US-specific pro-immigration arguments

There are a number of arguments in favor of immigration that specifically apply to the United States of America. Note that the overall case for open borders is universal employs fairly country-independent arguments. Thus, these US-specific arguments can be thought of as additional arguments that support free migration into the United States, over and above the general case.

Pragmatic benefits

Philosophical arguments

Tradition/precedent argument

From its founding until about 1921 (with some notable exceptions such as the Chinese Exclusion Act, which was deeply flawed), the United States of America had practically open borders. In fact, the United States had no federal laws restricting immigration until 1875. Even when some restrictions were put in place, such as for immigrants arriving by sea at Ellis Island, the rejection rate was ~2%.

With this policy of open borders, the United States expanded greatly in population and led the world in terms of increases in its standard of living and increases in per capita income. This historical success lends support to the idea that assimilating new waves of immigrants will be possible for the United States and will lead to greater prosperity for the nation.


For counter-arguments offered by restrictionists to this tradition/precedent-based line of reasoning, see the then versus now page.

Constitution/originalism argument

Some arguments have been made from a constitutional originalist perspective that the US government is not authorized to restrict migration for arbitrary reasons.

American exceptionalism argument

The United States of America is one of the few countries where an immigrant can become American. It’s a unique and exceptional characteristic of US culture that is worth preserving.

General references for US-specific pro-immigration arguments

For more information and web resources, check out the pro-immigration and migration information web resources page.

"The Efficient, Egalitarian, Libertarian, Utilitarian Way to Double World GDP" — Bryan Caplan