Open borders: A long-read Q&A with Bryan Caplan

What would an actual open borders regime look like? How would it affect those already living in the United States? And why is the case for open borders stronger than the case for restrictionism, or at least the prioritization of high-skill immigrants?

Bryan Caplan explores these questions in his most recent book: a work of graphic non-fiction co-produced with illustrator Zach Weinersmith, Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration.

Bryan Caplan is a professor of economics at George Mason University and a regular blogger at EconLog. He’s also the author of three previous books: The Case Against EducationSelfish Reasons to Have More Kids, and The Myth of the Rational Voter.

What follows is a lightly edited transcript of our conversation. You can download the episode here, and don’t forget to subscribe to my podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. Tell your friends, leave a review.

Pethokoukis: Open borders. I think to some people, it sounds like an idea that you would bat around in a college dorm room. In the real world, it sounds fanciful.

This might not be exactly what you mean, but it’s the idea that national borders would be the same as the borders between places like Illinois and Indiana. Am I right, or are you thinking of it a little differently?

Caplan: That’s definitely one version of it. You could still have open borders where you have all of your TSA, but they just let anybody in whose passport isn’t on a watchlist for crime.

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