Opening Borders, Tearing Down Walls, With Alex Sager

March 14, 2019

Opening Borders, Tearing Down Walls

Thursday April 4 11am-12:30pm, Room 413

With Alex Sager, Chair of the Philosophy Department at PSU

Open borders are anathema to respectable company, a sign of irresponsible radicalism or of mushy idealism. The White House routinely condemns the alleged “open borders special interests” of the Democratic party. Indeed, “open borders” has become a metonym used to dismiss any proposed immigration reform that threatens to make the current immigration system less brutal or more inclusive.

Notwithstanding the scaremongering, open borders is not a mainstream political cause, even among people sharply critical of the current immigration system. The Democratic Party neither has been nor is particularly progressive in its immigration policy. Nor are open borders respectable in academia where many social scientists feel obliged to distance their policy recommendations from open borders.

This dismissive attitude toward open borders is misguided. Arguments for open borders are among the strongest in political philosophy. Moreover, the infeasibility of open borders is greatly exaggerated. Both historical and contemporary examples support the possibility of open borders. The combination of strong moral arguments and feasibility entails an obligation to take action to bring about an open bordered world