Monday, April 8, 2019

Two New Articles on Open Borders

Scare stories about “open borders” get published a lot; some even claim to be from the left. Here are two recent articles that make actual progressive arguments for open borders.

Brianna Rennix’s “The Case for Opening Our Borders” is generally excellent, but it’s mostly about sensible immigration reform proposals the Democrats might be persuaded to adopt. Actually opening borders requires more: looking at migration’s root causes and their relation to US policies affecting neighboring countries. Suzy Lee’s piece makes the important point that support for immigrant rights is crucial for all working-class organizing, contrary to the restrictionist ideas of labor bureaucrats in the Gompers model. But she seems to miss the fact that a major source of downward pressure on the wages of native-born workers is anti-immigrant measures like raids and employer sanctions—measures that, ironically, are sold to workers as a way to reduce immigration.
Photo: No More Deaths
The Case for Opening Our Borders
Democrats cannot have it both ways. If you oppose jailing and exiling people for crossing an invisible line, you must be in favor of significantly opening our borders. Fortunately, that’s fine.

By Brianna Rennix, In These Times
March 21, 2019
Democrats and Republicans have long forged a de facto policy consensus on immigration. Yes, Democrats condemn Trump’s wall and his family separation policy, but they pivot to talk about security and control in ways indistinguishable from GOP talking points.

On January 3, their first day in power, House Democrats passed a spending bill that included$1.3 billion in new border fencing, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) touted as “smart, effective border security.” […]

Read the full article:

The Case for Open Borders
…[A] call for open borders based on appeals to morality and liberal values will not attract workers motivated by economic concerns. This essay shows the possibility of a strategy calling for open borders and immigrant rights based on workers’ material interests, not just moral pleas.

By Suzy Lee, Catalyst
Winter 2019
The politics of immigration poses one of the most important challenges to the US left today. While the public discourse, with demands for a wall or the panic over a migrant caravan, may be hyperbolic, it only sharpens venerable themes that have structured the debate for a half-century: a nativist movement that sees immigration as a cultural and economic threat, set against an immigrants’ rights movement that argues for a more inclusive and liberal orientation.[...]

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