civil rights and open borders

We no longer live in a society where the government bans African Americans from living in certain neighborhoods or taking certain jobs. The abolition of legalized segregation is one of the enduring achievements of the civil rights movement. It deserves to be praised and commemorated.

But a real commitment to civil rights doesn’t end with ending one type of discrimination. We need to think about other forms of discrimination. Women, for example, face many barriers and we should keep thinking about ways to make everyone an equal participant in our society.

When we think of civil rights, we often overlook immigration and we are even more likely to overlook the idea of open borders. Basically, open borders is the idea that people should be free to cross national boundaries as needed. It should be as easy to move from Tijuana to San Diego as moving from Detroit to Chicago.

But when we impose migration restrictions, we are no different than the segregationist of old who wanted to ban African Americans from their neighborhoods and schools. When he erect walls and send police to raid private homes, we say “you can’t be here!” Why? “They weren’t born in my country!” The nation of one’s birth is not a criteria of merit or justice. It’s merely an accident of birth.

My hope is that you will consider the injustice of detaining or deporting people based on where they were born. I hope that on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day you will come to realize that telling people to get out off the bus because they are Black is no different then telling the Mexican or Chinese migrant that have to leave your country. I want you to imagine a world without deportations and workplace raids and I hope that world will make you smile

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Written by fabiorojas

January 15, 2018 at 3:36 am

5 Responses

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  1. Powerful



    January 15, 2018 at 7:53 pm

  2. You can’t solve these kinds of social malformations by addressing the outcomes piecemeal, you have to go for the common root. But when most people’s belief systems stem from the same basic error as racism they face a dilemma. Racism is fundamentally a fiction based belief. Eliminating it requires applying informed critical thinking. Once people start applying critical thinking to one belief system they have to apply it generally, which will force them to confront the fact that much of their own belief (political, religious or nationalist) is also fiction based. In other words, you can’t get rid of racism without also getting rid of political, religious and nationalist beliefs that have the same fictional nature as racism.



    January 16, 2018 at 6:03 pm

  3. Fabio, what do you make of the argument that open borders are negatively correlated with a commitment to public welfare provision? If the correlation is real, and signals something causal, which should we prioritise, i.e., the rights of distant others to free movement, or the rights of our fellow citizens to public health, schools, disability pensions, and so on?



    January 19, 2018 at 3:04 am

  4. Like


    January 19, 2018 at 9:07 pm

  5. Seems like a fairly straight forward implication of the letter, but certainly not the spirit, of the “All Lives Matter” slogan.


    Aaron Silverman

    January 23, 2018 at 3:54 am

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