A friend recently drew my attention to Migration is Beautiful, an artistic project aimed at promoting the reform of US immigration laws. When I mentioned this to some other Open Borders bloggers, the first reaction was along the lines of “This is amazing, they don’t say anything about tougher border enforcement!” — sadly, the quality of immigration discourse is that even liberals feel compelled to sing odes to prison walls.
More than this, I especially like Migration is Beautiful for its explicit acknowledgement that any reform of US immigration policy must go beyond simply issuing more visas for high-skilled workers or regularising the immigration status of unauthorised immigrants. Its authors explicitly call out the arbitrary absurdity of an immigration policy which purports to be open, and yet makes people wait in an arbitrary queue for decades.
Moreover, Migration is Beautiful has done something incredibly important: it has given the liberal immigration movement a clear symbol and logo:
I think the butterfly can be suitably adapted to serve and symbolise the open borders movement more generally. As the artist behind this, Favianna Rodriguez says:
The butterfly symbol was not my idea. Immigrant rights activists have seen the butterfly as a symbol of fluid and peaceful migration for generations. To me, the monarch butterfly represents the dignity and resilience of migrants, and the right that all living beings have to move freely. I believe that we shouldn’t allow our identity to be defined only by our suffering, nor by the actions that others have taken to devalue our families and our labor — rather, let us celebrate our beauty, pride, and resilience in the face of inequality and injustice.
The right of all human beings to move freely is one not commonly acknowledged, even on the left. If nothing else, surely this makes the Migration is Beautiful project remarkable.
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