Borders have been in existence since the early civilizations, with wars breaking out over something as small as scrubland. Most of the wars in history show that the cause of such conflicts has been borderlands. It has always been a reflection of the need of humans to protect their space, and that is probably why open borders continue to remain a concept under discussion even today.
Open borders are exactly what it means. It allows for free travel between the countries without any documentation like visa, passport, and other legal requirements. While open borders do not guarantee citizenship, it does allow for the free movement of people between nations. And also, open borders are classified into different types based on the amount of openness they allow the citizens of this world.
Types of open borders
While open borders are completely open without any conditions or restrictions, there is also another type of borders that are often part of the political debates between nations. There is a degree of openness involved with these borders, which define the type they belong to.
- Conditionally open: These are borders that allow people who fulfill certain criteria to enter the country freely. For those who meet these conditions, there is no documentation required to enter the country.
- Controlled: This is the case where there are certain restrictions like internal checks placed by governments on those who are allowed entry into their country. There are visas or free permits to visit for a short time allowed in these situations. The points of entry into the country are also limited in order to be able to restrict who enters the country.
- Quota based: This is when the government offers a quota-based border entry to immigrants. For instance, they impose only a certain number of citizens can enter the country in a year. There are also restrictions levied on who can enter the country in a year and from which country in this criteria.
And there are also closed borders like the one between North and South Korea, where no one is granted entry.
Why are open borders an advantage?
- With more and more open borders, the immigrants will not be crowding in a single place but will rather be dispersed across the world. This will further reduce the burden on the local job markets, the development of the local economy, and so on.
- There is also a cost involved in controlling the restrictions on the border, like the installation of security personnel, cameras, and other equipment. With open borders, there is no need to worry about this cost as it becomes redundant.
- The open borders help the nation’s economy by bringing in fresh labor at a lower cost. Generally, the immigrants arrive in groups, and they are in search of livelihood and a better place to live. Studies indicate that the GDP increases with open borders.
- When people take illegal immigration routes, which also makes them an easy target for the exploitation of labor. There have been many cases of physical abuse and financially mistreated reported in cases of illegal immigrants, which can be easily avoided with an open border policy.
Open borders – is it all roses?
Like every regulation and policy, there is a flipside to open borders as well. When people flee a nation owing to political or other issues, it often leaves the nation under a lot of duress. Guyana is a standing testimony to this fact. Also, when we speak of open borders, we are not speaking of just people movement, but it also means the easy movement of goods. This means there is a possible way for illegal trading, which cannot be countered. There could also be a possible crowding in a single country, which can result in overpopulation.
The influx of immigrants can also pose a security risk to the nation that allows them in. A possible clash of cultures can also be a result of the many immigrants flowing into a nation. There is a reason for cheap labor and the need to escape from a country, which basically drives the immigration of many.
Open borders have been the main focal point in many political discussions across the world. The agenda of the open borders is, however, a question of contention, as it has its roots in both political and economic sides.