Open Borders Manifesto

Every year, we mark Open Borders Day on the 16th of March. We honour this day because, as Open Borders: The Case founder Vipul Naik puts it:

Open Borders Day is an occasion for us to step back from the status quo and imagine a radically different world. It’s a time for us to think not so much of the migrants in our midst, but rather, of the way our border regime shapes the world we live in, the moral argument for open borders, and how to get to a world with substantially freer migration.

This year, we are publishing a manifesto summarising the aims of our movement. The moral and empirical cases for free migration rest on a variety of premises and originate from a variety of worldviews. No document could hope to do all these justice in merely a few hundred words. Our intention in publishing this is to make our objectives clear, and set forth the principles that unite all of us who seek open borders — irrespective of our national, religious, ethnic, or ideological backgrounds.

We welcome signatories; if you would like to add yourself to the signatory list, please contact us (preferably via email: openborders@googlegroups.com) and provide your name, with professional or academic affiliations if applicable. The list of signatories published in this post will only be updated through the end of Open Borders Day, 16th March 2015. For an updated list of signatories after that date, refer to our Open Borders Manifesto page.

(If you are interested in the background of the manifesto’s drafting, you may refer to the following posts in the Open Borders Action Group: Nathan Smith’s on 6 March 2015, John Lee’s on 6 March 2015, Nathan Smith’s on 9 March 2015, and John Lee’s on 14 March 2015.)

Open Borders Manifesto

Freedom of movement is a basic liberty that governments should respect and protect unless justified by extenuating circumstances. This extends to movement across international boundaries.

International law and many domestic laws already recognise the right of any individual to leave his or her country. This right may only be circumscribed in extreme circumstances, where threats to public safety or order are imminent.

We believe international and domestic law should similarly extend such protections to individuals seeking to enter another country. Although there may be times when governments should treat foreign nationals differently from domestic citizens, freedom of movement and residence are fundamental rights that should only be circumscribed when the situation absolutely warrants.

The border enforcement status quo is both morally unconscionable and economically destructive. Border controls predominantly restrict the movement of people who bear no ill intentions. Most of the people legally barred from moving across international borders today are fleeing persecution or poverty, desire a better job or home, or simply want to see the city lights.

The border status quo bars ordinary people from pursuing the life and opportunity they desire, not because they lack merit or because they pose a danger to others. Billions of people are legally barred from realising their full potential and ambitions purely on the basis of an accident of birth: where they were born. This is both a drain on the economic and innovative potential of human societies across the world, and indefensible in any order that recognises the moral worth and dignity of every human being.

We seek legal and policy reforms that will reduce and eventually remove these bars to movement for billions of ordinary people around the world. The economic toll of the modern restrictive border regime is vast, the human toll incalculable. To end this, we do not need a philosopher’s utopia or a world government. As citizens and human beings, we only demand accountability from our own governments for the senseless immigration laws that they enact in our name. Border controls should be minimised to only the extent required to protect public health and security. International borders should be open for all to cross, in both directions.

Signatories, listed in alphabetical order by surname:

  • Thorvald Aagaard, Associate Professor, Director of Theater, Pacific Union College
  • Brian C. Albrecht, PhD candidate, Economics, University of Minnesota
  • Pedro H. Albuquerque, Associate Professor, KEDGE Business School
  • Jesús Alfaro, Professor of Law, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
  • Shanu Athiparambath
  • Ben Bachrach
  • Dave Barnes
  • David Bennion, Attorney
  • Daniel Bier
  • Niklas Blanchard, PhD candidate, Human Capital Management, Bellevue University
  • Luke Blanshard
  • Joseph Bonneau, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Computer Science, Stanford University
  • Donald J. Boudreaux, Professor of Economics, George Mason University
  • Sam Bowman, Deputy Director, Adam Smith Institute
  • Jason Brennan, Assistant Professor, Philosophy, Georgetown University
  • Steve Buller
  • Jason Lee Byas, Fellow, Center for a Stateless Society
  • Bryan Caplan, Professor of Economics, George Mason University
  • Leonel Caraciki
  • Ryan Carey
  • Simon Cartledge
  • Richard Yetter Chappell, Lecturer in Philosophy, University of York
  • Grieve Chelwa, PhD candidate, Economics, University of Cape Town
  • Lars Christensen
  • Andrew Jason Cohen, Associate Professor, Philosophy, Georgia State University
  • Phillip Cole, Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of West of England
  • Paul Crider
  • Christopher Dobrogosz
  • Bryan Joseph Dodson
  • Eli Dourado
  • Charles DuHadway
  • Robert Eckerson, Attorney
  • Margaret A. Elberson
  • Ross B. Emmett, Professor of Political Economy and Political Theory & Constitutional Democracy, James Madison College, Michigan State University
  • Mustafa Erdogan, Professor of Political and Constitutional Theory, Istanbul Commerce University
  • Bryan T. Fine
  • Nicholas Fletcher
  • Scott Freeman
  • Joshua Gans, Jeffrey S. Skoll Chair of Technical Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University of Toronto
  • Giuseppe Germinario
  • Casey C. Glick, Graduate Researcher in Physics, UC Berkeley
  • Zachary Gochenour, Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics, Western Carolina University
  • Nathan Goodman, Lysander Spooner Research Scholar in Abolitionist Studies at the Center for a Stateless Society
  • Maithreyi Gopalan, Ph.D. candidate, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University
  • Manick Govinda, Visiting Artists Co-ordinator, Manifesto Club
  • Jameson Graber
  • Joe Green, Associate Professor of Political Science, Dixie State University
  • Priscila Guinovart
  • Jeff Hallman
  • Robin Hanson, Associate Professor of Economics, George Mason University
  • Mikael Hellstrom, Instructor, Political Science, University of Alberta
  • Christopher Hendrix
  • Javier S. Hidalgo, Assistant Professor, Jepson School of Leadership Studies, University of Richmond
  • Fergus Hodgson, Editor-in-Chief, PanAm Post
  • Jeffrey Horn
  • Steven Horwitz, Charles A. Dana Professor and Chair, Department of Economics, St. Lawrence University
  • Michael Huemer, Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Colorado
  • Giancarlo Ibarguen, Former President, Universidad Francisco Marroquín
  • Tom Jackson
  • Peter Martin Jaworski, Assistant Teaching Professor, McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University
  • Scott A. Jenks, Instructor, Department of Medicine, Emory University
  • Nathan Jones
  • Emmanuelle Baya Julien
  • Valdenor M. Brito Júnior, Attorney
  • Angela Keaton
  • Rick Kelo
  • William Kiely
  • Milo King
  • Gavin A. Kitchens
  • Thomas L. Knapp, Director, William Lloyd Garrison Center
  • Anna Krupitsky
  • Chandran Kukathas, Chair of Political Theory, Department of Government, London School of Economics
  • Michelangelo Geovanny Landgrave Lara
  • Daniele Latella
  • Mark LeBar
  • John Lee
  • Daniel Lin, Professorial Lecturer, American University
  • Anthony Ling, Editor-in-Chief, Caos Planejado
  • Raffaele Lo Moro
  • Ryan P. Long
  • Roderick T. Long, Professor of Philosophy, Auburn University and President, Molinari Institute
  • Ray Lopez
  • Trent MacDonald, PhD candidate, School of Economics, Finance and Marketing, RMIT University
  • Pedro Magalhães, Attorney and PhD candidate, Law and Economics, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt
  • Akiva Malamet
  • Rafael Bortoluzzi Massaiol
  • Kevin McGartland
  • Jeremy McLellan
  • Justin Merrill
  • Jared Meyer, Fellow, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
  • Gary Miguel
  • Walter Morris, Director, Acton School of Ballet
  • Joe Munson
  • Darren Nah, PhD candidate, Politics, Yale University
  • Vipul Naik
  • Janet Neilson, Program Developer, Institute for Liberal Studies
  • Chad Nelson, Attorney and Fellow at the Center for a Stateless Society
  • Sebastian Nickel
  • Eric Nielsen
  • Jeremy L. Neufeld
  • Joel Newman
  • Federico Oliveri, Research Fellow, Sciences for Peace Interdisciplinary Centre, University of Pisa
  • Yaël Ossowski, Programs Director, European Students for Liberty
  • George Pareja
  • Andrew Pearson
  • Alicia Perez
  • Graham Peterson, PhD candidate, Sociology, University of Chicago
  • Kaveh Pourvand, PhD candidate, Political Theory, London School of Economics
  • Shaun Raviv
  • Jose L. Ricon
  • Dylan Risenhoover
  • Fabio Rojas, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Indiana University
  • John Roccia
  • Trish Ruebottom, Assistant Professor, Goodman School of Business, Brock University
  • Antonio Saravia, Assistant Professor of Economics and Director, BB&T Center for Undergraduate Research in Public Policy and Capitalism, Mercer University
  • Paul Sas
  • Philip Saunders
  • Yaakov Schatz
  • Eric Schmidt
  • James Schumacher
  • Andrew Scobie
  • Hafiz Noor Shams, Founding Associate, Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs
  • Jay Shooster
  • Joshua Shurley, PhD candidate, Politics, University of Manchester
  • Sarah Skwire, Fellow, Liberty Fund, Inc.
  • Ben Smith
  • Evelyn Smith
  • Nathan Smith, Assistant Professor of Economics and Finance at Fresno Pacific University
  • Ilya Somin, Professor of Law at the George Mason University School of Law
  • Piero Stanig, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Università Bocconi
  • Marilyn Steffen
  • Wouter Stekelenburg
  • Barry Stocker, Assistant Professor in Philosophy, Istanbul Technical University
  • Drew Stonebraker
  • Scott Sumner, Professor, Economics, Bentley University
  • Kyle Swan, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, California State University Sacramento
  • Alex Tabarrok, Bartley J. Madden Chair in Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University
  • Batur Talu
  • Laron Tamaye
  • Fernando R. Tesón, Tobias Simon Eminent Scholar, Florida State University
  • Bas Van der Vossen, Assistant Professor, Department of Philosopy, UNC Greensboro
  • Brian Wagers
  • Tyler Walker
  • Hansjörg Walther
  • Ladan Weheliye
  • Nicholas Weininger
  • Christoph Widenhorn
  • Michael Wiebe, PhD candidate, Economics, University of British Columbia
  • Samuel Wilson
  • Stephen Winkler
  • Barrett Young
  • Zachary Yost
  • David Zetland, Assistant Professor of Economics, Leiden University College
  • Matt Zwolinski, Associate Professor, Philosophy, University of San Diego

Reminder: The above list was current as of Open Borders Day, 16 March 2015. For the current list of signatories, refer to our Open Borders Manifesto page. If you are interested in attaching your name to this declaration, please contact us (preferably via email: openborders@googlegroups.com) and provide your name, with professional or academic affiliations if applicable.

10 thoughts on “Open Borders Manifesto”

    1. Shame on you. You are advocating for the murder of Jews on a website that was established for peace and humanity. I am a Muslim and as you know, Muslims have been victims of many crimes by the government of Israel, but what you have said should never be said against a group of human beings, despite the aspirations of a government. I makes me sad that some people believe that one group’s happiness can be built on the destruction of another.How do you find it so easily to criticize others who clearly care about the welfare of the world, while you care about ridicule, pain and death– and do so with a cold disregard for life.
      I don’t believe you were born that way, so I will assume that something terrible and ugly developed the evil the controls your mind and has corrupted your soul. And I do feel so very sorry for you because you must be so lonely in those dark rooms that are filled with the sounds of your own breaths and exasperated bouts of hatred.I feel sorry that you are not loved, so you cannot love. Loneliness must be a kind of a prison. Isn’t it? Cold, bare, wall to wall gloom.
      You can go outside but you choose not to go, not to much. There is no one out there that wants to share your company. People who wish death on others rarely enjoy the company of friends, acquaintances or anyone at all. What benefit is there is having a relationship with a person embracing madness. No worries- all of us, Christians, Muslims and Jews shall pray for your soul because God created miracles just so people like you can be saved from the bowels of hell.

  1. Notice this list is not even a large collection of complete nobodies: economists with Aspergers, academic layabouts, bloggers. The overlap among the categories is pretty large. Pretty much demonstrates by example that open borders only appeals to credentialed idiots who work mostly in the public sector because they have no skills the private sector wants.

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