Whose "no borders"? Achieving border liberalization for the right reasons.
Article Type: Report
Subject: Population transfers (Analysis)
Author: Gill, Nick
Pub Date: 09/22/2009
Publication: Name: Refuge Publisher: Centre for Refugee Studies Audience: General Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Sociology and social work Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2009 Centre for Refugee Studies ISSN: 0229-5113
Issue: Date: Fall, 2009 Source Volume: 26 Source Issue: 2
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United Kingdom Geographic Code: 4EUUK United Kingdom
Accession Number: 258439535
Full Text: Abstract

Free population movement promises greater human liberties and improved economic performance. Inevitably, however, there are critics. Most vocally, the conservative Right points towards the erosion of Western welfare systems, the large migratory movements that a No Borders policy may precipitate, and the lowering of living standards in rich countries to approximate those in poor countries. This paper argues that, although the claims of the Right are often exaggerated, these objections have served to paste over important differences between advocates of No Borders, producing some unlikely bedfellows in opposition to conservative arguments. In particular, an uncomfortable conflation between liberal and Left-wing ideology has emerged as a result of the specific discursive strategy of Right-wing commentators to obfuscate distinctions between these ideological stances. After outlining the arguments of the Right for context, this paper responds to this conflation by distancing a Left-wing No Borders position from a free-market liberal No Borders position. It does this by using Left-wing arguments to criticize liberal No Borders ideology, and concludes by suggesting some key features of a Left-wing No Borders position.


La liberte de mouvement des populations promet un accroissement des libertes publiques et une amelioration des performances economiques. Inevitablement, des critiques se font entendre. L'un des plus bruyants, la droite conservatrice, craint l'erosion des mecanismes de protection sociale mis en place dans les societes occidentales, les grands mouvements migratoires qu'une politique No Border pourrait precipiter et le rabaissement du niveau de vie dans les pays nantis vers celui des pays pauvres. Bien que les affirmations de la droite soient souvent exagerees, le present article soutient qu'en servant a masquer d'importantes differences entre les partisans No Border, ces objections ont suscite d'etranges oppositions aux arguments conservateurs. Un assemblage particulierement inconfortable entre l'ideologie liberale et gauchiste est apparu a cause de la facon dont les commentateurs de droite brouillent les distinctions entre ces positions ideologiques. Apres une mise en contexte rappelant les arguments de la droite, l'auteur repond a cet enchevetrement en distinguant la position No Border de la gauche de celle du liberalisme economique. L'auteur se sert des arguments de la gauche pour critiquer l'ideologie liberale No Border et suggere, en conclusion, quelques tactiques susceptibles de rehausser la position No Border gauchiste.


This paper examines three positions on the No Borders debate. First, it reviews the arguments of what are called here "Right-wing Conservatives." These commentators are generally suspicious of migration, often on the basis of arguments about resource depletion in terms of jobs, welfare benefits, and space, or alternatively on the basis of "national identity" being undermined. These commentators are, of course, not a homogeneous group and the views I present in what follows are necessarily somewhat general. The second position on No Borders is in disagreement with the first on the basis that the economic gains available through increased migration outweigh the costs and are often underestimated. This school typically draws upon notions of economic efficiency to demonstrate their case: borders are an impediment to the functioning of a free market, so their arguments go, and so we can label this school "liberal." Again, liberal commentators are in reality a diverse group, so a caveat that the characterization of this group is a generalization is necessary.

Notwithstanding this caveat, this school would argue that various parties gain from migration, including migrants themselves, sending countries, and receiving countries. Because the liberal school is often in conversation with the conservative Right, however, the gains to receiving communities are frequently foregrounded, since the conservative Right is most interested in the fortunes of this group. A third position is that of Left-wing commentators. A Leftwing ideology does not immediately produce a position for or against No Borders. Capitalism is served by the immobility of the working class, but could just as well be served by its mobility. There are therefore some Left-wing advocates who would argue against a No Borders position on the basis that borders protect would-be migrants from competition with each other. In the spirit of this special issue, however, I set out to outline the features of a Left-wing No Borders position, in relation to and in distinction from a liberal No Borders position. Again, the complexity of the Left means that this aspiration is bound to generalize, and it is for this reason that I offer no more than what I will call "suggestions" about what that position would look like in the conclusion of the essay.

This project of defining what a Left-wing No Borders position would look like has become necessary because the conservative Right tends to conflate Left-wing and liberal positions, which can cause confusion on the Left. Indeed, it is clear that some elements of the conservative Right set out to achieve such a conflation. Clarifying points of difference between a Left-wing approach and a liberal approach, then, can be seen as an attempt to resist the strategic discursive strategies of the conservative Right that would disempower both the Left and the No Borders lobby by making it unclear how they relate to each other. The project is also attractive from the point of view of its radical potential: the No Borders lobby is anti-capitalist, anti-statist, and anti-nationalist, and the Left could benefit by articulating its support of this movement in a way that is commensurate with its principles: this is the objective of this paper.

The first section will examine the way the conservative Right conflates liberal and Left-wing approaches. The second section addresses the arguments of the conservative Right directly, arguing that the range of reasons given by Right-wing commentators to be suspicious of migration are often exaggerated and ill-thought-through. In a similar vein, the third section goes on to outline some of the advantages--ethical, economic, and political--that might be available through a No Borders position. The fourth section, however, begins with the observation that economic arguments in favour of migration in particular are very different from principled ethical or ideological stances. In particular, this section criticizes the liberal arguments that have been given in favour of more open borders. The way these arguments have been framed countenances an instrumental view of migrants and their labour, which is antithetical to an ethically and ideologically informed Left-wing approach. To be clear, it is therefore the intention of the paper to argue both against the arguments given for tighter borders by Rightwing commentators, and against the largely economic arguments given for looser borders by liberais. The concluding section outlines the characteristics of a third position, a Left-wing No Borders stance, that seeks to avoid the exaggerations and nationalism of the conservative Right but yet also seeks to avoid the market-based instrumentalism of the liberal school. The definition of a Left-wing No Borders position is crucial if the Left is to support No Borders without being conflated with liberal arguments that would exploit, rather than protect, the international working class.

The Conflation of Liberal and Left-Wing Ideology by the Conservative Right

In this section I indicate how the conservative right has sought to conflate liberal and Left-wing positions in its characterization of debates about migration. This sets the scene for subsequent sections in which ! argue against this conflation.

The No Borders campaign is striking fear into the hearts of conservatives. In alarmist tones, Hawkins and Anderson (1) recount the gathering organization and momentum of a political movement that they call the "Open Borders Lobby." (2) In the foreword to their book, Horowitz describes their impact as follows:

From the perspective of British activists at least, the beliefs of Right-wing conservatives in the international organization, influence, and coordination of the Open Borders lobby are both satisfying and risible. On the one hand, it is bracing to think that years of campaigning against false imprisonment, arbitrary and unlawful detention, and inhumane border control practices may be reaping dividends through the formulation of international activism against border control. On the other hand, however, it is abundantly clear that the alarmism of the Right is unwarranted and that the British No Borders movement at least remains dispersed, disaggregated, embryonic, out-numbered, underfunded, and undersupported. The reality, as British radical activists and scholars know only too well, is that the image of No Borders as a coherent and organized international entity that commands billions of dollars in support of its lobbying activities is the stuff of conservative dystopian nightmares, and little more. The splintering, fracturing, and ideological disunity of the radical Left, and the ambiguity of its relationship to the No Borders lobby, rules out such cogency and influence. (4)

Two points emerge from the way in which conservatives discuss the No Borders campaign, however. First, a characteristic of the way in which conservatives frame migration issues is their use of alarmist, extremist language. As Turton (5) points out, the metaphors used by conservatives employ a range of linguistic devices, from metaphors of flooding, tidal waves, and dams, to a routine association of the figure of the migrant with terrorism, lying, and contagious disease. Nowhere are these discursive strategies more apparent than in the Right-wing British printed press. (6) As a measure of the effectiveness of these exaggerations, surveys indicate that the British public now overestimate the number of migrants and asylum seekers resident in the UK by approximately a factor of ten. (7)

A second notable conservative discursive strategy concerns their conflation of liberalism and the Left. Returning to Horowitz's dismayed account of the impact of the "Open Borders Lobby," his association between the campaign for border liberalization and the Left, imagined as a coherent and well-funded international organization, is evident:

While the ethical arguments for and against border liberalization have received, and continue to receive, academic attention (9) there is more work to be done in refuting the exaggerated and alarmist claims of conservatives who are concerned about the implications of No Borders, while the association between liberalism and the Left that Right-wing vocalism has produced also deserves closer attention. In particular, it is clear that the Left has a history of ambivalence towards more open borders: some on the Left see union-hostile employers using loose border controls to generate wage depressive effects, and this complexity needs to be recognized. In order to address the conflation between liberal and Left-wing positions, it is helpful in the first instance to distance both of these from the claims of the conservative Right. The next section deals with these claims critically in order to distinguish the conservative Right position, which will make an analysis of the different ways in which liberals and Left-wing scholars differ from this position easier in subsequent sections.

A Critique of the Conservative Right Position against Free Migration

In this section I critically examine the claims of the conservative Right regarding the pitfalls of looser migration controls both in order to critique these claims and in order to make the task of distinguishing the different ways in which liberals and those on the Left disagree with the Right-wing position easier in the final section and the Conclusion. One of the overriding concerns of conservative commentators when discussing the potential impacts of opening borders to migrants, or even the less extreme case of merely loosening migration controls, is the possibility that nation-states will cede their authority to non-state forces and relinquish their sovereignty in some way. These concerns, however, imply that states are generally successful in controlling their borders in the first instance. It is only on the assumption of a successful border control policy that waiving such control might be perceived as threatening. Yet numerous academic studies have drawn attention to the enduring inability of nation-states to control migration flows. Castles, (10) for example, lists a range of high profile postwar migration programs that failed to deliver the reductions in migration flows that they promised, including Australia's postwar migration program, Germany's guest-worker recruitment plan of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, and recent European migration control initiatives which have merely succeeded in creating "profitable international business for people smugglers." (11) From an historical perspective, Amilhat-Szary (12) draws attention to the long and complex history of Andean migrations in Latin America despite the long-term political and economic efforts of Spanish and Portuguese settlers to stem migration flows. More recently, Pipjers and Van der Velde (13) draw attention to the ability of intelligent migrating agents to negotiate the legal requirements of border control policies in the context of Polish migrant workers in the Netherlands and Germany. They identify a range of micro-level strategies that allow individual migrants to circumvent blunt, national-level laws, constituting a set of creative and sophisticated techniques that allow migration in spite of border controls.

The findings of these studies illustrate the difficulties of translating ideal policy stances into workable and effective migration policies. For Parker and Brassett, (14) this difficulty relates to a deeper characteristic of Western thought that makes the heroic assumption that states are capable of pursuing whichever ethical or moral stance they select. (15) Such a conflation of idealism and realism is, they argue, a characteristic flaw in post-Enlightenment thought. (16) In the context of migration control, there are intractable limitations upon effective border control management, including the difficulty of distinguishing lying from truth-telling migrants, the expense of maintaining borders, especially in an era of bio-technological border innovations, and uncertainty over the ability of politicians to use the border controls at their disposal in a manner that serves the political interests of the country they claim to represent. (17) Added to these difficulties are a host of constraints over Western democratic countries in particular that make the control of borders difficult to maintain. Western democracies rely upon international trade and tourism, making their borders permeable from the outset, and their long histories of migration render them subject to the momentum that this has created, for example in terms of migrant networks. (18) The fact that Western democracies tend to place a high value upon human rights also exposes individual states to humanitarian pressure to adopt loose border controls. (19) These structural factors, that perpetuate lasting differences between ideal and actual migration patterns, should indicate to concerned Western conservatives that the No Borders concept represents far less of a threat than they might imagine, precisely because the controlled borders that they wish to defend have very rarely existed in practice. What has often been more effective in stemming the movement of people into restricted territories is the withholding of status and rights from newcomers once they are inside the territories in question. (20) These mechanisms of exclusion would still operate when "borders" were removed. Although this line of argument does not address the broader and more concerning issue of why people so frequently regard the loss of sovereignty as such a bad thing in the first place, if we begin from the premise that state sovereignty is to be defended, there are nevertheless reasons to expect that it would survive the loosening of borders.

Alongside a loss of sovereignty, another common conservative preoccupation when discussing open or loosened borders is the volume of migration that they are expected to precipitate. In response to a question posed by the BBC, "Should Borders Be Open?," Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of the conservative British think-tank, MigrationWatch UK, responded with the following concerns:

These comments belie two separate lines of argument. First is the notion that "massive" flows of people would take advantage of No Borders and second is the argument that living conditions would equalize between rich and poor countries. In response to the first suggestion, numerous studies have indicated that large population movements would not result from border liberalization. Hayter, (22) for example, discusses the case of the Caribbean, whose population was free to emigrate to former colonial powers and the United States between 1950 and 1980. During this time, only 0.6 per cent of the population emigrated per year, even though the region was experiencing high unemployment rates at that time. If these rates of emigration were reproduced worldwide under a No Borders framework, they might be expected to lead to a 2.4 per cent annual increase in the populations of industrialized countries. This is because most people prefer to stay in their country of origin if and when they can, since there are often economic, linguistic, and cultural barriers to integration abroad. (23) The imposition of border controls may even, paradoxically, serve to limit the number of migrants who return to their countries of origin because when mobility is tightly regulated this tends to apply to movement both into and out of a country. (24)

These arguments have been recently illustrated through the experiences of Eastern European migrants following accession to the EU on 1 May 2004. Conforming to a long history of concern about the degree to which No Borders might provoke migration at each stage of European expansion, (25) there were widespread concerns about the degree to which Eastern Europeans would attempt to enter the rest of Europe, prompting the majority of existing EU member countries to delay the granting of free movement to Accession countries until after 2004. France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, among others, imposed such delays. As one of the few countries that did not, Britain experienced a heightened flow of migrants after Accession, alongside Sweden and Ireland. In describing these effects, Gilpin et al. (26) calculate that 300,000 Eastern Europeans registered for work in the year following European enlargement, representing roughly 1 per cent of the UK labour market and between 1.16 and 0.01 per cent of Accession countries' populations. While this is certainly not insubstantial, it does not represent the tidal wave of migrant flows that some were expecting, in spite of the fact that some of the Accession countries had GDPs per capita of less than a tenth of the UK's at this time. What is more, even given the size of the flows of Eastern Europeans to the UK, Gilpin et al. argue that there was no discernible impact upon native employment prospects:

This finding needs to be qualified with the observation that it refers only to the claimant count; i.e., those people officially recognized as seeking work. Less can be said about the unofficial unemployment rate, which might be affected by a contraction in informal and temporary work supply as a result of migration. Tellingly, market liberals and Leftwing scholars may well be divided on this point, with the former less concerned about the impact of such a contraction on conditions of work in temporary and informal sectors. Gilpin et al.'s findings therefore do need to be treated with caution, although their finding that official unemployment was not affected by the inflow of A8 migrants is still surprising and significant.

In response to the suggestion that living conditions would equalize between rich and poor countries under a No Borders framework, Sir Andrew is certainly not alone in expressing these concerns. Commentators as diverse as Carens, (28) Miller, (29) and Walzer (30) have all drawn attention to the potential for No Borders to provoke migration that undermines welfare provision and living standards. As with previous arguments, however, these concerns are sometimes exaggerated (31). One common misunderstanding in conservative literatures is the routine underestimation of the importance of the plethora of economic, social, and political mechanisms that maintain income inequality within receiving state jurisdictions, meaning that, even in the absence of effective migration controls, there are still a number of reasons to expect migrants to be unable to overcome inequality in receiving countries. Hanson, (32) for example, outlines the differential geography of anti-migrant sentiments in the United States, which is driven by the degree to which an area has a low-income, low-skilled workforce. Such areas are more exposed to the income-reducing, competitive effects of migration, so his argument goes, resulting in anti-migrant sentiment.

Various studies contest this income-reducing effect of migration. The Immigration Policy Centre's Special Report, for example, noted that migrant workers tended to locate in different places to unemployed native workers, command different skills, and have experience of different occupations, meaning that they cannot be unproblematically "swapped" and are not, therefore, in direct competition. (33) What emerges as more important than the relation between unemployment and migration is the expectation of a relationship. As Cornelius and Rosenblum succinctly argue, (34) "Even if the actual effects of immigration on receiving countries are typically modest, many citizens of migrant-receiving states perceive negative consequences--economic and noneconomic--that lead them to prefer more restrictive immigration policies."

Aside from this debate, what is striking about Hanson's study is that those areas that do not have high concentrations of low-skilled workers may be relatively pro-migration, because the costs of migration do not fall upon them and/or are not perceived to fall on them. Such privileged areas may be shielded from the effects of migration by house and land prices that exclude migrants, or by the educational capital that they command, allowing them to access labour markets that migrants cannot. They can consequently "afford" to be relatively pro-migration, secure in the knowledge that they will not face increased competition for homes or jobs should border controls be weakened. This illustrates the salience of mechanisms that produce socio-economic inequalities in recipient countries, which will favour the rich with or without the presence of No Borders and should be a source of comfort to middle-class conservatives who are concerned about the erosive effects of freer population movement.

A fourth, oft-cited concern about No Borders involves the association between migration and the spreading of disease. Harper and Raman (35) trace the association of disease and migration to the rise of bacteriology, pointing out the long history of border control predicated upon the containment of disease. Even when Britain, for example, was in other respects a notably liberal state in the late nineteenth century, the prerogative to exclude those suspected of carrying contagious diseases, or "showing signs of madness," was retained. Moreover, the policing of borders on the basis of disease containment often takes on a racialized character. (36) The fear of migrants on a micro-bacterial basis has led to their increasing detention, incarceration, and quarantining. Such practices have been encouraged by sections of the conservative printed media who point out with incredulity both the bio-medical risks that migrants pose to native populations and, through these, the bio-security risks that they also represent. (37) For developed, Western states which, according to some commentators, are strategically exposed to biological attacks, these associations are particularly alarming. (38)

Yet Harper and Raman (39) also point out the contradiction between a view of the figure of the migrant as a carrier of disease, and the image of migrants as potential healthcare providers who remain over-represented as workers in the public health systems of many developed countries. The continuing import of people with medical knowledge to Western democratic countries undermines the notion that Westerners have access to superior medical facilities and medical human capital. What is more, the relation between disease spreading and globalization may be non-linear: it is reasonable to expect that relatively small movements of people and objects across space are capable of carrying disease, and that subsequent movements beyond this level will have little additional negative impact. In other words, if the privileged are free to traverse the globe, and non-human objects such as birds, planes, and cattle are also internationally mobile, then they are the ones who are culpable for disease spreading and, as long as they remain mobile, the fact that poorer people should also move, even in greater numbers, does not necessarily translate directly and proportionally into greater risks.

Arguments in Favour of Freer Borders

In the face of the evident difficulties confronting the conservative objections to a No Borders world, there appear to be very few reasons to not move towards implementing looser border controls. This is all the more apparent in the light of the potential gains that No Borders advocates associate with freer movement, which include, although are not limited to, the ethical, economic, and political advantages of No Borders.

From an ethical perspective, free movement has taken on the status of a right. Arguing against the notion that human rights are consistent across time and space, Smith (40) proposes that human rights can be discovered, and that the body of human rights can legitimately adjust to the social environment. At a time of greater possibilities of mobility, freer and cheaper transportation, and greater supposed gains available through the ability to travel, the evolution of the stock of human rights to include human mobility is at once natural and ethical. From a different perspective, Scarpellino (41) adds to the claims of ethicalists in securing the human right of mobility by pointing to the human rights infringements that are necessary to enforce closed boundaries. Faced with strict border controls, there will always be some people who attempt to circumnavigate them. Investigating the increasing death toll of would-be clandestine migrants at the Mexican-American border, which have risen in proportion to the militarization of the border, Scarpellino recounts the mobilization of an increasing array of forceful state powers. Similarly, Nevins, (42) examining the relationship between migrant deaths at the US-Mexican border and international coffee markets, states that deaths of "illegal" migrants rose from "... 180 in the years 1993 and 1994 to an annual average of approximately 360 for fiscal years 2000 through 2005 ... Fiscal year 2005 had the highest number of fatalities on record: 463." (43) The employment of military technologies to detect clandestine migrants, such as night-vision goggles, footfall detectors, and X- and gamma-ray scanners, alongside conventional weaponry, is commonplace and appears brutal and disproportionate next to the evident poverty and desperation of those who experience them. Other migrants take associated risks, such as travelling unlikely distances through deserts in intense heat and cold with inadequate provisions in order to avoid border controls. Similar risks are taken by people desperate to access Italy's southern border from northern Africa (44) as well as a range of other European countries. (45) Faced with the loss of life and difficult conditions that these migrants experience, Scarpellino (46) concludes that it is ethically indefensible to try to exclude them.

Alongside the ethical case for No Borders, academics have pointed to the economic advantages that human mobility precipitates. (47) Orthodox Ricardian economics has established that, whether or not a particular country gains from migration, freer movement of factors of production, such as labour, is economically efficient for the world as a whole, especially when trading conditions are not perfect, such as in the case of perishable goods or protected international markets. Although the gains from migration are dependent upon the level of transport costs, freer movement allows regions to specialize in the production of particular goods and, abstracting from the increased risk and dependence upon international markets that this implies, such specialization leads to overall increases in productivity. (48) Moreover, at a subnational scale, the gains from free movement are evident in the unfettered growth, and decline, of cities as the natural spatial unit of late capitalism. (49) While most humans on the planet live in urban environments, and economies are shaped around urban infrastructures, it seems bizarre, and is also economically counterproductive, to impose regulations upon movement at different, nonurban scales such as the largely fictional national scale. A reduction in national border controls would allow cities to expand and contract in response to the counterposed forces of agglomeration and dispersion (50) without being subject to external regulation, thereby achieving a more efficient match between migration supply and demand.

Further arguments can be made in favor of No Borders from a political perspective. The worldwide decline in interstate armed conflict over the past fifty years, charted by authors such as Marshall, (51) O'Loughlin, (52) and Kaldor (53) has been accompanied by increasingly large international movements of those displaced by violent conflict. Although conflict within countries, including civil war, has increased in number and intensity in recent years, the relationship between the mobility of those who are displaced and the reduction of inter-state wars deserves closer scrutiny. The potential for aggressive states to receive large in-migrations of refugees from countries that have experienced aggression could act as a deterrent against aggressive behavior in the first instance. The political and economic burdens that refugees impose upon destination states, at least in the short term, may be enough to deter military aggression in some cases, presuming a dose relationship between departments of state such as military- and migration-related departments. Certainly, we might have expected the Western-backed wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to have received weaker support in America and the United Kingdom if these countries had expected to accommodate the majority of displaced persons created in these conflicts. For aggressive states who share land borders with countries they are considering invading, the likely consequences of war may very well prompt them to reconsider military action in a climate of reduced or absent border controls. No Borders in this case promises to force aggressive states to carry an increasing proportion of the responsibility for their actions, although this of course would rely upon the specific type of No Borders regime in place, the cost of reneging on a No Borders agreement, and the specific political preferences and constitutional configurations of the states that were party to it.

Under peaceful conditions, the argument for No Borders can be further strengthened by recourse to international democratic theory. It has long been recognized that, despite the claims of democracy to represent voters equally in terms of political influence, the fact that some voters are confined to a determination of the outcome of elections in relatively powerless, debt-laden, economically dependent states renders their votes incomparable in influence to those cast by, say, Americans or Australians. No Borders promises to dispense with the inequitable compartmentalization of democracy into incomparable national units and would facilitate moves towards the equalization of the value and influence of votes cast around the world. The democratic fiction that votes are equal in value wherever they are cast, that is implicit in many arguments for democratization, (54) would be directly addressed by the potential for voters to move to those jurisdictions within which they would command most influence. One critique of this line of argument, however, is that it implicitly accepts the continued legitimacy of states as administrative and authoritative units, while some in the No Borders lobby would reject this legitimacy.

Challenges Facing the No Borders Campaign

The notion of No Borders therefore has real appeal. A utopian world that is devoid of state-imposed limits upon movement would be radically democratic. The No Borders campaign promises to invade privileged spaces and deliver many migrants from the positions of risk and marginality that they commonly occupy. Yet there are some real tensions between specific versions of No Borders positions. In particular, from a Left-wing perspective, arguments that support liberal borders have to be treated with some caution because the capitalist market economy also benefits from a lack of intervention. The concern for Left-wing advocates of No Borders, who would recognize all of the above advantages, must be that a No Borders policy could also potentially expose the international working class to the whims of the market (although this must be set against the potential to challenge capitalism through movement, which justifies many Left-wing arguments in favour of No Borders). The easiest way to make this point clear is to critique some of the arguments made for No Borders from a liberal perspective.

One of the most persistent arguments given by conservatives in relation to No Borders is that international mobility does not serve the national interest. Either by depriving incumbent nationals of their jobs, reducing wages, or putting pressure upon domestic welfare systems, this notion is deeply persistent. There is a grave danger, however, in refuting this myth. It invites us to enter into a debate about the worth of the foreigner in domestic, nationalistic terms. Riley (55) follows in the footsteps of a range of liberal commentators when he falls foul of this temptation in his book, Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders, which is intended to refute the same sorts of conservative myths that were characterized in the first section of this paper. In attempting to show that migrants are useful, Riley adopts arguments and language that are in danger of ratifying the exploitation of low-skilled migrant populations. In a section of his book entitled "Staying Competitive," Riley writes that:

Riley's arguments appear to recognize and accept that some part of migrant populations will do the work that many Americans do not want to do and are overqualified to perform. Evidence from a number of studies shows that migrants from developing countries are routinely underemployed, however, and often do not use the skills that they have acquired in their home countries, often because their qualifications are not recognized in their new country. (57) This means that new migrants are often no more suited to being "chambermaids" than established populations, but the fact that they have recently migrated acts to downgrade their skills (not because they lose skills as a result of the process of migration, but simply because they are seen as "foreign") constituting a mechanism that facilitates downward class mobility. The reason for letting migrants in, for Riley, is that they will then be able to service the needs and demands of the incumbent American population. In other words, free mobility will allow Americans to reproduce and shore up existing class hierarchies, with new migrants at the bottom of the pecking order.

While it is relatively straightforward to demonstrate that, in fact, foreigners are instrumental and constructive to Western society from the perspective of filling jobs and positions that Westerners do not want to perform, this demonstration reproduces and deploys the implicit assumption that it is acceptable to base one's attitude to "foreigners" on the gains that they offer. In another section of his book, entitled "America's Hardest Workers," Riley outlines the case for letting in foreigners who appear to want to work longer and harder than average Americans, demonstrating that participation rates among recent migrants are higher than for most Americans and that unemployment rates are, on average, lower. Without mentioning the possibility that the low wages they may be receiving might be provoking the apparent keenness of migrant populations to work as hard as they do, Riley recommends that America takes what it is given and accepts these hard workers for the hours and dedication that they offer. In so doing, Riley countenances a different expectation of native and foreign workers that, perversely, reproduces differences between them. Foreigners are welcomed into receiving communities conditionally, on the basis of their continuing over-performance and labour market subordination.

Perhaps the worst consequence of an instrumental attitude towards migrants concerns the legitimation of the exploitation of people moving from the "developing world," particularly those with professional expertise. With a high number of Western democratic countries facing far-reaching demographic changes, the developed world is in drastic need of imported expertise in a range of areas from medicine to the legal profession. What better place to look than the international market, which will allow developed countries to cherry-pick the finest international talent that the developing world has to offer, despite the attempts by numerous developing world governments to repatriate their most skilled graduates with relocation conditions packages, advertising campaigns, financial incentives, and a range of accompanying "diaspora strategies"? (58) In the face of shortages in key workers, the arguments for border liberalisation take on a particularly nationalistic tone:

Here, the vision of the migrant as a means to an end, that of American wealth creation, becomes strikingly apparent. International mobility is framed here as a strategy to disallow the migration of value-producing industry abroad, despite the comparative advantage of foreign countries. By propagating labour mobility, competitive industry need not locate in those countries that are producing competitive workers, thereby guaranteeing that America remains rich in world-dominating industry despite its loss of competitiveness.

As Honig (60) argues, agonizing about the usefulness or otherwise of the foreigner is central to the discursive mechanisms that allow recipient societies to define themselves as different from foreigners and in opposition to them, even allowing for sympathy towards them. (61) The very debate about whether or not to welcome migrants has the effect of defining "our" interests and producing "us" as a group that can legitimately determine entry and exit. Demonstrating this effect, Riley concludes his book in terms that are overtly couched in terms that emphasize the instrumental gains that migrants offer to America's economy and Americans' lifestyle.

With rhetoric such as this, arguments for looser migration controls should certainly not be confused with an attitude that welcomes "the foreigner" unconditionally, or seeks to share with "the foreigner" a similar standard of living or status to the incumbent population. (63) There is far less emphasis on what migrants have to gain and to lose in accounts such as Riley's than there is on what recipient states and incumbent Western populations may experience. For this reason, some myths circulated in conservative texts concerning the potential negative implications of No Borders are dangerous not only from the point of view of their prima facie inaccuracy, but also because they seek to engage critics on a discursive terrain that takes for granted the ethical license to discuss foreigners in instrumental terms.

A second difficulty with arguments for looser border controls that again draws not upon conservative, Right-wing arguments bur upon a concern for would-be migrants themselves is the common assumption that mobility is intrinsically desirable or pleasurable. Large literatures have begun to emerge on a variety of different aspects of mobility. (64) Throughout these studies, however, the common tendency is to see movement as a good thing that is worth defending. In contrast fixity, mobility's opposite, is generally associated with exploitation and, at the extreme, a lack of freedom and human rights. The right to free movement has been discussed by a variety of authors, and, through these discussions, mobility itself is lauded as a valuable attribute of human experience.

Yet throughout history, long-distance mobility has often been costly, regrettable, and undertaken more frequently by the marginalized and exploited. In terms of cost, not only does long distance movement impose travel costs, bur it also imposes psychological costs that deprive individuals and families of the stability that many desire, especially in the case of the frequent and repeated movement associated with transnationalism such as seasonal migration, international commuting, and the cyclical migration that environmental events can give rise to. (65) Through his examination of the middle-class experience of repeated mobility, Sennett (66) outlines the features of a stable, fixed life that are foregone by constantly moving around, including a community that extends further than the internet and is capable of constituting a long-term witness to one's life. While the dangers of overstating the value of communities are well documented, (67) Favell (68) similarly reveals the decreasing returns to continued mobility that skilled, mobile European workers routinely experience. Discussing the experiences of telecommunications workers in London, whose lives are punctuated by almost constant migration and movement, Favell identifies the weightlessness that these workers often experience, the difficulty they have in stopping being mobile when family circumstances or life-cycle events intervene, the uncertainty that regular movement introduces to their lives, and the feeling of disaffection that accompanies frequent movement.

Favell concludes that "The social theorists of mobility have it wrong. There are human limits to flexibility, movement, and transience ... Ultra-mobility is not a stable long-term option for real people...." (69) While working-class people have generally not experienced this degree of mobility, there is nothing to suggest that their experience of it would be any different; indeed we might expect it to be all the more disorientating without the financial means to return home if required. In recognition of the psychological costs of movement, the UN posits that, unless provoked by poverty or the fear of violence, volitional mobility can be expected to be more the exception than the rule, underscoring the common human desire to remain fixed and settled wherever possible. Hence, while migration is not always crisis ridden (70) and sedentarist ways of thinking are often obfuscatory, (71) the UNHCR represents the majority view when it posits that "Unless he [sic] seeks adventure or just wishes to see the world, a person would not normally abandon his home and country without some compelling reason."(72)

For Habermas and Ben-Habib, the paradox of the valorization of mobility is precisely in its implicit, simultaneous referencing of fixity and stability. "The new value placed on the transitory, the elusive and the ephemeral," they write, "discloses a longing for an undefiled, immaculate and stable present." (73) In the light of both the economic and psychological costs of mobility, then, the routine association of mobility with freedom is alarming (although this is not the same as claiming a right to mobility). This is especially the case given that the mobility of the working classes so clearly serves the interests of organized capitalism, notwithstanding the fact that their immobility does the same. Given a global mismatch between labour skills and productive industry, the work of increasing human mobility brings about a direct transference of the costs of matching these two elements from the corporate to the realm of households, families, and individuals. That such a consequence should be accompanied by assertions of the fundamental links between human rights and human mobility leads us to question whose human rights these might be. As Zizek (74) outlines in his article entitled "Against Human Rights," the work of fundamental human rights assertions is often partial and reflective of the interpretations of the acceptable and legitimate humanism of the dominant classes. These assertions are always in the name of supposedly universal values and truths. (75) In this light, the disturbing ability of capitalism to produce the ideologies that will facilitate its own continued expansion have been noted. David Harvey, for example, discusses the ability of the logic of capital to bring about "cultural, political, legal and ideological values and institutions." (76) In the case of human mobility, the fact that the working classes have often been the ones to relocate in order to fulfill the spatial demands of industry should alert us to the possibility that the present liberal consensus surrounding the desirability of free movement may actually ideologically facilitate exploitation.

A further difficulty confronting the No Borders concept is that states are often objectified when calling for looser border controls. It is as if strict borders are the result of state intentions alone, implying that states have both the license and ability to repeal them. In fact, while border policies and migration laws are certainly enabled by states, they are generally reflective of deeper social causes that prompt states to implement and pursue such policies. As MacKinnon (77) has argued in a different context, the law is best seen not as a cause of social inequality but as an effect of social attitudes. From this perspective, a focus upon border control policies risks diverting attention away from the generic social xenophobia, racism, and hostility towards migrants that is still common in Western democracies, as various studies of the British printed tabloid press indicate. (78) The tendency of No Borders advocates to request that states repeal border controls has the consequence of overestimating the agency of state actors in the process of migration policy and law formation. Perversely, then, the call for No Borders risks state centrism even as it appeals for state withdrawal.

A final difficulty with arguments in favour of liberal borders is, again perversely, its Western centrism. Calls for No Borders imply that Western countries are in some way more desirable locations than developing countries and, by wanting to migrate, migrants themselves confirm this suspicion. The first question that should be asked, therefore, is why these differences in desirability exist. Most answers would point towards the wars, famine, and poverty that often plague developing countries. The difficulty from the perspective of No Borders, then, is twofold. Firstly, there is a risk that by opening borders the symptoms of these difficulties are treated, but not the causes. Human migration away from war and poverty is perfectly understandable, and yet to facilitate it is not to tackle its root causes--which a Left-wing approach would identify as the mode of production and the material inequality between classes. Secondly, by opening borders there is a risk that the West may be assuaged from any further responsibility for those trapped in poverty or in war-torn areas. Migration in this sense could be seen as yet another spatial "fix" that allows the basic exploitative mechanisms of capitalism to continue to operate by releasing political and economic pressure within the system in innovative ways. Moreover, as Van Hear demonstrates, it is very often only the most educated, innovative, and well-connected individuals who have the social and economic resources to migrate away from destitute or violent places. (79) For those without these means, No Borders would simply exacerbate the brain drain and out-migration of able and educated people from their areas of the world and the remittances that they are, admittedly, likely to send home would be unlikely to compensate for their presence in the long term. This returns us to a concern for class: Mobility is not a panacea and long-distance, cross-border migration with status is, in fact, only open to a relatively small section of the population. The inherent inequality of mobility itself means that to liberalize borders may be to introduce yet another mechanism of injustice that divides rich from poor. As is typical of policies that are described with the label "liberalism," the actual freedom that such policies deliver to those that experience them is often contingent and partial.


Where does this leave Left-wing intellectualism in relation to the No Borders debate? It may be argued, from a pragmatic perspective, that it does not matter whether No Borders are achieved as a result of instrumental, ethical, or Left-wing arguments. If the upshot of these points of view is the same, then perhaps the ends are worth the means? While this argument may carry some weight in the short term, historical experience in Europe suggests that the status of migrants who have been accepted purely for instrumental reasons by destination countries tends to be lower, with certain migrants experiencing heightened degrees of social segregation and racism. What is more, when these economically expedient migrants become ill, when they have dependents, or when they want to receive an education, the instrumental view of migrants is in danger of countenancing limitations of access to the services they require. By not viewing migrants holistically, as social and cultural agents with familial and historical ties and also as economic agents, and thereby by not admitting the responsibilities that go hand in hand with allowing migration into a country, many European countries which have attempted to implement economically driven temporary admissions programs have merely succeeded in exacerbating social tensions. (80) Any argument that emphasizes the similarity between economic, ethical, and Left-wing reasons to allow No Borders may be short-sighted by not anticipating what will happen when either migrants cease to be economically advantageous to destination countries but nevertheless seek to remain, or when economic conditions worsen and migrants begin to occupy employment opportunities that incumbents also desire.

For these reasons, this paper has argued that the discursive position from which No Borders are advocated matters. If our objective in arguing for No Borders is to secure the long-term, unconditional access of migrants to receiving countries then it is imperative to attend to the specific reasons given for No Borders advocacy. Can we therefore conceive of a Left-wing position that avoids the pitfalls both of Right-wing conservatism and of free-market liberalism, and that also achieves support for a No Borders position? I would suggest that it is both necessary and possible to counteract Right-wing conservatism and their tendency to conflate Left-wing and liberal positions, by supporting No Borders whilst also not relying upon the economic expediency of migration to middle-class Western interests. The following four suggestions would begin to characterize such a Left-wing No Borders approach:

* Valuing principle or ideology over economic or political gain, which may mean valuing means over ends and abstaining from making arguments in favour of No Borders that draw on modes of thought that are inconsistent with Left-wing ideology. Specifically, just because freer migration would enrich receiving countries and their citizens is not a good enough reason to argue for freer migration, because this view implicitly takes the view that it is acceptable to base decisions about migration on the gains available to middle-class and Western interests.

* Maintaining an awareness of the workings of capitalism and the risks of supporting or facilitating it. A Left-wing approach would be cognizant of the potential for both immobility and mobility to serve the interests of capital and the capitalist class. An approach that is context-specific and avoids over-generalization about the pros or cons of mobility would therefore be appropriate. On this logic, No Borders arguments would be mobilized on the condition that they were commensurate with anti-statism and anti-capitalism.

* Valuing people equally regardless of where they are born or reside, and remaining radically committed to supporting policies that confront the system of nation-states that threatens this equality. An insistence on this point would avoid the risk that arguments for mobility and freer borders are made with the objective of moving people with lower status into positions from which they can serve the needs and meet the demands of people with higher status more easily, which is clearly the risk that some liberal arguments run.

* Being specific in discourse and discussion about the distinctions between approaches. There needs to be greater awareness on the Left of the strategies, intentions, and effects of conservative Right-wing commentators' discourses, which conflate liberal and Left-wing stances. This conflation introduces confusion that is all the more pervasive because it appears to offer both liberals and those on the Left a ready ally in the fight for freer borders. But the very different rationales these two schools put forward to justify freer borders must mean that the Left, at least, should seek to distance itself from liberal arguments, even as they support the same outcomes.

While this list is by no means exhaustive, it may go some way to helping No Borders advocates and Left-wing intellectuals determine the terms of the relationship they share.

This paper has argued for a richer perspective on the No Borders issue by suggesting that there are in fact three positions relating to the No Borders issue and not two (as Rightwing conservatives might claim). Although conservative commentators would have us believe that liberalism and Left-wing policies are comparable, these two arguments in favour of No Borders are in fact quite distinct. In particular, the tendency for liberal commentators to see migrants in instrumental terms introduces a degree of instrumentalism, nationalism, and Western-centrism about which Leftwing scholars with a concern for the international working classes would do well to be wary. More broadly, then, the binary dichotomies between Left and Right, liberal and illiberal, open and closed, as with an increasing number of political issues, insufficiently captures the variety of claims made around No Borders policies.


(1.) William Hawkins and Erin Anderson, The Open Borders Lobby and the Nation's Security after 9/11 (Los Angeles: Center for the Study of Popular Culture, 2004).

(2.) The distinction between Open Borders and No Borders is, briefly, that Open Borders advocates argue for a world in which nation-states move towards freer border controls, while No Borders advocates occupy the more radical position that nation-state controls over borders are undesirable even if they are loosened. This distinction, however, is sometimes not clear in the literature and for this reason, although this paper uses "No Borders," the arguments made here can be equally well applied to an Open Borders discussion.

(3.) David Horowitz, foreword to The Open Borders Lobby and the Nation's Security after 9/11, by William Hawkins and Erin Anderson (Los Angeles: Center for the Study of Popular Culture, 2004), 5.

(4.) Ash Amin and Nigel Thrift, "What's Left? Just the future" Antipode 37 (2005): 220.

(5.) David Turton, "Conceptualising Forced Migration" (working paper D, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford, 2003).

(6.) Ceri Mollard, Asylum: The Truth Behind The Headlines (Oxford: Oxfam Poverty Programme, 2001).

(7.) MORI, Britain Today: Are We a Tolerant Nation? Attitudes to Race, Migration and Asylum Seeking Today. A Survey among the General Public for Reader's Digest Magazine (MORI: London, 2000); MORI, Attitudes towards Refugees and Asylum Seekers: A Survey of Public Opinion. Commissioned by the Social Research Institute (MORI: London, 2002).

(8.) Horowitz, 6.

(9.) Matthew Gibney, The Ethics and Politics of Asylum: Liberal Democracy and the Response to Refugees (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004); Lisa Schuster, The Use and Abuse of Political Asylum in Britain and Germany (London: Frank Cass, 2003); Mehmet Ugur, "The Ethics, Economics and Governance of Free Movement" in Migration without Borders (see note 19), 65-96.

(10.) Stephen Castles, "Why Migration Policies Fail" Ethnic and Racial Studies 27 (2004): 205.

(11.) Ibid., 207.

(12.) Anne-Laure Amilhat Szary, "Are Borders More Easily Crossed Today? The Paradox of Contemporary Trans-Border Mobility in the Andes," Geopolitics 12 (2007): 1.

(13.) Roos Pijpers and Martin Van Der Velde, "Mobility across Borders: Contextualizing Local Strategies to Circumvent Visa and Work Permit Requirements," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 31 (2007): 819.

(14.) Owen Parker and lames Brassett, "Contingent Borders, Ambiguous Ethics: Migrants in (International) Political Theory," International Studies Quarterly 49 (2005): 233.

(15.) See Gibney.

(16.) Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony and Solidarity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999).

(17.) Robin Cohen, "The Free Movement of Money and People: Debates before and after '9/11'" (Working Paper No. 160/05, Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation, University of Warwick, 2005).

(18.) Doreen Massey et al., "Theories of International Migration: A Review and Appraisal" Population and Development Review 19 (1993): 431.

(19.) Antoine Pecoud and Paul de Guchteneire, eds., Migration without Borders: Essays on the Free Movement of People. UNESCO Social Science Studies Series. (Paris: UNESCO; Oxford and New York: Berghahn Books, 2007).

(20.) The argument that states are less interested in stemming flows of migrants than in curtailing their rights once they have arrived is made in Nandita Sharma, Home Economics: Nationalism and the Making of 'Migrant Workers' in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006).

(21.) Andrew Green, opinion in "Viewpoints: Should borders be open?" BBC News, April 13, 2004, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/ hi/world/3512992.stm#Green.

(22.) Teresa Hayter, Open Borders: The Case against Migration Controls (London: Pluto Press, 2004).

(23.) Ibid., 20.

(24.) Wayne Cornelius, "Controlling 'Unwanted' Migration: Lessons from the United States, 1993-2004," Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 31 (2005): 775.

(25.) Jan Kunz and Mari Leinonen, "Europe without Borders: Rhetoric, Reality or Utopia?" in Migration without Borders, 137-160.

(26.) Nicola Gilpin et al., The Impact of Free Movement of Workers from Central and Eastern Europe on the UK Labour Market. Working Paper No 29, Department for Work and Pensions (Leeds: Corporate Document Services, 2006).

(27.) Ibid., 48.

(28.) Joseph Carens, "The Philosopher and the Policymaker: Two Perspectives on the Ethics of Migration with Special Attention to the Problem of Restricting Asylum," in Migration Admissions: The Search for Workable Policies in Germany and the United States, ed. Joseph Carens (Providence: Berghahn Books, 1998), 3-50.

(29.) David Miller, "The Nation-State: A Modest Defence," in Political Restructuring in Europe: Ethical Perspectives, ed. David Miller (London: Routledge, 1994), 137-162.

(30.) Michael Walzer, Spheres of Justice: A Defence of Pluralism and Equality (New York: Basic Books, 1983).

(31.) See Han Etzinger, "Open Borders and the Welfare State," in Migration without Borders, 119-136.

(32.) Gordon Hanson, "Why Does Migration Divide America? Public Finance and Political Opposition to Open Borders" (Working Paper No. 129, Centre for Comparative Migration Studies, University of California, San Diego, 2005).

(33.) Immigration Policy Centre, "The Disparity between Immigrant Workers and Unemployed Natives: Untying the Knot," Special Report, Part 3 of 3, produced by Rob Paral and Associates (2009), http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/ sites/default/files/docs/Part%203%20-%20Unemployed %20Natives%2008-17-09.pdf (accessed 7 January 2010).

(34.) Wayne Cornelius and Marc Rosenblum, "Immigration and Politics" (Working Paper 105, Centre for Comparative Immigration Studies, University of California, San Diego, 2004), http://www. ccis-ucsd.org/PUBLICATIONS/wrkg105 .pdf (accessed 1 July 2010)

(35.) Ian Harper and Parvathi Raman, "Less Than Human? Diaspora, Disease and the Question of Citizenship," International Migration 46 (2008): 3.

(36.) Ming-Jung Ho, "Migratory Journeys and Tuberculosis Risk," Medical Anthropology Quarterly 17 (2003); Charles Briggs and Clara Mantini-Briggs, Stories in the Time of Cholera: Racial Profiling During a Medical Nightmare (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003).

(37.) Alan Ingram, "Domopolitics and Disease: HIV/AIDS, Migration, and Asylum in the UK," Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 26 (2008): 875.

(38.) Mohammad Rai et al., "Pakistan/India Open Borders ... to HIV?" AIDS 20 (2005); Daniel Hamilton and Bradley Smith, "Atlantic Storm," EMBO Reports 7 (2006): 4.

(39.) Hamilton and Smith, 33.

(40.) David Smith, "Open Borders and Free Population Movement: A Challenge to Liberalism," in Spaces of Democracy: Geographical Persepctives on Citizenship, Participation and Representation, ed. Clive Barnett and Murray Low (London: Sage, 2004), 113-127.

(41.) Martha Scarpellino, "'Corriendo': Hard Boundaries, Human Rights and the Undocumented Migrant," Geopolitics 12 (2007): 330.

(42.) Joseph Nevins, "Dying for a Cup of Coffee? Migrant Deaths in the US-Mexico Border Region in a Neoliberal Age," Geopolitics 12 (2007): 228.

(43.) Ibid., 229.

(44.) Donald Carter and Heather Merrill, "Bordering Humanism: Life and Death on the Margins of Europe," Geopolitics 12 (2007): 248.

(45.) Liz Fekete, "Death at the Border--Who is to Blame?" European Race Bulletin 44 (2003): 2-3.

(46.) Scarpellino (see note 41), 39.

(47.) See Gordon Myers and Yorgos Papageorgiou, "Towards a Better System for Migration Control," Journal of Regional Science 42 (2002): 51.

(48.) Paul Krugman, Geography and Trade (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1993).

(49.) Peter Taylor, World City Network: A Global Urban Analysis (London: Routledge, 2004).

(50.) Ian Gordon and Philip McCann, "Industrial Clusters: Complexes, Agglomeration and/or Social Networks?" Urban Studies 37 (2000): 513.

(51.) Monty Marshall, "Measuring the Societal Impact of War," in From Reaction to Conflict Prevention: Opportunities for the UN System, ed. Fen Hampson and David Malone (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2002), 63-104.

(52.) John O'Loughlin, "The Political Geography of Conflict: Civil Wars in the Hegemonic Shadow," in The Geographies of War, ed. Colin Flint (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 85-110.

(53.) Mary Kaldor, New and Old Wars: Organised Violence in a Global Era (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2004).

(54.) See Bob Jessop, State Theory: Putting Capitalist States in Their Place (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1990).

(55.) Jason Riley, Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders (New York: Gotharn Books, 2008).

(56.) Ibid., 69.

(57.) For a detailed examination of the under-utilization of refugee doctors' skills in the UK, for example, see Emma Stewart, A Bitter Pill to Swallow: Obstacles Facing Refugee Doctors in the UK (Geneva: UNHCR, 2003).

(58.) See Wendy Larner, "Expatriate Experts and Globalising Governmentalities: The New Zealand Diaspora Strategy," Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 32 (2007): 331.

(59.) Riley (see note 55), 67-68.

(60.) Bonnie Honig, Democracy and the Foreigner (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003).

(61.) This point is also discussed at length in Ghassan Hage, White Nation: Fantasies of White Supremacy in u Multicultural Society (New York: Routledge, 2000).

(62.) Riley, (see note 55), 216 and 224.

(63.) I use the word "incumbent" here to communicate occupation of a place without reference to any right to that occupation, which might be conveyed if I were to use "native," for example. Incumbent is a term taken from economics (the firm(s) that occupies a market is the incumbent, those that consider or seek to enter it are the newcomers). It is therefore intended to describe the fact of presence, without making a judgment about the naturalness of that presence.

(64.) See, for example, Kevin Hannam et al., "Editorial: Mobilities, Immobilities and Moorings," Mobilities 1 (2006): 1; Alison Blunt, "Cultural Geographies of Migration: Mobility, Transnationality and Diaspora," Progress in Human Geography 31 (2007): 684.

(65.) Nadje Al-Ali and Khalid Koser, "Transnationalism, International Migration and Home," in New Approaches to Migration? Transnational Communities and the Transformation of Home, ed. Nadje Al-Ali and Khalid Koser (London: Routledge, 2002), 1-14; Nicholas Van Hear, New Diasporas: The Mass Exodus, Dispersal and Regrouping of Migrant Communities (London: University College London Press, 1998).

(66.) Richard Sennett, The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism (New York: Norton, 1998).

(67.) Miranda Joseph, Against the Romance of Community (Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2002).

(68.) Adrian Favell, Eurostars and Eurocities: Free Movement and Mobility in an Integrating Europe (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008).

(69.) Ibid., 113.

(70.) Bob Sutcliffe, "Migration and Citizenship: Why Can Birds, Whales, Butterflies and Ants Cross International Frontiers More Easily Than Cows, Dogs and Human Beings?" in Migration and Mobility: The European Context, ed. Subrata Ghatak and Anne Showstack Sassoon (New York: Palgrave, 2001).

(71.) As Mimi Sheller and John Urry write, "Sedentarism treats as normal stability, meaning, and place, and treats as abnormal distance, change, and placelessness"; p. 208 in "The New Mobilities Paradigm," Environment and Planning A 38 (2006): 207-226.

(72.) UNHCR, 1979, Chapter 1, Article 39, quoted in Migration without Borders, 16.

(73.) Jurgen Habermas and Seyla Ben-Habib, "Modernity versus Postmodernity," New German Critique 22 (1981): 5.

(74.) Slavoj Zizek, "Against Human Rights," New Left Review 34 (2005): 131.

(75.) Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001).

(76.) David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change (Oxford: Blackwell, 1989), 344.

(77.) Catherine MacKinnon, Towards a Feminist Theory of the State (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1989).

(78.) See Mollard; Nissa Finney and Vaughan Robinson, "Local Press Negotiation and Contestation of National Discourses on Asylum Seeker Dispersal," Social and Cultural Geography 9 (2007): 397; Carolynne Coole, "A Warm Welcome? Scottish and UK Media Reporting of an Asylum-Seeker Murder," Media, Culture and Society 24 (2002): 839.

(79.) Nicholas Van Hear, "'I Went as Far as My Money Would Take Me': Conflict, Forced Migration and Class," Working Paper 6, Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) (Oxford: University of Oxford, 2004).

(80.) Stephen Castles and Mark Miller, The Age of Migration (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003); Stephen Castles, "Guestworkers in Europe: A Resurrection?" International Migration Institute 40 (2006): 741.

Nick Gill, PhD, is a political-economic geographer and is currently lecturer in human geography at the University of Exeter in England. His research focuses upon the intersection between new theories of government, state personnel, and the experiences of migrants. He is currently conducting Economic and Social Research Council funded research that compares asylum advocacy organizations in the UK and US.
America's borders have been under assault for forty years with
   consequences that are measurable and disturbing. The assault has
   been led by an Open Borders lobby that is sophisticated and
   powerful. Many of its components, moreover, have a history of
   antagonism to American purposes and a record of active support for
   America's enemies. Its funders are multi-billion dollar entities,
   who are unaccountable and unscrutinized. (3)

The concept of 'Open Borders' has long been an agenda of the
   ideological left. Since the 1960s, a vast network including
   hundreds of organizations and tens of thousands of grassroots
   activists, backed by hundreds of millions of dollars from leftwing
   foundations, has waged a sustained campaign to open America's
   borders to a mass migration from the Third World. Though these
   groups talk in terms of 'human rights,' the rights they demand are
   not the restrictions on government enshrined in the American Bill
   of Rights, but the claims on society for 'equity' and 'welfare' and
   special treatment for designated groups that are the familiar menu
   of the left and would, if enacted, amount to a revolution in
   America's existing social order. (8)

Given the huge disparities of wealth, open borders would lead to
   massive flows of people from the third world to the industrialized
   world until conditions there approximated to their home countries.
   This would be a recipe for chaos and would be entirely unacceptable
   to the inhabitants of the industrialized world. (21)

... overall, the economic impact of migration from the new EU
   Member States has been modest, but broadly positive, reflecting the
   flexibility and speed of adjustment of the UK labor market. Despite
   anecdotal evidence, there is no discernible statistical evidence
   which supports the view that the inflow of A8 migrants is
   contributing to a rise in claimant unemployment in the UK. (27)

The strong demand for low-skilled migrant labor is the result of
   more and more U.S. natives earning high school degrees, which is a
   good thing. It means more Americans are becoming more productive.
   But it doesn't follow that the jobs overqualified U.S. natives
   spurn are now obsolete. Lower-skilled workers, let's remember, tend
   to manufacture our goods, build our homes, harvest our crops,
   prepare our food, care for our elderly. They are nannies and
   janitors and truck drivers and chambermaids. Just because fewer
   parents are pushing their children toward the building trades
   doesn't mean that the United States has no use for stucco masons.

China is graduating four times as many engineers from college as
   the United States ... [T]he upshot ... is that Mumbai and
   Beijing--often by way of MIT and Stanford--are currently producing
   a good amount of the talent that Bill Gates needs to keep Microsoft
   competitive. Migration policies that limit industry's access to the
   talent become ever more risky as the marketplace becomes ever more
   global. If we want American innovators and entrepreneurs to
   continue enhancing America's wealth and productivity ... better to
   let Apple and Google and eBay make their own personnel decisions
   without interference from [migration restrictionists]. (59)

On the whole, migrants are an asset to America, not a liability. We
   benefit from the labor, they benefit from the jobs. Our laws should
   acknowledge and reflect this reality, not deny it. Let them in ....
   We still have much more to gain than to lose from people who come
   here to seek a better life. (62)
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