Increased footprint

This argument builds on the concern/observation that it is not possible for everybody to consume resources at the same rate that those in the developed world do. If open borders prevailed, many people would migrate to the developed world, and their resource consumption would increase dramatically. This, in turn, would place a huge stress on the earth’s resources. It could exacerbate problems of resource scarcity as well as global warming.

Some examples of research and writing along these lines is below:

Note that there is a related objection that focuses specifically on the environmental harms to immigrant-receiving countries, not to the world at large. For more, see overpopulation and environment.

Responses from the pro-open borders side

  • Open borders and climate change, a blog post by Nathan Smith on the Open Borders blog, October 21, 2012, where Smith argues that given that climate change is likely to have negative effects on some geographical areas and positive effects on others, this makes the case for open borders so that people can migrate from the areas with adversely affected climates to the areas with positively affected climates.