The Dangers Of Open Borders


A nation with open-borders and unregulated immigration cannot be considered a sovereign nation, much the same that a house with an open front door and no control of who enters is not a private residence. The obvious issue in which I am referring, is the ongoing illegal immigration crisis and the lack of border security on the United States/Mexico border. It is on this issue that I stray from my otherwise Libertarian values and philosophy, simply because the concepts of open-borders and unregulated immigration are not practical policies in the current state of the modern world, or the current state of the country in which we live. In fact, I will go so far as to say that these policies go far beyond simply being impractical, and are actually outright dangerous and harmful to the country in its current state. The two fundamental reasons why I believe this are simple, it is a threat to national security and it is a threat to economic prosperity.

First off, what do I even mean by the term open-borders. Simply put, it is the concept or philosophy that would allow for all people to travel and move freely between any jurisdiction, border, town, city, state, territory, or even international borders. It would also allow for the open and minimally regulated immigration and settling between borders, to include international. The best example of actual open- borders would be the open-borders between all the sates within the US, which allows for the open travel and settling between the states. The difference though is that these open-borders are within the confines of a nation, and not international. In a perfect and peaceful world, and in a perfect nation, I suppose that there would be no problem with the concept of open international borders, but this if a far cry from the world in which we actually live. The concept of open international borders makes the naïve assumption that everyone crossing those borders do not have malevolent intentions.

Security Threats

The first, and most critically important reason why unsecured open-borders are completely naïve and dangerous, is the blatant threat that they pose to national security. Even if the federal government were to provide no other function, their one fundamental constitutional responsibility is to ensure the national defense, hell it is written right there in the preamble to the constitution. Even though we are militarily peaceful and friendly with our neighbor nations (although the situation with Mexico is at times debatable), it does not mean that we still don’t have to secure our borders as best we can. Not from the likelihood of a military invasion, but rather the more low-key and asymmetrical threats of the modern world. In this current climate of terrorism and asymmetrical threats, a large measure in defending against those threats is to control the national borders, and try to maintain some control and regulation over who is entering the country. It may not be possible to have complete and guaranteed control and security of the borders, but this reality should not be used as an excuse to not have any, or worse yet, to encourage the unregulated immigration and crossing of the border. I am all for limiting our foreign military involvements and adventurism, and focusing instead on strengthening our borders against the same threats we seem so willing to fight abroad.

The threat of foreign terrorism against the US is still a very real and dangerous issue. Rather than sending our military abroad to go and kick every possible beehive, why not just focus that same energy, manpower, and money into preventing the “bees” from entering the country unnoticed. It costs far less blood and treasure to strengthen our own borders, than it does to engage in prolonged military campaigns overseas against asymmetrical terrorist threats. We are far better off focusing on our own national security and ignoring foreign entanglements, while still making it known to hostile terrorist groups or nations that we will destroy them if provoked. I intend to go into much more detail on my “isolationist” views at a later date, so I’m not going to veer too far off subject here.

We regulate and control (or at least attempt to) who and what enters the country through our airports, seaports, and border crossings, yet the wilderness and isolated areas along the border remain dangerously porous, and although we patrol our borders, they are far from secure. It honestly seems ridiculous to control one but not the other, much like standing guard at your front door but leaving all the other doors and windows unlocked. And for the sake of argument, I am not just referring to the wilderness areas along the Mexican border, but Canada as well.

There have been numerous intelligence reports over the years stating that terrorists are looking to gain entry into the US through the porous southern border, as well as reports of Muslim prayer rugs being located in the southern desert. I will spare you the politically correct bullshit, because anyone with an ounce of honesty and common sense knows what this means. They are already here, and they are using our weak borders to slip into the US undetected. Well trained and well financed terrorists would have little trouble in crossing the border undetected. This alone is a major national security issue, and anyone too stupid or dishonest to realize that has a problem.

Yet it is not just the threat of terrorism, there are many other real and dangerous asymmetrical threats as a result from open unsecured borders. Perhaps the second major threat is the one posed by dangerous and violent drug cartels freely operating along the border. I’m not even going to waste my time discussing the issue of the illegal drugs as a whole, but instead the threats and violence posed by cartels being able to freely enter and operate along the border. Sophisticated drug cartel operatives, smugglers, drug mules, and hit men are able to easily cross the border, sometimes through the use of military style tactics, and establish networks and bases within the US.

The operation of these cartels within the US contributes to crime and violence within our cities, not to mention the violence between warring cartel factions south of the border spilling over to our side. Aside from the cartels themselves, unsecured borders also allow the influx of violent criminal street gangs (often allied or working with the cartels) into our cities. This too contributes to crime and violence within our cities, and imposes untold costs on our criminal justice system. Along with cartels and gangs, other threats and crime associated with unsecured open-borders include human trafficking, modern slavery, sex tracking, child trafficking, and weapons smuggling. The fact of the matter is, that all of these threats, from terrorism to gangs, are real and documented, and can reasonably be attributed to porous, unsecured, open-borders.

Economic Burdens

The second most important reason why unsecured open-borders and unregulated immigration are a dangerous mistake is because of the threat and burden they pose to economic prosperity. In a perfect free-market country and economy, this would perhaps be far less of an issue, but alas that is not the United States in 2014. We live in an ever increasing progressive socialist welfare state, and quite frankly, open-borders and unregulated illegal immigration are incompatible in a welfare state. Let me rephrase that, they certainly can exist in a socialist welfare state, but it will be impossible for that state to remain financially solvent. If you were to open a restaurant, but only charged half of your customers and had no restrictions on the amount of free meals you give out, exactly how long would you stay in business.

The United States is currently over 17 trillion dollars in debt, with trillions more in unfunded liabilities, and is currently running budget deficits of over 600 billion dollars a year. In case you failed basic economics in high school, this means that we are broke, in the red, and we cannot pay our current bills. So what exactly are those bills? Well roughly 66% of the entire federal budget in 2013 was comprised of non-discretionary spending, which means that those programs considered non-discretionary must be funded at current levels no matter what, they are there forever and must be constantly funded or increased. The programs which fall under non-discretionary spending are: Social Security, unemployment, welfare and other income security programs, Section 8 Housing, food stamps, Medicare and Medicaid, and of course interest payments on our ever growing debt. The rest of the federal budget, including national defense, is considered discretionary, which means that spending levels and programs can be altered or cut.

Seeing as how 2/3 of the entire federal budget goes to funding the socialist welfare state, at rates we currently can’t even afford, what sense does it make to increase the amount of people potentially on the public dole. I am going to assume that anyone reading this is an intelligent adult, so again I am going to skip the politically correct “touchy feely” bullshit, and just stick to facts and reality. The overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants flooding our unsecured open southern border are poor, uneducated, unskilled (as far as advanced skills or training), or even children, and are adding to an already growing underclass. With various proposals of amnesty in the works, it is not far-fetched to assume that millions more people will soon become eligible for federal benefits. These millions of extra people will thereby add to the already overburdened welfare state while contributing very little in tax liability.

This is not to say that these immigrants can’t rise above their current situation, and become upwardly mobile in the future, but we all know that the current progressive welfare state is designed to promote government dependence and not upward mobility. That is among the greatest, albeit intentional, failures of the welfare state as a whole. Even if these new immigrants were to become upwardly mobile, the seemingly endless influx of millions of new illegal immigrants through our unsecured open-borders will counteract this. In the past, from the 1920s to 1965, the US put extreme restrictions on immigration in order to allow for the current immigrants to assimilate and become upwardly mobile, but with constant and unregulated immigration today, that becomes impossible.

Even if amnesty was not granted, the constant influx of illegal immigrants through unsecured open-borders still creates a permanent underclass in our society. Even if these people were not eligible for federal benefits, they can still put a huge strain on local and state budgets, which provide other services. These services include schools and education, hospitals, the criminal justice system, and other local benefits, services, and infrastructure.


So then why are both sides of the political aisle complicit in not securing the border and allowing for the continuation of unregulated immigration over the last 30-40 years. Various forms of amnesty for illegal immigrants have been passed multiple times during those years, but without any meaningful securing of the open-border. In the end, all this does is encourage further illegal immigration, with the prospect of future amnesty. One could argue that both sides have made their own cost-benefit analysis of illegal immigration, and therefore feel that the pros and personal interest benefits to them outweigh the cons, political fallout, and problems for the country.

For the establishment Republicans, I believe that they think the constant supply of cheap or “under the table” labor will make their big business donors happy. For the progressive Democrats, their motives are blatantly obvious. They feel that adding to the permanent underclass of government dependent people will ensure their power through votes and dependence. It does not matter to them if the system is insolvent and unsustainable, so long as they are in power and advancing their progressive agenda. Both sides have historically been complicit in this problem of unsecured open-borders, because they each feel that they have something to gain from it, regardless of the harm to the country. The borders, although technically patrolled, are far from secure; yet anytime over the last 40 years either side or both could have made the effort to effectively fix this problem, but have chosen not to address it.

Worse still, is the blatant politicization that this issue brings out. Establishment Republicans foolishly think that if they do not pass amnesty, they will lose the Hispanic vote and appear uncompassionate. The reality is, that they will never have this voting bloc in large numbers, because socialism has historically played a large part in Central and South American history. The Democrats on the other hand scream that anyone who opposes open-borders and illegal immigration is xenophobic, racist, and uncompassionate. They misleadingly frame this problem as a civil and human rights issue, with cries of “no person is illegal” or “this country is a nation of immigrants”, all the while relishing in their ulterior motives of political gains and power.

In my line of work, or in my day-to-day dealings, I do not treat illegal immigrants any differently than I would any other man. I treat them with the same basic respect and dignity that any decent human being deserves. I also do not hate or blame them for the current situation, because they merely took advantage of our failures. Most of these people are only seeking a better life for themselves and their families, and it is hard to blame them for simply taking advantage of a problem our government refuses to fix and chooses to exploit. On the micro-level, these individual people are just a consequence of a macro-level endemic problem that our own government refuses to fix.

In Conclusion

I am not opposed to legal immigration, which is controlled and regulated. In fact I support and appreciate the history of legal immigration that has helped to build this country. My own family, on both sides, passed through Ellis Island around the turn of the century, and I myself have visited and toured the museum there. I appreciate that the US historically is a nation of legal immigrants, however I do not support the traditional Libertarian concept of open-borders and unregulated or illegal immigration. I understand and have empathy for the illegal immigrants who seek only to build a better life for themselves and their families, but the cost is too great and unsustainable. The simple fact is that open-borders and unregulated immigration cannot realistically exist in the current state of the world, nor can they exist in a socialist welfare state. Those of us who question it, oppose it, or are vocally critical of it are called uncompassionate and xenophobic by people who only wish to exploit the issue for their own personal gains. Other nations around the world have far stricter laws and enforcement of illegal immigration, yet when some try to oppose and stop it here in the US, we are called out by others around the world.

No sovereign nation is obligated to accept any and all immigrants, or to have an open-border, and it does not make that nation evil or uncompassionate. A nation has a right to look out for its own interests, and sometimes that unfortunately means not being able to care for limitless numbers of the downtrodden. Unfortunately, we have in this country people who are politicizing and putting their own self-interests above that of the nation. In a perfect world of peace and freedom, there would be no problem with Libertarian open-borders. Unfortunately, this world is far from perfect.

© 2014 by AB, All Rights Reserved


This entry was posted in Culture, Society, And Political Theory. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.