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Posted by Brett Zamir ( on April 24, 2002 at 19:08:58:

Dear friends,

I was contemplating the meaning of world citizenship recently and was wondering to what extent that is now or in the future to be taken literally by Bahá'ís in terms of eliminating restricitons on immigration.

On the side of it being eliminated, many countries lament brain drain as their most desired leave while less skilled continue on in the country (though perhaps some countries would rather immigration be even tighter to avoid losing any manpower fleeing their country?).

Much anti-immigration is also based in racism which is called to be eliminated (though it is not only this reason, nor should it be assumed that a moral call to end racism be imposed with a too immediately challenging call such as opening conditions for a massive influx of immigrants of a different language/cultural background).

Moreover, the Bahá'í writings encourage free trade, which could conceivably be extended to include people.

On the side of it not being eliminated, I know that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights only gives the right to move freely within one's country and to leave it (but not to enter any country) (though I am not familiar whether this has since been updated).

Moreover, I recall that, in describing the convulsions afflicting the world in this age (I can't find the quotation now), Shoghi Effendi seems to describe sympathetically the consequences which a massive influx of immigrants has on the native peoples (the case described was Europe before the second World War), thereby perhaps indicating that free immigration is not at least now practical or desirable. At the very least, though, voluntary agreements between countries on permitting immigration across borders would surely be welcomed.

There may be other reasons such as encouraging dislocation of families which a sudden opening of immigration might cause. (?)

Perhaps, however, this is a sensitive political issue and thus Bahá'ís are not to enter into such a controversial potentially divisive question.

Perhaps it is through other means such as the elimination of extremes of wealth and poverty (through Huqqu'lláh as well as taxes), a universal auxiliary language, spread of the ideas of unity of religion and race, etc. that immigration could be expected to be opened (or at least facilitated) and the diversity and mixing of cultures which is often less valued today could benefit people more readily, rather than confronting it head-on and disturbing the peoples in wealthier countries (and perhaps some poorer ones as well).

Does anyone know any quotations on the subject, or do you have any thoughts about it?

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