The Environmental Challenge to More Open Borders


  • Vlad TERTELEAC PhD Student, Faculty of Political Sciences, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania;


In this paper, I examine the case for immigration restrictions by formulating and discussing three environmental objections to a justice-based argument for more open borders. The objection from the right to healthy environment claims that increased immigration to developed states will result in overpopulation and states must restrict immigration in order to respect the basic human right to a healthy environment. The objection from global environmental effects claims that restrictions on immigration are justified in order to limit the total output of greenhouse gases emitted by developed states. The objection from the global commons claims that a more open border regime threatens the feasibility of policies that seek to control the growth of population in developing countries. I argue that all three versions of the environmental challenge fail to establish their conclusions and that the case for more open borders cannot be counteracted on these grounds.