Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Reblog: The Open Borders Manifesto

I repost here a copy of the open borders manifesto, which I first shared on this blog one year ago today, on Open Borders Day, 16 March 2015.

This seems especially pertinent now that the UK Government are moving to introduce, in April of this year, the spectacularly illiberal measure of imposing a minimum earnings threshold of £35,000 pa* for non-EU citizens wishing to live and work in the UK.**
"Freedom of movement is a basic liberty that governments should respect and protect unless justified by extenuating circumstances. This extends to movement across international boundaries.
International law and many domestic laws already recognise the right of any individual to leave his or her country. This right may only be circumscribed in extreme circumstances, where threats to public safety or order are imminent. We believe international and domestic law should similarly extend such protections to individuals seeking to enter another country. Although there may be times when governments should treat foreign nationals differently from domestic citizens, freedom of movement and residence are fundamental rights that should only be circumscribed when the situation absolutely warrants. 
The border enforcement status quo is both morally unconscionable and economically destructive. Border controls predominantly restrict the movement of people who bear no ill intentions. Most of the people legally barred from moving across international borders today are fleeing persecution or poverty, desire a better job or home, or simply want to see the city lights.
The border status quo bars ordinary people from pursuing the life and opportunity they desire, not because they lack merit or because they pose a danger to others. Billions of people are legally barred from realising their full potential and ambitions purely on the basis of an accident of birth: where they were born. This is both a drain on the economic and innovative potential of human societies across the world, and indefensible in any order that recognises the moral worth and dignity of every human being. 
We seek legal and policy reforms that will reduce and eventually remove these bars to movement for billions of ordinary people around the world. The economic toll of the modern restrictive border regime is vast, the human toll incalculable. To end this, we do not need a philosopher’s utopia or a world government. As citizens and human beings, we only demand accountability from our own governments for the senseless immigration laws that they enact in our name. Border controls should be minimised to only the extent required to protect public health and security. International borders should be open for all to cross, in both directions."

Originally from

Happy Open Borders Day!  Spread the word.

* £35,000 pa is way above (~35%) the median income in the UK, which according to the ONS was £496 pw in December 2015, which equates to £25,802 pa.  The government claims that the £35,000 figure was arrived at because it was the median pay of the UK population in skilled jobs which qualified for Tier 2 ("graduate level") at the time of the Migration Advisory Committee’s consultation in 2011.

** Note there are exceptions to this rule.  The new restriction only applies to a certain group of immigrants, specifically those working in what the government defines as "graduate level" jobs.  There are other exceptions in specific circumstances also.

See also here:

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