What would happen if the United States suddenly stopped building walls and instead flung open its borders, not unlike the European Union has done among the member countries of the common market? Conservatives malign the notion and liberals, even radical ones, haven't exactly embraced the "open borders" concept.
But the idea isn't as radical as it may seem. For most of its history, the United States has had, for all practical purposes, open borders, according to University of San Francisco law professor Bill Hing.
"Really, the United States was an open-border situation, worldwide, up through the early 1900s -- except for Asians," Hing told The Huffington Post. "There were Asian-exclusion laws. But if you put that aside, it was open borders for the rest of the world."
Here are 16 reasons why opening our borders makes more sense than militarizing them. Let us know what you think in the comments.
Demonstrators from opposing sides confront each other, Friday, July 4, 2014. (AP)
A Photograph of an Immigration Officer on Ellis Island, New York circa 1880. (Getty)
Michael Grabois via Getty Images
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A man looks out toward the U.S. from the Mexican side of the border fence. (Getty)
Construction worker Sebastian Martinez of Mexico works at a construction site. (AP)
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Central American migrants climb on a northbound train in Ixtepec, Mexico. (AP)
Patricia Garcia holds a picture of his brother Juan Carlos Garcia, a victim of El Salvador's civil war. (AP)
A migrant farm worker presents his documentation. (AP)
A van of migrants travel past a memorial asking "How many more have to die?" (AP)
Texas Parks and Wildlife Wardens patrol the Rio Grand on the U.S.-Mexico border. (AP)
A guard escorts an immigrant detainee from his 'segregation cell.' (AP)
Farmworkers pick beans in a field, Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, in Florida City, Florida. (AP)
Immigrant inmates line up for breakfast at the Maricopa County Tent City jail. (Getty)
Elena Eliachevitch via Getty Images
Jailing people for migrating isn't just morally questionable, it's expensive. The clearest beneficiary from this system is the private-prison industry, which receives millions of dollars to jail immigrants on behalf of the federal government.