Are “Open Borders” Really So Bad?

Daylin Leach
5 min readDec 23, 2022

Often, advocacy groups use extreme and false descriptions of their adversaries positions to frighten people. An example of this is the NRA telling people that supporters of gun-control want to “take all of your guns”. That’s not true. There is no mainstream proposal to do anything like that.

We may want to take guns away from violent felons who post about eating human hearts on Facebook along with pictures of their nachos (I assume the nachos are the appetizer and the hearts are the main course, but I’m open to persuasion on that). But nobody wants to take BB guns away from little old ladies who use them to shoot local birds and threaten their grandchildren, and nobody wants to stop Mitt Romney from hunting “varmints”. That’s just something they say to scare you out of supporting ANY gun restrictions.

Another issue on which the exaggerate-to-frighten technique is used is immigration. When I tune into Fox News for my nightly dose of “The Brown People are Coming!!!”, I am told by Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and and the perpetually squinting Elizabeth McDonald, that the “left” wants “open borders”.

Again, this is an effort to terrify the bejesus out of you, and most people, being very attached to their bejesuses, respond as intended. The phrase “open borders” is supposed to conjure images of hordes of non-English-speaking, tattoo-bedecked hellians racing into America to move into your shed, marry your children and steal your job as a middle-manager at Applebees.

But is open borders actually the pro-immigration position? And even if we had some form of open borders, would it really be so bad?

First, there is no legislative proposal for completely unfettered access into America. In other words, nobody is suggesting making our national borders as easy to traverse as the border between Pennsylvania and Ohio, where the only impediment to crossing is the knowledge of the traveler that they will be entering Ohio.

There is no bill pending in Congress that would create that situation, and I could not find a single mainstream immigrant-rights group that is advocating that. Certainly, even the most radical supporter of relaxing immigration rules thinks that we should at least know who is coming into the country. Nobody supports terrorists, or violent…

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Daylin Leach

Long-time state House and Senate member, author of PA’s Medical Marijuana law, also creator of “shit-gibbon!” Comedian, professor, father of 2 awesome children!