Tag Archives: open borders

On the Rio Grande, Commerce Survives by the Honor System

The Rio Grande river flows along the southern perimeter of Big Bend National Park. Despite its natural beauty, Big Bend is an inhospitable place where you’re exposed to the elements at their most harsh – the mountainous desert sees brutally hot days and shockingly cold nights, oscillating regularly between the two extremes. It’s also inhospitable for those that don’t legally belong in the US.

An inland border patrol station sits between the park and the closest town, Alpine. Border Patrol agents search cars as they come up north from Big Bend towards the rest of Texas. We devote impressive money and manpower to the fight against illegal immigration, but meanwhile, in Big Bend, one can find a modest example of free enterprise defying borders.

Read more at FEE

Africa is about to take a big step towards open borders

This month, the African Union will strengthen its bid to ensure freer movement across the continent by issuing electronic  passports to heads of states and other government officials. These passports will allow them access to any country in Africa, the first step in an experiment to give civilians the ability to travel across the continent without visas by 2018.

Migration, visa openness, and free movement in Africa continue to top the agendas of high-level discussions, from the World Economic Forum to African Union summits. It’s promising to hear that African officials are taking seriously the need to eliminate travel restrictions to create better integration and development. But, how open is Africa for continental migration realistically?

Currently, only Seychelles has eliminated the need for a visa to  enter  the country. Rwanda and Mauritius provide visas on arrival to immigrants. Ghana recently followed suit and will begin implementation in July 2016.

Besides these few countries, statistics on free movement in Africa are not encouraging. According to a 2016 report by the African Development Bank, only 13 countries offer liberal access to all African citizens. The Visa Openness Index indicates that, on average, Africans need visas for 55 percent of other African countries, can receive visas on arrival in only 25 percent, and don’t need visas at all for only the remaining 20 percent of African countries. The least-open countries are in Central and Northern Africa, while the most open countries are in West and East Africa. Africa’s prosperous nations are generally less open to immigration, as only one in nine Upper Middle Income Countries according to the World Bank have high visa openness scores.

Read the rest at AfricanLiberty.org.

Now is the time to uphold the Schengen agreement

The current refugee crisis represents a moment of great stress for the European project. A plethora of voices are calling for change, but now is not the time to forsake the freedom of movement enshrined in the Schengen agreement.

In the last few months, the surge of refugees,  mostly from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, has strained the resources of many european countries. This weekend, the panicked German Interior Minister called for the border with Austria to be reinstated, in order to stop  15,000 people entering Germany in a single day.

At this moment, over 2,100 German border officers are deployed at the border of  small Alpine nation, verifying the documents of those seeking entry. For several hours, the Austrian rail company ÖBB was forced to halt its service to Munich, leading to a de facto closing of the border between the two German-speaking countries. The Czech Republic has followed suit by stationing guards on its borders with Austria.

The temporary implementation of border controls is allowed by the Schengen agreement. But European nations should avoid the temptation of extreme measures, lest they rupture a finely held ideal that has brought peace, prosperity, and freedom to millions of people.

Read the rest on CapX here.