points are a loose proxy for earnings potential.

If you need to import low-income workers (not that America needs any more), you should restrict their access to services. For example in Singapore you can hire a Filipino maid, who will be subject to mandatory blood tests every six months. If the tests reveal that she is pregnant, her visa is revoked and she is deported. Similar rules apply in other wealthy states such as the United Arab Emirates.

Educating children is an investment, not an expense.

"Educating children is an investment, not an expense."

False dichotomy. Investments start with expenses. The question is whether they pay back the investment and provide some profit.

And you need to remember that the vast majority of us are net tax losses who will never pay for our benefits.

Unless you're making that child a doctor or an engineer, it's a loss. A _bad_ investment.

Refugees have different rules than regular immigrants. They are a tiny fraction of the immigrant pool, and would be even a tinier fraction if a higher level of ordinary immigrants moving for economic reasons were allowed.

In addition, California undocumented immigrant adults are eligible to obtain (state level) college financial aid, to receive police and emergency services, to receive child protective services, to receive hospital emergency room treatment and mental health services, to take the bar exam, and to take the driver's license exam (California just spent over $100 million to expand its DMV facilities to allow for testing of hundreds of thousands of new undocumented applicants.)

The government also pays for upkeep and maintenance on facilities such as roads, state/county/municipal parks, hiking trails, beaches.

The problem is that all of these facilities and services become oversubscribed, overburdened, diminished, weakened. Some become dysfunctional.

Open borders and the human right to travel are wonderful ideals. But what is needed is a corresponding open waterfall of cash to pay for it all.

I suggest that open borders theoreticians deliver and argue for a detailed, realistic, politically acceptable taxation and regulation model -- something truly innovative, not just another articulation of existing models which are not working. What is needed is a model that absolutely guarantees state and local governments adequate funding levels so that all these government sponsored services and facilities can be paid for indefinitely.

>It takes years before immigrants are eligible to participate in gov’t assistance programs.

This is an outright lie.

In Massachusetts at least, the Government is forbidden to ask about your immigration status before handing you free taxpayer money.

IRS just decided that illegal immigrants can receive back EITC from when they did not have social security numbers. Democrats are really, really trying hard to buy new voters.

As a former consular officer (some of the best people to talk to about immigration, actually see the sausage in person and the kind of [often crappy]) immigrants we are getting), your first para is wrong (with respect).

New immigrants are generally not eligible for FEDERAL programs, but are usually eligible for state and local programs, and the game changes completely once they have children.I feel pity for NYC taxpayers -- basically keeping the DR afloat, while the immigrants commit amazing amounts of tax fraud (which you see when they try to bring up family members) and do very little in the way of W2 work. "Vendo ropa en la calle" is a popular one.

The Affidavit of Support is a joke, one of those painful lies Congress requires to CYA but which does absolutely nothing. Admittedly it has been a few years since I checked, but the last time I looked, one had never been used in court. We rouotinely found people who signed 50-100+ affidavits. They are a scam, and the government does not go after people who sign them because of resource constraints. You are kidding yourself if you think they are worth anything.

And the system encourages all sorts of problems, and is routinely abused by people to a degree it is not worth getting into now.

Reforming the system to bring in highly educated immigrants would be a great start -- at the moment we are importing millions of poor people who are staying poor. It makes no sense.

De[roting people who overstay their visa would be nice too.

New immigrants are generally not eligible for FEDERAL programs, but are usually eligible for state and local programs, and the game changes completely once they have children.I feel pity for NYC taxpayers

You can thank @%$& federal judges for that.

Sounds like the real qualification we are selecting for is "must be very good at paperwork"


It is my understanding that on the laws, there are rules about immigrants not getting welfare, but that they never enforce the laws. I know that when my wife got her green card, I had to sign an affidavit of support and would have to pay back the government for any welfare she took.

But I don't believe they ever check these things.

The same with adults only receiving EBT for a short time and then get cut off forever.

I recall a news report of a surfer dude on EBT and he said they don't actually enforce this rule, and you can just lie.

Plus there are a billion exceptions: women, children, "hardship" whatever.

Financial sponsorship is mostly a joke. It has to be since a sponsor only has to make 125% of poverty level to be a sponsor. Incredible, isn't it?

The five year wait for benefits has a lot of exceptions.

As far as I know, all Social Security and Medicare payments that are withheld are credited.

Most people make a lot more money in the US than they would in their home countries. All these complaints about the cost of legal immigration from people with good incomes have always struck me as, well, somewhat odd. And people never say how much it cost -- only that it was very expensive.

Meanwhile, it is a fact that tens of thousands of poor people in the US bring in their overseas relatives to the US every year.

Why would it cause the welfare state to collapse?

"Why would it cause the welfare state to collapse?"

Your average US immigrant pays less that the median worker per capita tax rate. And much less than the mean worker per capita tax rate.

They wouldn't be able to spend as much as they want to, but they could still tax the hell out of the remaining White minority.

And once again the wallet takes the day. Perhaps sometime in the future we'll learn to think beyond our pocketbook.

Maybe when hugs replace dollars as a medium of exchange.

"Perhaps sometime in the future we’ll learn to think beyond our pocketbook."

Europe managed to do that.
Twice, in the 20th century. It's not all it's cracked up to be.

Oh, a sociopath on the internet. How original.

I think what's going on here is the Anglo's want plenty of options in case they need to bug out from their own locality's multicultural dysfunction. Alternatively, they may foresee encouraging their own naturalized diversity to migrate to more wide open spaces so they can re-capture city centers.

Anyway, I'm glad to see Alex acknowledging it might not be such a good idea for Israel to open her borders.

Maybe this will cause them all to have tighter borders, since if New Zealand lets in ISIS terrorists, they're letting them into Australia and the UK and Canada as well. Borders within open, but borders on the outside will drift to the most secure nation's standard.

The whole project reminds me of a Paul Johnson proposal, which would also include the US, a common market and include a common trade currency.

Aussies and Kiwis like to visit the UK for a few years. Poms like to get the hell the out of the mother country for the rest of their lives. It has ever been thus. The only effect that "multiculturalism" has on this to draw brown buggers like me into it.

I had to look up that acronym. POMs comes from 'prisoner of mother England'

Shouldn't that be POME?

Though I may start using POM as an appropriate acronym for my helicopter parent childhood.

Pom = POHM = Prisoners of Her Majesty,

Though, as you point out, Helicopter Mother will work as well.

Pubs are in decline. There aren't enough bar jobs to sustain an influx of Australians.

Seriously though, the percentage of Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians that can obtain an EU passport through one of their grandparents is already massive whilst the reverse is tiny. A policy like this would redress some of that imbalance

Grandchildren of Irish citizens might be interested to know that there's a process that allows you to obtain an Irish passport.

I would do it myself but I had Irish great-grandparents, not grandparents, and my father would have had to do it before such-and-such a date for me to qualify through him (1980-something I think).

My wife and her siblings fall into this category and many have taken advantage of it. It's an incredibly useful option to have available.

Until they stop taxing on a territorial basis.

There's no shortage of British immigration to Australia. With its points-based system, it's not too hard for any native-English speaking Brit (even the ones from up north who speak funny) with some sort of skill - college education, a trade - to meet the threshold.

While this would be a sensible start, why stop there? Freedom of movement with the UK, Japan, and Korea would also make a lot of sense.

Why not throw in HK and SG while you're at it?

Isn't Alex Tabarrok Canadian? So he's talking his book? And what about our amigos south of the border? I guess they don't share Whitey's White-ness, eh?

As others have pointed out they're white when they do bad things and diverse when they do good things.

This would be fine except that nowadays a lot "British" people, etc., aren't really British.

Do you mean Aussies, Kiwis and Poms are presumably good and decent people, except when they are darkies?

Predictably and pathetically, he means exactly that.

Not at all. Alex's argument is that those nations have "similar income levels, culture and history." But is that really true of, say, the Pakistani population in the UK? Not even close. All I'm saying is the common culture argument doesn't necessarily hold anymore given the increasing multiculturalism of modern nations.

What is the theoretical difference between incentives for migration between different nations with an open border and different regions within the same nation? For example, if people from poor nations would flock to the US if the US opened its borders, why do people in, say, Appalachia not flock to Washington DC, and other wealthy areas? I'm sure lots have, but I hardly hear residents of Northern Virginia calling for border controls with West Virginia. More specifically, if it were true that open borders would pretty rapidly lead to equalization in wages between nations, why does it not lead to equalization of wages within a large nation like the US?

The difference is Appalachia gets fed dollars from Arlington.

They don't ask for border controls between rich and poor areas. They use more subtle means. Stop and Frisk. Zoning. Gentrification. Section 8 programs for the suburbs. You need to read more Steve Sailer.

Cost of living.

The difference in incomes across states is largely explained by the urban v. rural distribution. States with larger urban centers have higher incomes (and higher cost of living), but once you've made the decision about which environment you want to live in, there's not much income difference moving from one state to the next.

That is certainly not true. Iowa is much richer than South Carolina despite a similar level of urbanization.

It isn't.

IA GDP per capita is $42K, SC is $32K. The difference is a little smaller if you look at household income, $49K vs $42K, but still pretty large.

@KPres: somewhat true, but there are expensive urban centers (SF, NYC, Boston, DC) and then less expensive but still plenty urban ones (Chicago, Pittsburgh, Houston, Denver, etc)

Minimum lot sizes, historic districts, aggressive wetland zoning, property taxes, government farmland purchases, and any of the many methods of keeping cost of living high, are defacto border controls for wealthy areas.

For example, Massachusetts public schools are nominally open to anyone, but really they're public in name only. In my lovely town there's a teardown on a wet 1/2 acre lot going for $950k. Think of it as pre-paid tuition.

I don't think anybody really thinks full wage equalization is likely. But it would be surprising if everything didn't get pulled in the direction of the median, and I think that does happen between regions of the U.S.

why does it not lead to equalization of wages within a large nation like the US?
The gap between the most affluent state (Connecticut) and the least affluent state (Mississippi) - i.e. between the most affluent 1.3% and the least affluent 0.9% - in terms of nominal personal income per capita is about a third the dimension of the gap between Mexico and the United States. [ln (.56) / ln (0.2) = 0.33].

And the question is, what would West Virginia residents have to do in terms of preparation to earn what are prevailing wages in Maryland and what non-salable benefits do they abjure when they leave West Virginia for Maryland?

Eastern WVA is a bedroom community for D.C. already. Skews the calculus.

In the presence of professional certifications, licensing laws, a small stream of tenured positions, and other stable barriers to competition enjoyed by the top half of society, it is bitterly ironic to hear that stratum making the "moral" case for increased immigration -- meaning increased immiseration of the poorer members of their own society, with a simultaneous gain for themselves. The upper middle class (see is once again showing its skill in acting with maximal self-interest, while pretending to be interested in the good of all.

When (if ever) immigrants are a threat to the livelihood of America's lawyers, doctors, and professors, there will be a sudden surge of enlightenment about the moral case against immigration, and of papers elucidating the pernicious effects of brain drain and intra-borders inequality. Until then, there will be only attempts like this, apologetics for the sociopathic self-interest of the author's own class.

"In the presence of professional certifications, licensing laws, a small stream of tenured positions, and other stable barriers to competition enjoyed by the top half of society, it is bitterly ironic to hear that stratum making the “moral” case for increased immigration."

You'll find that the same libertarians who favor open borders also oppose to professional certifications, state licensing, etc:

True, there are principled libertarians in this debate -- though I suspect them of envisioning themselves in protected enclaves, using free-market mechanisms to keep the favelas away from their doors. But they are an insignificant part of the national debate; for example, I have seen no indication that President Obama's recent executive action was motivated by libertarian considerations.

You don't need a 'protected enclave' to stay out of the slums -- you only need to earn enough to afford to live elsewhere. As is the case in countries that actually have favelas -- and in the U.S., too, for that matter. No need for a 'protected enclave' to avoid the 'favela' neighborhoods in Detroit -- just enough money to move to Oakland county. But would allowing more immigrants make life worse in the city? Almost certainly not -- 'Mexicantown' is Detroit's best lower-income neighborhood, and those folks are actually moving IN rather than out, except, of course, when they're being deported:

And yes, I agree, Obama's actions stemmed from political calculation rather than from principles (libertarian or otherwise).

I can't speak to lawyers and doctors, nor all professors in all departments, but in economics it's quite common to have a large percentage of the tenured or tenure-track professors be foreign-born. My department is about 25 percent American-born and 75 percent foreign-born. The job market for new tenure-track hires has a disproportionately large number of immigrants compared to other professions.

This claim that professors would have a major change of heart on immigration should they have to compete for jobs against foreigners rings hollow since they already do and have done so for quite some time. In fact, I'd argue it's probably the opposite. It's been so common in academia for so long that professors have too much first-hand experience with the issue to fall for the bogeyman scare tactics of the anti-immigration crowd.

professors have too much first-hand experience with the issue to fall for the bogeyman scare tactics of the anti-immigration crowd.

And you don't have to live in neighborhoods where gang violence is a problem.

@Nylund: That is a valid point (bearing in mind that those faculty who did lose their jobs to increased competition are no longer writing academic papers). I can't easily find a non-anecdotal overall statistic which would summarize it, though.

In my experience, the demographics of professors reflects the demographics of grad schools, at least the good ones (I am talking about STEM fields.) When it comes to getting faculty positions and eventually tenusre, it is often foreign PhDs who are competing with other foreign PhDs.

Immigration issues and competing with immigrants for the tiny number of economists worldwide who compete in the US for new tenure track positions is quite different than immigration and competing with immigrants for the rest of America and the rest of the world.

If anything, it seems to me the very untypical first-hand experience of this highly insular and elite group of economists should make them particularly cautious about what they advocate concerning immigration and immigrants.

Economist Dean Baker makes a similar argument about trade agreements and their impact upon doctors and lawyers.

" ... recent trade agreements have done little or nothing to put highly educated professionals like doctors and lawyers in competition with their counterparts in the developing world. The same argument for gains from trade that economists used to justify deals like NAFTA would apply to proposals to make it easier for foreign professionals to train to U.S. standards and work in the United States. The lower pay to doctors and lawyers would save us tens of billions a year on health care costs and legal fees."

That's pretty nonsensical since other countries have different laws. Also there is a thriving industry of legal outsourcing in India and of course the U.S. (LegalZoom etc.). Lawyers are not even remotely in the same class as doctors.

You maybe should level this complaint at someone other than Alex Tabarrok.

And even if we are to consider the complaint despite its poor choice of target, did you read the post? Do you really think *Canadians* moving to Great Britain is going to result in the immiseration of lower-class Britons?

Maybe we have greater tolerance of other cultures because we have borders,

They are there and we are here, and we can visit on vacation for two weeks, but if we had no borders between us

We would not mix so well.

I'm talkin' to you, Canada.

Why would that apply more to Washington/BC than Washington/Oregon or Michigan/Ontario vs Michigan/Ohio? As a Michigan resident, I can tell you there are any number of states in the U.S. where the people/food/culture/climate/dialect etc feels more markedly more foreign than Ontario does.

Because we at least all subscribe to the same cable channel packages in the US. I have no idea what Canadians watch. CBC, Hockey Night in Canada, reruns of The Kids in the Hall, presumably, but other than that....?

You may be surprised to learn that Canadians watch pretty much watch the same stuff as Americans, plus a few Canadian channels, and minus a few U.S. channels (e.g. TSN instead of ESPN).

The American-Canadian border was never "open", but passports were not required and a trip across (for US or Canadian citizens) generally involved no more than a brief stop at customs.

I'm much more anti-immigration than most on this site, but I agree with reopening the Canadian border for the US.

For the UK, the difficulty with the Commonwealth is that the Commonwealth, like the original British Empire, covers something like a quarter of the US population (and now includes countries that were never British colonies). The other difficulty is the EU. I don't know how to get around the relevant EU regulations. With the Commonwealth, you would basically have to state flat out that the four original Dominions (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa) are preferred because of stronger historical ties and cultural affinities.

"Cultural affinities" => exclude the Quebecois and the Afrikaaners.

Hm. South Africa? doesn't mention it.

South Africa? Back when it was whites-only, yes. Now that it is 80% nonwhite, nonEuropean, No.

When South Africa was whites-only?

As Alex may be aware, and as any reader of UK tabloids will be aware, Romania has free movement with the UK. Therefore, this proposal must entail free movement among Canada, the UK and Romania/Bulgaria. Indeed, the UK has chosen to open borders to dissimilar countries in this regard, and it almost certainly gains more than from a comparable relationship with New Zealand. This is just a symbolic act of cultural preference on the monarchists' part - if Commonwealth, why no South Africa? If Anglophone whites, why not the USA or Ireland? Hmmmm.

'Romania has free movement with the UK'

Not precisely - the UK and Ireland are not part of the Schengen zone, which means that everyone is checked at the border before entering the UK and Ireland. And also need to have a passport (non-EU citizens) or EU conform ID (EU citizens) to leave those island nations.

What all EU citizens have is a right to reside in any EU country, after filling out the necessary paperwork. A French citizen has every right to live in Germany - exercising that right is more involved than moving from Virginia to Maryland (as most of the Germans who bought property in the Alsace will tell you, especially the notiveably large number that that give it up after a few years, even though they lived 10 miles away from the German border).

The EU has free movement in exactly the sense that this proposal is free movement. If we're being trollishly technical, you don't necessarily need a passport to leave the non-Schengen countries of the EU, and neither is in fact an island country.

This isn't true. The policy would almost certainly be based on UK citizenship.

Could Romanians just move to the UK, get citizenship, and move on? Not really. An EU national has to live in the UK for at least six years and prove knowledge of English in order to become a British citizen. This would stop most of the flow from the EU into the other partner countries to this agreement.

British subjects can already move throughout the empire unimpeded. There are certainly no barriers for the resident of Australia or Canada within the imperial realms, I am not quite certain what you're getting on about Alex.

Alex is talking about residency and authorization to work, not just tourism. As an Australian citizen (whose English ancestory is before my grandparents) I can readily visit the UK (six months, visa free), but I have no ready access to a work or residency permit.

I believe British citizens will need a visa to visit and/or work in her largest former colony; unless they have other connections with the said colony.

When will Mr. Tabarrok fight for the rights of Americans with DUIs to enter Canada?

I'm partial to more tech immigration, but some degree of border control is necessary.

There's actually a big gain from immigration that is bigger the more similar two countries are. That is feelings of brotherhood and unity of culture (if that's a gain, which I think it would be in this case). That was old Chamberlain's (not his more famous son's) argument for Imperial Preference, the 1910 commonwealth tariffs.

How similar are Canadian and British cultures, really?

How different are they, really?

I'm an American who has lived in Britain for several years--not exactly the same comparison but close enough. There are many superficial differences (accents, word usage, sports, etc.), but culturally it's not that different. It's not like moving to China.

As similar as they are, they still face differing resources, population densities, and laws. If their immigration desires and laws differ this would undermine local control. Of course, libertarians favor local control except when it conflicts with their control.

Of course, libertarians favor local control except when it conflicts with their control.
Libertarians of the Reason Foundation stripe take no interest in local control. Municipal councillors they fancy are inferior beings and not fit to rule superior beings such as themselves. Rather, people who favor local control also adhere to some libertarian viewpoints. As regards abstract discussions, 'subsidiarity' is a term you hear among votaries of Catholic Social Teaching, not libertarians.

I am truly thankful to the holder of this website who has shared this great piece of writing at at this time.

Globalization at work, with someone who has a truly sincere interest in the subject.

A better bot would realize that this would be very harmful to business.

It is crazy, however, to fear opening borders between countries with similar income levels, culture and history.

You fancy it's 'crazy' for me not to want American immigration policy driven by whomever politicians in Britain, Australia, and Canada elect to allow in the door?

Don't make him think it through. The no-borders crowd does NOT like to think things through.

It is crazy, however, to fear opening borders between countries with similar income levels, culture and history.

How similar are the income levels between Australia and the other Anglosphere countries? According to the IMF 2013 Data Australia's GDP per capita is 64,578$, Britain's is 39,372$, New Zealand's is 40,516$. But Britain also has "open borders" with countries like Greece(21,857$) and Poland.(13,435$) We have seen in the example of New Zealand a considerable number have immigrate, 640,770 New Zealand citizens live in Australia,* a large number compared to New Zealand's population of 4.5 million people. A large number of immigrants from Britain and elsewhere in Europe could have the effect of lower wages for Australian workers. This is something that should be carefully considered.


I think if you ultimately want a fairly libertarian legal structure implemented anywhere, a sure way to reduce the likelihood of it ever occurring is to make Exit even easier than it already is for intelligent and fairly-well-off people. If we can always hop to the currently least-oppressive place, there is less reason to put in the effort typically required to end that oppression in our current jurisdiction.

I think you have it exactly backwards. Having to compete with free-er jursidictions will force other countries to be competitive.

the right to move is a human right

There are no universal rights. Rights are granted and enforced by governments, and are granted to protect citizens (or subjects) from the arbitrary actions of their governors/rulers. What government is supposed to enforce "the right to move"? Whom do I appeal to if my rights are being infringed? Do I, as a citizen, have the right to expect my government to protect me and and my property from unwanted intruders? Either Alex hasn't thought this through, or is engaging in pure demagoguery.

There is no Right to Movement except on property you own. Moving on other peoples property is a privilege, the terms which must be negotiated with the owner and that owner has the right to refuse.

It has taken a huge amount of government force to create the illusion today of a Right to Movement. But this so-called Right has come at the expense of property owners who are forced to accommodate the movement of people the government support.

Borders are natural parts of property ownership, the governments of the world have forced up to 7 billion property owners to consolidate their borders down to a couple of hundred.

When a government becomes underfunded and overburdened, it loses the ability to adequately protect the rights of its residents. This practical, budgetary problem goes unappreciated by a lot of immigration idealists.

Here's a story about LA County's recent increase in funding for its family and child services budget.

"The new budget includes $6.8 million for the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to hire 50 additional social workers to reduce caseloads that are often far beyond recommended state and federal levels.

Last year, social workers staged a walkout and later went on strike to protest high caseloads and conditions that leave many social workers ill-equipped to meet the needs of vulnerable children in foster care.

Los Angeles County Chief Executive Officer William T. Fujioka acknowledged that the challenges faced by DCFS social workers contributed to the decision to use newly available revenue from the state to increase the number of social workers in the county."

Given an open borders policy, what recourse to local and state governments have when their social services departments become overwhelmed?

Wouldn't it be helpful if they could sharply reduce the flow of new cases (by, for example, reducing the inflow of poor people from outside the country) at least for the period of time required to reform the department?

Open borders policies do not fairly address this kind of practical governance problem. The ability of a local government to competently manage huge upswings in case loads is limited. Budgets do not automatically increase just because demand does. It takes time, sometimes years or decades to adjust. And during that time, the clients of these agencies suffer harm, perhaps irreparable harm.

How can a national open borders policy be made fair and equitable to local and state governments and their pre-existing client bases? That is a critical question here.

The existing citizens of a country have an absolute moral right to decide who they will let in.

The NZ government is always concerned about brain drain towards Oz, the UK and US because its small size and relative isolation means fewer opportunities for its educated young. I suspect they would not be favorable to such a measure, even if they publicly profess otherwise.

Not to mention what would happen is NZ would start a game where they charge and immigrant a set amount, knowing they will actually move on to the USA. If you knew that, you could lower your standards, charge more and pass the problems on to America.

Hey Alex --

You are a saint among men. I expect you and your family will be sleeping with your door wide open tonight, yes? And anyone who wants to walk into your kid's school can just take a seat right next to (or if there is overcrowding, in place of) yours, right?

Freedom To Move is essential, so thank you for moving right over to make space.

Thanks pal! You're the man!

To see how trivially wrong this comment is, consider free movement from Virginia to Maryland.

That is within one country. Opening our borders to the world would be vastly different. There is simply too much demand to come here. And the majority of citizens do_not_want_it.

Which should matter, and yet the open borders crowd always dismisses this rather important concern.

The open borders crowd also tend to ignore the fact that the people living in various pest holes around the world helped make the choices that turned their home country into the place they now want to escape. Why on God's earth are we accepting immigrants from dysfunctional cultures?

There is a wonderful irony in the efforts of the elites in China and Russia to escape what they have made.

On the contrary, the folks who want to take the risky step of leaving their hellholes probably are just as disgusted with the place as you would be.

If they ever get a viable seasteading country up and running, would they refuse to let the hard libertarians who want to flee the socialist Obamanation that is America emigrate because they might take their hellhole with them?

Easy enough to find out, and it's not with open borders

two states are different than two countries .. i say to open border illegal alien crowd .. how many will you house and feed?

"On the contrary, the folks who want to take the risky step of leaving their hellholes probably are just as disgusted with the place."

The support for shariah laws among Muslim immigrants suggests otherwise.

I recommend go smaller as there are a lot of border fears. The Ebolapoolza showed how easy it is to panic the US and I bet if you polled Americans right now if the number of illegal aliens crossing the border is higher or lower today than 10 years, they would be wrong. (If you were in Texas the border crossing in that state is more than 10 years ago I believe.) The free movement of people from Canada and US treaty would be a good place to start. The barriers are hardly there to begin with and the cultures are very similar. And for all the border panic with Mexico we never hear about our much larger border with Canada.

Of this means we can buy patented pharma drugs from Canada as well!!!!!! I bet the drug lobby will love it.

The Commonwealth group are all constitutional monarchies with the same monarch. Sounds like a technicality but under the surface there's a commonality of thinking there.

Alex should be looking for the conservatives willing to use the Constitution to justify open borders, just like conservatives are using the Constitution to rule referendum's unconstitutional because they are not legislation by republican government.

The case argued yesterday before the Court is just the start.

And there is absolutely NOTHING in the Constitution that ALLOWS CLOSED US BORDERS.

"And there is absolutely NOTHING in the Constitution that ALLOWS CLOSED US BORDERS."

Yes, and specifically there is this famous clause: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

So, your point is irrelevant.

Actually, you have to go digging for penumbras to get immigration in the federal ambit.

All the way back to the time the Constitution was being created, actually - as in the Naturalization Act of 1790

(One would think you would have approved of that federal overreach - 'The original United States Naturalization Law of March 26, 1790 (1 Stat. 103) provided the first rules to be followed by the United States in the granting of national citizenship. This law limited naturalization to immigrants who were free white persons of good character. It thus excluded American Indians, indentured servants, slaves, free blacks, and Asians. It also provided for citizenship for the children of U.S. citizens born abroad, but specified that the right of citizenship did "not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States". It specifies that such children "shall be considered as natural born citizens" — the only U.S. statute to ever use the term "natural born citizen". )

That's citizenship, not immigration. Keep trying.

At the current rates of immigration and births, England will be majority muslim by 2050. I'm sure that will make it an economic and moral powerhouse.

And in Birmingham, non-Muslims aren't allowed, right? And don't listen to anyone of those people telling you it isn't so.

Go back to Israel. No one here wants traitorous scum and their advice.

Don't you mean to Canada

However delightful it would be, as a US citizen, to emigrate to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or the UK, those nations have no plausible reason to accept us. The risk of being inundated with people from the US, whose population is several time larger than theirs combined, would weigh prohibitively against their participation. And let's face it, people in the US just don't have much to offer. How smart, adaptable, or innovative can a nation's people be if they can't even adopt a modern electoral system? I would think before they would want to even consider reducing any restrictions on US entry, the US would need to at least try to catch up with the more advanced countries of the world and move to parliamentary system.

the US would need to at least try to catch up with the more advanced countries of the world and move to parliamentary system.

Intelligent people have an object in mind in altering political architecture, and not merely following countries which some twit fancies have cachet.

Yes. A similar arrangement might well make sense between the US and the Central American countries and their presidential systems. We already have a de facto open borders arrangement, at least unilaterally, and share a passion for various strongman governments, capital punishment, violent policing, and horrendous penal facilities. With such strong cultural bonds, it would make much more sense than attempting alliances with twit countries that value pluralism, cooperative governance, and abhor violence and killing.

Edgar is semi-trolling, but he has a point. I've found the US to be much more understandable, at least culturally and politically, when I've viewed it as a Latin American country that happens to be English-speaking, instead of a European country that happens to be in the Americas.

I’ve found the US to be much more understandable, at least culturally and politically, when I’ve viewed it as a Latin American country that happens to be English-speaking, instead of a European country that happens to be in the Americas

Then you're not understanding much.

open borders destroy cultures and nations .... no thank you the US needs to seal its borders before we are turned into third world cesspool

I am totally in favor of this proposal. But realistically it has no chance of getting approved by any country because of the stupidity of the anti-immigration lobby. I propose therefore a compromise that we have free movement of labor between these countries, but you pay an additional lump sum tax, say $25k per year, when you get a job as a foreign passport holder. This is split 50:50 between the host of the originating governments.

Then the jobs lobby should not object as any native job seekers get an automatic 25k advantage versus any immigrant, so we can be sure employers would seek to fill vacancies with natives if they were available.

The anti-globalization lobby should support as originating countries also get payback for their educating and any social welfare provided during the early years of the immigrant. And the host countries get a useful source of tax.

The anti-inequality lobby should like this as it would also increase competition at higher income levels lowering the cost of services like doctors, for whom the lump sum would be trivial, while protecting the middle class from competition.

The "immigrants as crime sources" should be mollified as the majority of people able to pay this additional tax would be professional class types, who are statistically not likely to be urban muggers.

Try leaving your doors unlocked at night.

Not sure what country you are from among the proposed list by Alex, but if it is the US you will be relieved to know that all the other countries on the list have murder rates significantly lower than the US. Therefore immigration from these countries would lower the murder rate, for instance, in the US, all things being equal.
If you are perhaps from New Zealand, where the murder is about 5 times lower than the US , then you might be more concerned. However no more concerned than someone perhaps in Utah (Murder rate 1.8 deaths per hundred thousand) about the danger from Louisiana people (murder rate 10.8 per hundred thousand).

I'll settle for a list of any reasonable urbanized society. Did you read Jared Diamond?

A lot of comments trying to be witty and/or snide, but actually, as a Briton I think this is a terrific idea. The reason is this. Unnlike other Empires, the British managed, over the century since about 1875, to navigate from a true Empire to a voluntary collection of sovereign states that shared some things, but not others. But then the thing ran out of steam. Once you have a commonwealth, what then?

I think that this proposal offers an answer. Open borders between the anglosphere members of the Commonwealth would push the UK even further in the direction of being a multi-cultural, open society. The payoff in the Arts alone ought to be significant. Not to mention the start-ups.

About the Canadian border, of course it should be opened up. There is no real border between the UK and the Republic of Ireland, no iummigration formalities, no visas or passports, and we can vote in one anothers' elections and use one anothers healthcare, and it works so well that hardly anyone notices.

No thanks. Let them come and visit and then leave and let Americans go visit them and then leave (with some exceptions of course; I am not silly enough to be opposed to all immigration all the time).

Now does my opposition matter to any of the open border advocates?

Christians are taught to feed the hungry and heal the sick.

I guess that doesn't apply to those people on the other side of the border. Hell, maybe not even to your neighbors.

It's always nice to have the last comment.

But, I have to ask, where are all the Christians?

Where, oh where, oh where, are they?

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