Immigration and Libertarianism: Open Borders versus Directionalism

9 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2019 Last revised: 25 Sep 2020

Date Written: September 1, 2019


To determine the correct libertarian approach to immigration, a thought experiment posits a minimal-state libertarian UK and then the introduction of several relevant anti-libertarian policies (with their increasingly disastrous effects). It is argued that the reverse of these imagined policies, as far as is politically possible, would be the correct way forward. Several open-border texts are then criticised in light of this and for other errors, in particular for overlooking the likely huge scale of immigration as indicated by a Gallup survey. The conclusion outlines three broad options on immigration and suggests that directionally-libertarian policies are both more libertarian and practical than open borders.

Keywords: immigration, libertarianism, open borders, directionalism

Suggested Citation

Lester, J. C., Immigration and Libertarianism: Open Borders versus Directionalism (September 1, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

J. C. Lester (Contact Author)

London School of Economics ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics