Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Spring 3-12-2018


Ondracek, Anna C. Support for Open Borders: A Study of Spanish Society. BA Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Lincoln, Nebraska. 12 March 2018.


Copyright Anna Ondracek 2018


In his book “The Ethics of Immigration”, political philosopher Joseph Carens argues for the rights of migrant populations on the grounds of democracy, freedom, and equality. He advocates for open international borders, focusing on democratic countries in North America and Europe. Carens compares the current international order of closed borders to feudalism and discusses various forms of privilege Westerners have, which, he says, makes those in the West complacent and unaware of the injustices from which Westerners benefit. Focusing on the case of Spain, this project evaluates public opinions on the debate over open borders. I survey the support for open borders by examining whether Spaniards support democracy and human rights. I examine support for closed borders through whether they support self-determination. Finally, I examine support for a middle ground by looking at support for refugees and other special cases of migration. This project proposes that although Spaniards are overwhelmingly accepting of democratic values and human rights in theory, the data shows a reluctance to fully accept immigrants, regardless of their education level and place of origin.