Open borders are not compassionate

Migrants, part of the migrant caravan, take a bath at a sports complex where more than 5,000 Central American migrants are sheltering in Tijuana, Mexico, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. As Mexico wrestles with what to do with the thousands of people camped out in the border city of Tijuana, President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's government signaled that it would be willing to house the migrants on Mexican soil while they apply for asylum in the United States, a key demand of U.S. President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Over the past few weeks, a migrant caravan has made its way through Latin America and is now requesting asylum in the United States. Left-wing politicians have declared President Trump’s refusal to grant their request a humanitarian crisis. Congresswoman-elect Ocasio-Cortez even compared them to Jews seeking refuge from the Holocaust, but this characterization is misleading. The caravan has thrown rocks at border agents and used children as human shields in the ensuing scuffle – somehow I doubt many Jews hurled stones at Americans when they fled Germany. An objective look tells us they aren’t helpless victims, but protesters who want open borders.

As much as I’d like to attribute the left’s sympathy to ignorance, it’s become clear that many progressive Americans, understand that the “asylum seekers” are political hacks. In fact, many progressives embrace the concept of “open borders” and have proposed abolishing Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Behind this view is the idea that borders and regulated immigration are intrinsically racist concepts. However, this self-righteous position is dangerous. Opening up our borders puts our nation at risk from violent criminals and terrorism. It even harms legal immigrants who want to experience the American dream.

Let’s dismiss the myth that borders are somehow discriminatory. They exist for the same reason you put a lock on your door – for protection. Strong borders are key to guaranteeing safety; without them a nation can’t protect its inhabitants. This is important because the main purpose of the nation state is to offer protection from the outside, and the outside is a dangerous place. The United States shares a border with Mexico, a developing nation. Drug cartels, human trafficking and violent crime are prevalent throughout the country, making the crime problem in Chicago look quaint in comparison. The rest of Latin America is, generally speaking, even worse than Mexico. In short, the United States in particular has a need for strong borders.

Millions of innocent people try to escape violence and oppression by coming to the United States, and I, along with many other conservatives, believe these people will make valuable contributions to our society. However, any plan to welcome them must respect the integrity of our borders. We must unlock our front door, invite them in, then lock it again. Open border proponents, on the other hand, propose something more akin to ripping the door off its hinges so that they and anyone else can enter. This has dangerous consequences, which are anything but hypothetical.

One major, yet seldom discussed, consequence of porous borders is that they incentivize human trafficking. When it’s easy to cross the border illegally, an army of scummy people will take advantage of this and extort poor families in need of passage, creating a perfect scenario for human rights violations. According to Andrew Hanen, a federal judge familiar with the problem, human smugglers have raped, murdered and effectively enslaved many migrants. Perhaps one of the more infamous abuses occurred when dozens of illegal migrants died in a trafficker’s unventilated truck trailer due to extreme heat. Tragedies like this show that illegal immigration isn’t the result of the impassible boundaries of an oppressive regime, but rather weakness masquerading as compassion.

Human traffickers aren’t the only criminals that like weak borders; all kinds of criminals have flowed north because of them. One only needs to look at Mollie Tibbetts of Iowa, who was stalked and then murdered by an illegal immigrant last spring, to see the damage this has done. Contrary to popular belief, the crime problem isn’t anecdotal. Illegal immigrants make up 27 percent of the federal prison population despite being only nine percent of the adult population, which means that at a minimum they’re committing felonies at a rate three times that of the average citizen. Furthermore, the average convicted illegal immigrant was arrested over eight times and was convicted of nearly 13 offenses, according to a nonpartisan Government Accountability Office report. Some might think that these numbers are only high due to a racist criminal justice system, but there is little evidence for this allegation. Rather, they’re being arrested for serious offences. One in 10 were convicted of violent crimes (murder and/or rape), 15 percent were guilty of burglary or some other form of theft and nearly one in four were convicted for drug trafficking/dealing. None of these crimes would have happened if we prevented them from entering the country in the first place.

Any argument the left uses to oppose stronger borders always comes back to compassion, and there’s no doubt that the immigrant deserves compassion; moving to a new country isn’t an easy task. Many illegal immigrants deserve sympathy too; plenty of them only want better lives for their family and are here illegally because of our broken immigration laws. But, given the human trafficking and crime problem caused by porous borders, can anyone really claim that open borders are the compassionate solution? Even if a well-meaning newcomer never comes into contact with the issues I’ve mentioned, they’re still hurt by lax border and immigration policies because the evils committed by the bad guys smear the reputation of all migrants. President Trump took heat for generalizing all immigrants when he called them rapists and murderers but at least he can blame the gaffe on the unscripted nature of his speeches.However, open border advocates are always generalizing immigrants with the implication that we don’t need borders because all outsiders are good.When immigrants and foreign criminals are both treated as one group in need of compassion, people will inevitably become furious, and because the line has been blurred, find themselves hating both good and bad. This will lead to xenophobia and racism, which will reverse much of the progress the United States has made towards becoming a tolerant multiracial republic. Simply put, open borders not only compromise a nation’s sovereignty, they tear it apart culturally as well.


Jacob Marie is a contributor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at jacob.marie@uconn.com.