Open the Borders

Introduction: It seems a bit odd but when we talk about immigration, we rarely talk about how good it is for immigrants themselves.

Maybe it’s too obvious. After all, people only travel when they perceive benefits from doing so. For the world’s poorest, the simple act of crossing from the developing world to the developed world raises incomes dramatically. A Mexican crossing into the United States can expect to earn more than twice the wages he or she would have earned at home, a Haitian can expect to earn more than six times the wages in Haiti. Combine this with the non-economic advantages of the developed world — stable rule of law, liberal democracies, respect for human rights — and it isn’t hard to see why packing up and shipping off to the First World is so popular.

One could perhaps leave the argument there. A core principle of liberalism is that people should be allowed to do what they want as long as they do not violate the rights of others.

But immigration is good for the developed world, too. It’s good for the economy—immigrants end up being entrepreneurs and shopkeepers; employees and employers; and consumers and producers. More people mean more creativity, more opportunity, and more culture. Migrants bring skills, knowledge and international connections.

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