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This website is dedicated to elucidating a very specific political program: open borders.

Précis

The free movement of peoples across borders is a fundamental human right, which no ethical nation may infringe.

Summary

Many people accept that human liberty is a valid “moral” (deontological, i.e. normative) right. The concept was explicit in the U.S. Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Arguably, the great struggle of the last two centuries in the United States has been to overcome the glaring contradictions between this expressed moral truth and the pre-existing facts of chattel slavery and of the unequal status and rights of non-dominant classes of all sorts.

Even granting that these issues could be considered resolved (and in fact I cannot grant that, given the political status quo, circa 2020), there remains another glaring problem which has not been addressed at all. This problem might be stated as follows: to the extent to which human beings born outside the United States are denied citizenship or even access to our shining republic, our republic is imperfect and our ethical foundation as a nation is incomplete. As the great novelist Herman Melville said:

“If they can get here, they have God’s right to come.”

This pithy phrase is whence I derive this website’s name.

To be clear, migration is a human right – all migration, from anywhere and to anywhere. When a country such as ours claims that all people are created equal and yet denies universal access to individuals who have had the misfortune to be born outside our borders, I believe that that is the moral equivalent to chattel slavery.

In light of this idea, the fight for truly and universally open borders can be and should become the 21st century’s equivalent to the 19th century’s abolitionist movement or the 20th century’s fight for freedom from discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexuality, etc.

There are many pragmatic arguments, both economic and political, that support the need for open borders. This website is actually only peripherally interested in those. A very good summary of these issues and arguments can be found in Bryan Caplan’s Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration. This site considers most of these ideas to be secondary to the fundamentally normative claim. No moral nation has a right to exclude those who wish to join and who are willing to abide by all its just laws. This last point is very important to remember, because we also may have some unjust laws. Specifically, our closed border and restrictive immigration laws are clearly unjust, under this new rubric. Therefore the national panic about illegal aliens is a political chimera: those people are no more guilty of “law breaking” than were the operators and travelers on the 19th century’s Underground Railroad. From this perspective, illegal immigrants are a heroic vanguard rather than any kind of criminal at all.

Spread the word: Migration is a human right.