John Washington: The Case for Open Borders
John Washington
Belen Sisa

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John Washington, a staff writer at Arizona Luminaria who has written for The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Nation, and others, visits with his new book, a broadly accessible argument for a solution to the migration crisis: open the gates.


A beautifully-written, broadly accessible, and forthright argument for a solution to the migration crisis: open the gates.

Because of restrictive borders, human beings suffer and die. Closed borders force migrants seeking safety and dignity to journey across seas, trudge through deserts, and clamber over barbed wire. In the last five years alone, at least 60,000 people have died or gone missing while attempting to cross a border. As we deny, cast out, and crack down, we have stripped borders of their creative potential - as lines of contact, catalyst, and blend -- turning our thresholds into barricades.

Brilliant and provocative, The Case for Open Borders deflates the mythology of national security through border lockdowns by revisiting their historical origins; it counters the conspiracies of immigration's economic consequences; it urgently considers the challenges of climate change beyond the boundaries of narrow national identities.

This book grounds its argument in the experiences and thinking of those on the frontlines of the crisis, spanning the world to do so. In each chapter, through detailed reporting, journalist and translator John Washington profiles a character impacted by borders. He adds to those portraits provocative analyses of the economics and ethics of bordering, concluding that if we are to seek justice or sustainability we must fight for open borders.

In recent years, important thinkers have begun to urge a profoundly different approach to migration, but no book has made the argument as accessible or as compelling. Washington's case shines with the multitudinous voices of people on the move, a portrait in miniature of what a world with open borders will give to our common future.


John Washington is a staff writer at Arizona Luminaria, a community-focused media outlet where he writes about the border, climate change, democracy, and more. He has written for The AtlanticThe Washington PostThe NationThe Intercept, and other outlets. His first book, The Dispossessed: A Story of Asylum at the US-Mexico Border and Beyond, was published in 2020 by Verso Books. Washington is also a translator of books by Anabel Hernandez, Sandra Rodriquez Nieto, and others. His most recent translations include The Hollywood Kid by Óscar Martínez and Juan Martínez, and Blood Barrios by Alberto Arce, which won a PEN Translates Award. Both were co-translated along with Daniela Ugaz He lives in Tucson, Arizona, and tweets @jbwashing.


Belén Sisa is a DACAmented immigrant rights and progressive political activist, communications professional, and creator from Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is the former National Latino Press Secretary for Bernie 2020 and most recently, the Arizona Campaign Manager for Democracy Initiative, co-leading the AZ Coalition to End the Filibuster in the fight to defend and expand our democracy. In 2023, Belén launched the Pretty Serious podcast, where she discusses topics from politics and tv/film to pop cultural events and her thoughts on important issues currently impacting our world.

The Case for Open Borders By John Washington Cover Image
ISBN: 9798888900727
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Haymarket Books - February 6th, 2024