About OBS

OpenBordersScotland has been established to create debate and discussion on open borders. Our working assumption is that ideas shape actions, consequently any activity in support of immigration and immigrants must have ideas that support this. If, for example, support for immigrants is on the basis that they are vulnerable victims (as Syrian asylum-seekers were being portrayed during the summer of 2015) then proposed actions will be geared towards helping tackle their vulnerability. If, however, immigrants then appear to be aggressors (as Syrian asylum-seekers in Cologne were being portrayed in January 2016) what happens to this support based on victimhood?

We want to explore the case for open borders, and the arguments against it, because it touches on every aspect of immigration: not just for or against asylum-seekers, or migrant workers, or any other specific kind of immigrant. We believe that this topic is vitally important at a time when borders are being tightened around Europe, and within Europe. We believe that the topic of immigration is going to be one of the hot topics around the UK referendum on EU membership. We believe that the topic is vitally important to debate, because immigration around the world is increasing and is likely to continue to increase.

We believe that the dominant viewpoints in the discussion are too narrow. The Swiss novelist Max Frisch’s once said of the post-Second World War guest-worker programmes in Europe: ‘We asked for workers, and human beings came instead’. Frisch drew attention to the contradiction between immigration policy based on the idea of migrants as personnel and the reality that migrants are human beings. In the EU today there is talk of every member-state being expected to take their fair share (their quota) of asylum-seekers – as if migrants can be equated to agricultural produce. OBS reject this type of technocratic approach. We believe that human beings should be at the centre of how we think about migration.


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