Is it time to open our borders?

calaisThe Jungle is our house. Please don’t destroy it. If you do so, where is the place to go?” That’s a question for French authorities who now have to decide what to do with the hundreds of illegal migrants they have just evicted, following this morning’s clearing of the migrant camp in Calais. It’s a common story that isn’t going away, so is it time for some fresh thinking -should we just keep our borders open?

In the case of “the Jungle” most are young men and boys from Afghanistan who have paid thousands of dollars to agents to reach European shores. They’ve walked, hitch-hiked, sailed and clung onto lorries for hundreds if not thousands of miles often taking life threatening routes. We spend millions of dollars on border controls, but is the right to work wherever you wish not  a fundamental freedom?

Patrick Hayes believes the camp should be demolished but only when European immigrant laws have been reformed, otherwise camps will just be set up elsewhere. And yesterday the EU was openly criticised for not doing more to stop Italy from forcing migrant boats to return to Africa. Here’s the tragic news of the latest boat to have funk off the coast of Morroco.

It’s not just a problem in Europe. In Jakarta the local government has put up a ‘no vacancy’ sign aimed at  migrants from neighbouring countries  who come to the city for work. Only last week, 65 African migrants were feared dead when their boat capsized on its way to Yemen.

“Immigration reform must include not only legalization of workers already in our communities and work force and increased enforcement at the border, but also a new temporary worker program sufficient to meet our future labor force needs,” argues Daniel Griswold. 

Would open borders threaten a wave on mass migration and crime? Or are we just too down on migrants?

29 Responses to “Is it time to open our borders?”

  1. 1 VictorK
    September 22, 2009 at 10:34


    ‘We’ (meaning the people of Britain and of the EU – not unrepresentative political & media elites and pressure groups) are entitled to decide who will settle in our country/countries. We are entitled to take a view on the desirability of people according to their ability to assimilate to our way of life and to be a benefit to our nation(s). But even more fundamentally, we are entitled to close our borders to aliens simply because ‘we’ don’t want them, regardless of any utilitarian benefits that might accrue to us from their admission.

    As far as the inhabitants of ‘the Jungle’ are concerned, there are dozens of Muslim countries in the world who I’d expect to step up and open their borders to their ‘brothers and sisters’ (as they usually phrase it). Why is it always and only the West that is expected to have an open borders policy?

  2. 2 postcolonial_untermensch
    September 22, 2009 at 10:48

    western capital (and its proxy enforcers like the IMF, World Bank, WTO) has made life so unbearable around the world – and western citizens still do not grasp the scale by which the South has been structurally forced to subsidize economies of the North. Migrants are just a faction of the dispossessed people claiming back what is rightly theirs. Besides, no human should be criminalized for being poor. No human is illegal.

  3. 3 lascelles
    September 22, 2009 at 11:16

    It is not time to open our borders. Britain is overcrowded, jobless and in recession. Cut benefits and you will cut the flow of immigrants. Repatriate them. Given training they could assist in their own countries.

  4. 4 Peter Gizzi UK
    September 22, 2009 at 13:06

    Most certainly not! Why The UK always has to be the recipient of these people I do not know? I do know The EU is happy to dump them on us.

    The answer is to leave The EU then we can properly control our borders. We a fraction of the size of France and Germany though with a poppulation nearly as large cannot and should not accept any more people.

  5. 5 sometimessad
    September 22, 2009 at 13:15

    I read an excellent book on the topic of immigration. Entitled Immigrants, by Philippe Legrain. I’d recommend it. His assertion was that, numbers are not that important, but rather the PREDICTABILITY of the rate of inflow was what was important. A predictable rate was good, but sudden surges of immigration is bad. It doesn’t matter if it’s a lot or a few immigrants, as long as the rate is easily predictable.

  6. 6 Tom K in Mpls
    September 22, 2009 at 13:27

    Why do some people seem to think that they deserve a free bit of what others worked to achieve? Also, if you look at the world, you will see that when people want something, they will get it, no matter what the laws say, as long as there is money to be made. If you want to stop the problem, stop the money.

    If illegal immigrants can get jobs, food, and medical aid, they will literally go for it. Fine people that have the money. If they hire illegals, fine them to the point that becomes impractical, and the jobs will stop. Then the issues of food and medical become almost meaningless. Plus it is a self financing plan.

  7. 7 patti in cape coral
    September 22, 2009 at 13:34

    If the west opened its borders to various migrants, could we stop sending aid to those areas? Maybe with the loss of people AND money, those governments would be motivated to actually do something for their countries so starving masses wouldn’t have to look elsewhere to get their families out of poverty.

    • 8 Michael in Ft. Myers, Florida
      September 22, 2009 at 14:58

      Now there is an idea that I WISH PRAY AND HOPE the American gov’t would adhere to! I know I sound like a broken record, but charity starts at home. Well done as always, Patti!

    • 10 Fakebba
      September 24, 2009 at 20:55

      If you think that you are not in poverty or that you are feeding the world, I suggest that you visit any of the major cities in the U.S,A, particularly Atlanta, GA. ansd look at the homeless population and suffering. If you can’t afford such trip then I will send you some pidtures to prove my case..

  8. 11 Maccus Germanis
    September 22, 2009 at 14:12

    I am in sympathy with freedom of movement in regards to employment, but the issue is confused by government entitlements that distort local labor markets. Open borders will only come about if entitlement programs do first end.

  9. 12 Dave in Florida
    September 22, 2009 at 14:46

    The UK is a sovereign country and well entitled to decide who and when someone enters its borders. Take away that decision making ability and you have given up your sovereignty.

    It is interesting how the counties where these immigrants originate will not let any immigrants enter its borders in the name of sovereignty and national (and racial) harmony. However, let a European or North American country make that same claim – and we are labeled racists. What a double standard.

  10. 13 T
    September 22, 2009 at 14:51

    Maybe part of the solution is to face this fact. How many citizens are willing to do the jobs that many migrants do for much less than minimum wage?

  11. 14 vijay pillai
    September 22, 2009 at 15:54

    I think it is he problem for eurpean union to deal with but if uk at war in afgansitan,unfortunalty the message get across that uk has moral obligation to afganistanis.You see we have soft spot for people of developing world but when they come here they start prreaching anti-british views. That makes people weary of letting in genuine refugees.

  12. 15 Dinka Aliap Chawul-Kampala,Uganda
    September 22, 2009 at 16:24

    While journey from Africa by Africans to Europe is so awful as such,i think borders should open for they remaining survivors to complete their dreams.

    Many left their countries for several reasons not because they hate their country but it might be that country is so favorable for them to live in.Imagine boarding the light boat that goes across the Mediterranean Sea for the sake of reaching Europe should clearly act as a truth teller to the civilized world about the full story behinds the migrations.

  13. 16 Ibrahim in UK
    September 22, 2009 at 16:24

    Re Charity starts at home: The largest recipients of US aid are Israel and Egypt. None of this is for humanitarian or charity purposes (the majority is in the form of military aid). First to fund Israeli acts of war and the occupation of Palestine, the second is to support a pro-US dictator’s stranglehold on power.

    The majority of immigrants from developing countries go to neighbouring countries or the nearest prosperous country that allows them in. Hundreds of thousands went to Dubai to work in construction (despite the horrendous treatment they receive), but the numbers are controlled by Dubai to suit their employment needs.

    The EU doesn’t seem to have the same kind of controls or even a coherent policy on immigration.

  14. September 22, 2009 at 17:04

    The British are a very generous nation. But they must have the right to decide who enters the country and who does not. Patrick Hayes,not only wants to open the gates;he wants to take them off the hinges,not a clever or wise suggestion at all,invited guests only thank-you.

  15. September 22, 2009 at 17:05

    The issue of Migrants is complex to the extend that one would find it difficult to resoulve. However, if my country were one of those migrant seeking countries, I would have wish there be as system put in place to look into to the plight of migrants. All I think now is migrants are just like me and they also wish to live better like any other person. So I think the wold leaders should think about better ways out for both their citizens and those migrants knocking at their doors.

  16. 19 barbara
    September 22, 2009 at 18:53

    the afghan men in and trying to get into uk are deserting their country in its time of need, leaving the women to suffer, the mission is more likely to succeed if the afghans did the right thing and join the fight for democracy instead of leaving it to our honouracle courageous forces.

  17. 20 nora
    September 22, 2009 at 22:04

    If you send arms to an area, take the refugees that come with the disturbance. If you held colonies, learn to treat the former subjects as full human beings. As part of the Sottish/Irish diaspora, I might point out that there are more of us out here than at home. Should we all be sent packing back to Europe?

  18. 21 Roberto
    September 23, 2009 at 02:02

    RE “” Is it time to open our borders? “”

    ———- How ’bout you open your wallet and home for whomever wants some.

    Start voting for anarchy in elections. Might as well take the plunge and make your body free for whomever and whatever.

    That’s the ticket……….next……..

  19. 22 Mike
    September 23, 2009 at 04:59

    No. We in developed countries cannot continue to allow economic migrants settlement. It has change the face of Britain, in the main, not for the better. We are NOT and immigrant country anymore. We have enough problems without importing more.

  20. 23 Dilys
    September 23, 2009 at 11:32

    We seem to be reluctant to grasp the nettle and do the only thing which will, over time, reduce the numbers trying to reach the UK. Send them back immediately to their country of origin. I know people will say its unfair, we need to be more caring etc. etc. But if I let myself become too ill how can I care for my mother, sister, child and so on. It is the same for countries we cannot keep taking people in indiscriminately there has to be some control. If we send them straight back, and I really mean straight back, no putting in camps, released pending investigation or any of the other euphemisms used to avoid the issue, the message will get through that if you try this and are picked up you will be returned again and again and again. But as it stands Europe and UK in particular are seen as a soft touch, so afraid of the human rights lobby that we bury our heads in the sand and pretend there isn’t a real issue. In the UK we are becoming more and more intolerant because we are having these issues rammed down our throats with no real opportunity to fight back because every time someone says ‘human rights’ it over-rides everything, especially common sense.

  21. 24 scmehta
    September 23, 2009 at 13:49

    No. There never was a worse time for opening borders than what it is these days. What with so much of terror-oriented extremism, violence and chaos, giving rise to multitude of administrative and security problems, the borders need to be more tightly closed and controlled than ever before; There may be a few exceptions, some good neighbourly ones, who are not in need of any cross-border restrictions. Generally speaking, we, in the present circumstances, can only pray for a good and not better world, because there never was a time before when we were good enough.

  22. 25 NSC London
    September 23, 2009 at 15:08

    Sidenote, didn’t the last batch of men we let in from Calais wind up living on benefits to the tune of £100K per day at the expense of the taxpayer?

  23. 26 NSC London
    September 23, 2009 at 17:17

    The censorship is pretty thick around here. Yet another comment didn’t make it onto the board.

  24. 27 Jim Newman
    September 23, 2009 at 20:54

    Hello again
    The constant transmigration and human trafficking is the result of the human overpopulation of our planet.
    The problem is excacerbated by a political and financial system imposed upon the world by the rich and powerful. Enormous profits are made from poverty and the impoverishment of whole populations – most South American countries produce cash crops to the detriment of food crops to nourish their populations – in Afghanistan and Iraq greed for oil has impoverished the population – the arms trade is a major cause of impoverishment – in the Middle East another cause of poverty is the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Palestine.
    More to follow.

  25. 28 Jim Newman
    September 23, 2009 at 21:10

    Hello again
    Concerning France and the clearance of the immigrant ghetto called ‘ the jungle’, the minister of immigration rightly recognised the duty of France towards the immigrants from Afghanistan ( after all France is partly responsible) but the excuse given by M. Besson for the clearance was to discourage human traffickers. I fail to see how bullying the victims can discourage the culprits.
    As I said in my previous comment the problem is human overpopulation and neither M. Besson nor any single country have the capacity to tackle this problem let alone solve it.

  26. 29 Fakebba
    September 24, 2009 at 18:55

    I suggest that yoou guys leave those poor boys to live their llive. base on the west’s hidtory when your grand parents came running to me, stealing everything they show for you, I did not ask why they were in my country or debate with my countrymen whether they should stay. I welcome them with open arm. How dare you asked whether these boys should stay or be sent home?

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