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  • Tatiana Krivosheeva

Why not start with tourism?

All borders will reopen at some point, and one day, I believe, there will be no borders at all. Why? Because there is no economical or moral logic to closed borders, visas, work permits, etc. Unfortunately, that time will not come very soon. Right now, I would like to raise a more specific point which may have a better chance of being solved quickly.

Why do some foreign tourists require visas?

The opponents of open borders usually raise the following arguments:

  • foreigners may take the jobs of locals or drive the wages down

  • foreigners didn’t pay taxes but might use social benefits paid for by locals

  • foreigners might come to a country to destroy its way of living (foreigners are spies)

  • foreigners might be criminals and increase the crime rate in the country they come to

But these reasons don’t actually have much merit. In fact, Dr. Bryan Caplan in his cartoon book “Open Borders”[1] shows with facts and statistics that the above-mentioned worries are baseless. I suggest you read it, it’s highly enjoyable.

For now, though, let’s assume that the above arguments against open borders have real substance. In this case I still fail to understand why visas are required to visit foreign countries for tourism.

For example – imagine that Mr. Li, a Chinese national, goes to US to see the Statue of Liberty, Central Park and visit the Grand Canyon; or goes to Europe to enjoy the Harry Potter studio in England, or Opéra National de Paris in France. During such travel he cannot take jobs of any American or European citizens. On the contrary, Mr. Li will spend money and contribute to the economy of the country he’s visiting, which may in turn create new jobs down the road.

Yes, Mr. Li does not pay taxes in the country he visits (except for sales or VAT, probably) but he comes with health insurance and if he gets sick, he is covered. One may say - how do we know that he really purchased health insurance? We don’t, that's why visa is required. Who has travelled with visa knows that even airlines do every check possible, before allowing the person aboard. Moreover, passport controls don’t have to disappear and a foreigner will still be asked questions, sometimes a lot, upon arrival. This means that if passport control officers also check health insurance it will not add extra time to their task. Not to mention that nowadays many things are verified online, so traveler’s insurance can be downloaded to a database which can be seen by the passport control officer at his screen right when he is checking the passport.

Opponents of open borders may say, "Come on, Mr. Li just says he is coming to see the Grand Canyon, but in fact he will become an illegal immigrant."

That brings me to the main point. This argument is correct - we would never be aware of Mr. Li’s true intentions and circumstances. But this is not the reason to impose extra burden onto Mr. Li, at least because he is innocent before proven otherwise. Just think about it.

What if you were not allowed into the supermarket just because someone thinks that you might steal the food there? Absurd, right?

But there is more to this situation. Whoever comes to your country after going through the visa process or without it might, in theory, become an illegal alien, be a spy or have criminal intentions. The thing is, it's for law enforcement bodies to deal with. If such state agencies are failing to fulfill their function, why Mr. Li (who has not done anything wrong at the moment of arriving to the foreign border) is to be blamed for it?

So, either we accept that rights and “pursuit of Happiness” of any person are most important things in human society and that “to secure these rights, governments are instituted[2]”, and we open borders for Mr. Li on this basis while leaving it to government agencies to do their jobs.

Or, we have to agree that people and their rights exist to suit governments’ or politicians’ needs and words like “equality”, “freedom”, and “humanity” are nothing but self-delusion.

I believe we don’t have reasons to close up, untrust foreigners and anyone who is different from us, and that very soon any person from any country will be able get to the airport, grab a ticket to any city on the departure board and fly to discover new friends, attractions and experiences without any restrictions.

[1] Artwork by Zach Weinersmith. [2] United States Declaration of Independence passed on 4th July 1776.

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