Topics: Human rights, Argument, National security Pages: 10 (2478 words) Published: May 23, 2014
Kasey Thompson
PHIL 3260-001
16 December 2013
Word Count: 2,416
National Security’s Inability to Justify Closing Borders
National security is incredibly important, however, it does not sufficiently justify closing borders. When placed up against different arguments in support of open borders, national security seems to come up short. The arguments I will discuss that are successful in discrediting national security’s ability to justify closing the borders are Kukathas’ principle of freedom and principle of humanity arguments, as well as Chamorro’s proportionality argument. These arguments debate the national security argument in two ways. First, by arguing for open borders rather than closed borders, and second, by arguing the meaning of national security’s entire justification overall as far as to what extent it is supposed to protect the citizens; basically both arguments argue what national security even means exactly. While these arguments do discredit national security’s justification, there are also observations outside of the text to be made that bring me to the conclusion that national security is not an acceptable justification for closing the borders.

National security is a right that citizens belonging to a specific state should have. To what extent though is the state responsible for securing the citizens? I think that it is important for the state to protect the fundamental rights of its citizens first and foremost. National security should be responsible for protecting citizens’ freedom and safety mainly. The issue of immigration doesn’t threaten either of these. The main argument supporting national security in protecting citizens against immigration actually has to do with the economy, so neither freedom nor safety is in jeopardy. Kukathas acknowledges these arguments and explains the two different concerns about the economy in regards to immigration. The two concerns that worry citizens the most as far as immigrants’ impact on the economy are the impact on the local market economy and the impact on the cost and availability of goods and services provided by the state. (Kukathas 211). While this argument is one of the strongest against open borders, it still isn’t enough for national security to be justified in closing borders. This is mainly because the possible outcomes of immigrant impact aren’t agreed upon. Kukathas explains that immigration overall would benefit both the domestic and global market, with the exception of a small group of people who would either be forced out of business or forced to accept lower wages. (Kukathas 212). While this is unfortunate, Kukathas makes the important point explaining that this entitlement to a job and higher wages isn’t exactly something national security should be held accountable for. He explains this in the article when saying, “First, it has to be asked why it must be assumed that locals are entitled to the benefits they enjoy as people who have immediate access to particular markets.” (Kukathas 212). This is especially important in making the argument against the justification of national security in closing borders because it challenges what should be considered a national security. I agree with Kukathas because I don’t think competition in the workforce is necessarily the nation’s problem. From a utilitarian standpoint, even though I think utilitarianism can get kind of tricky as well, if a couple people need to be less happy in order for the quality of life to improve for a vast majority of the rest of the world, than that is simply what needs to be done. So, utilitarianism is in agreement with the open borders argument standing up against that of the economical reasons for closed borders. National security should really only be responsible for basic human rights that are necessary to freely and safely live in a state anyways. National security is a basic right to citizens and is a very important fundamental to a...

Cited: Martín, Chamorro. "Proportionality and Borders." Retrieved From:
Kukathas, Chandran. "The Case for Open Immigration." Contemporary Debates in Applied Ethics. Malden: Blackwell, 2005. 207-20
Lyons, James A. "The National Security Component of Immigration Reform." The Washington Times [Washington] 14 Aug. 2013
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