Edited by Alex Sager (Portland State University)
Assistant editor: Nicole Haley (Portland State University)
About this topic

Immigration began to receive attention as a major topic in applied ethics and applied social and in political philosophy in the mid-1980s. Much of the early work concentrated on questions surrounding states’ use of coercion to prevent people from immigrating, especially in a world of vast inequalities between territories. The initial debates opposed freedom of movement and freedom of opportunity against communities’ right to self-determination, shared culture, and security. Perhaps surprisingly, theorists of both open and closed-borders presented interpretations of distributive justice to support their positions. As the debate has evolved, theorists have given more attention to the obligations towards special classes of immigrants such as refugees, temporary workers, family-class immigrants, and undocumented residents. They have also turned their attention to topics such as the economics of skilled migration, human smuggling and trafficking, immigrant detention and deportation, and sustainability. Recent work has examined the implications of racism and sexism for migration as well as the moral significance of globalization and transnationalism.

Key works Joseph Carens played a major role in defining discussions of immigration in philosophy with his seminal article "Aliens and Citizens: The Case for Open Borders" (1987). Carens synthesizes many of his contributions in The Ethics of Immigration (2013) which includes subtle discussions of temporary migration, refugee policy, irregular migration, citizenship and much else. Another influential early work advocating open borders is Phillip Cole’s Philosophies of Exclusion (2000). Influential justifications for border controls include Walzer 1984 and Miller 2005. Wellman & Cole 2011 provides a useful overview of the literature on admissions, as well defense and criticism of admissions controls. Gibney 2004 is a sophisticated and comprehensive account of the ethics of refugee policy. Lenard & Straehle 2012 explores the justice of temporary labor migration programs. Brock & Blake 2015 examines the “brain drain” debate – the question of whether states can restrict the migration of skilled workers for reasons of distributive justice. Mendoza 2014 grapples with questions of race and Wilcox 2005 explores how gender affects the justice of admissions. Bauböck 1994 is an important early exploration of the implications of transnationalism for immigration and citizenship.
Introductions Carens 1987 Walzer 1984 Miller 2005 Wilcox 2009 Abizadeh 2008
Related categories

871 found
1 — 50 / 871
  1. Ethical Challenges in Refugee Health: A Global Public Health Concern.Eliana Aaron - 2013 - Hastings Center Report 43 (3).
    Medications of choice, necessary supplies, and evidence-based health care now seem like luxuries. The contrast between my experience at a well-funded health unit and the Lev El Lev (“heart to heart”) African Refugee Clinic in Tel Aviv, Israel, is staggering. The complex personal, social, health, psychological, educational, and economic difficulties create a unique ethical environment for the health care provider.
  2. Book Review:Italian Emigration of Our Times. R. F. Foerster. [REVIEW]Grace Abbott - 1921 - Ethics 31 (3):341-.
  3. The Special-Obligations Challenge to More Open Borders.Arash Abizadeh - 2016 - In Sarah Fine & Lea Ypi (eds.), Migration in Political Theory: The Ethics of Movement and Membership. Oxford University Press.
    According to the special-obligations challenge to the justice argument for more open borders, immigration restrictions to wealthier polities are justified because of special obligations owed to disadvantaged compatriots. I interrogate this challenge by considering three types of ground for special obligations amongst compatriots. First, the social relations that come with shared residence, such as participation in a territorially bounded, mutually beneficial scheme of cooperation; having fundamental interests especially vulnerable to the state’s exercise of power; being subject to coercion by the (...)
  4. Closed Borders, Human Rights, and Democratic Legitimation.Arash Abizadeh - 2010 - In David Hollenbach (ed.), Driven From Home: Human Rights and the New Realities of Forced Migration. Georgetown University Press.
    Critics of state sovereignty have typically challenged the state’s right to close its borders to foreigners by appeal to the liberal egalitarian discourse of human rights. According to the liberty argument, freedom of movement is a basic human right; according to the equality or justice argument, open borders are necessary to reduce global poverty and inequality, both matters of global justice. I argue that human rights considerations do indeed mandate borders considerably more open than is the norm today but that, (...)
  5. Democratic Legitimacy and State Coercion: A Reply to David Miller.Arash Abizadeh - 2010 - Political Theory 38 (1):121-130.
  6. Democratic Theory and Border Coercion.Arash Abizadeh - 2008 - Political Theory 36 (1):37-65.
    The question of whether or not a closed border entry policy under the unilateral control of a democratic state is legitimate cannot be settled until we first know to whom the justification of a regime of control is owed. According to the state sovereignty view, the control of entry policy, including of movement, immigration, and naturalization, ought to be under the unilateral discretion of the state itself: justification for entry policy is owed solely to members. This position, however, is inconsistent (...)
  7. Liberal Egalitarian Arguments for Closed Borders: Some Preliminary Critical Reflections.Arash Abizadeh - 2006 - Ethics & Economics 4 (1).
    There are at least five important arguments for why liberal egalitarianism permits states, under today's circumstances, to close their borders to foreigners: the public order, domestic economy, social integration, political threat, and domestic welfare arguments. Critical examination of these arguments suggests that liberal egalitarianism, rather than supporting a right to close one's borders to foreigners, mandates borders considerably more open than is the practice of today's self-styled liberal states.
  8. Wage Competition and the Special-Obligations Challenge to More Open Borders.Arash Abizadeh, Manish Pandey & Sohrab Abizadeh - 2015 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 14 (3):255-269.
    According to the special-obligations challenge to the justice argument for more open borders, immigration restrictions to wealthier polities are justified because of special obligations owed to disadvantaged compatriots negatively impacted by the immigration of low-skilled foreign workers. We refute the special-obligations challenge by refuting its empirical premise and draw out the normative implications of the empirical evidence for border policies. We show that immigration to wealthier polities has negligible impact on domestic wages and that only previous cohorts of immigrants are (...)
  9. Canadian and American Refugee Policy.Howard Adelman (ed.) - 1991 - York Lanes Press.
  10. Immigration, Insecurity and the French Far Right.Frank Adler - 2001 - Telos: Critical Theory of the Contemporary 2001 (120):31-48.
  11. Quality of Government and the Treatment of Immigrants.Marcus Agnafors - unknown
  12. Borders on the Mind: Re-Framing Border Thinking.John Agnew - 2008 - Ethics and Global Politics 1 (4):175-191.
    From one viewpoint, interstate borders are simple ‘artefacts on the ground’. Borders exist for a variety of practical reasons and can be classified according to the purposes they serve and how they serve them. They enable a whole host of important political, social, and economic activities. From a very different perspective, borders are artefacts of dominant discursive processes that have led to the fencing off of chunks of territory and people from one another. Such processes can change and as they (...)
  13. The Role of Ethics Within the Contemporary Immigration Debate.Jaime R. Aguila - 2011 - Teaching Ethics 11 (2):63-79.
  14. Utopia, Promised Lands, Immigration and Exile.F. Ainsa & J. Ferguson - 1982 - Diogenes 30 (119):49-64.
  15. Augmented Borders: Big Data and the Ethics of Immigration Control.Btihaj Ajana - 2015 - Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society 13 (1):58-78.
  16. Immigration Interrupted.Btihaj Ajana - 2006 - Journal for Cultural Research 10 (3):259-273.
  17. New Challenges in Immigration Theory: An Overview.Crispino E. G. Akakpo & Patti T. Lenard - 2014 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 17 (5):493-502.
  18. New Challenges in Immigration Theory.Crispino Akakpo & Patti Lenard (eds.) - 2015 - Routledge.
  19. Stripping Citizenship: Does Membership Have its (Moral) Privileges?Sahar Akhtar - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (3):419-434.
    If states have the moral authority to decide their memberships by denying citizenship, I argue that they may also strip citizenship, from law-abiding members, for the same reasons. The only real difference is that when states revoke citizenship they may need to compensate people for their prior contributions, but that is not unlike what frequently occurs in divorce. Once just termination rules are established, stripping citizenship could become, like divorce, an everyday event. Partly because of this implication, we should reject (...)
  20. Being at Home in the World: International Relocation (Not Open Borders).Sahar Akhtar - 2016 - Public Affairs Quarterly 30 (2).
  21. On the ‘State’ of International Political Philosophy.Sahar Akhtar - 2015 - Analysis 75 (1):132-147.
  22. Acculturation Process of Arab-Muslim Immigrants in the United States.Jamil Al Wekhian - 2016 - Asian Culture and History 8 (1):89.
  23. 'Unable to Return' in the 1951 Refugee Convention: Stateless Refugees and Climate Change.Heather Alexander & Jonathan Simon - 2014 - Florida Journal of International Law 26 (3):531-574.
    Argues that it is not only a point of literal construction, but also inherent in the object and purpose of the 1951 Refugee Convention, that displaced stateless persons unable to return to their countries of former habitual residence may be eligible for refugee status even if unpersecuted. 'Unable to return' as it occurs in the clause following the semi-colon of 1(A)2 of the 1951 Refugee Convention must be understood as a term of art subject to appropriate canons of construction in (...)
  24. Migration Austronésienne Et Mise En Place de la Civilisation Malgache.Claude Allibert - 2007 - Diogène 218 (2):6.
  25. Vous avez dit : immigration choisie ?Rkia Almalki - 2011 - Cités 46 (2):113.
    « Si les richesses ne vont pas là où sont les hommes, les hommes vont naturellement là où sont les richesses. » Alfred Sauvy Le débat sur l’immigration se transforme la plupart du temps en un discours marqué par des stéréotypes et dominé par des préjugés à propos des catégories sociales et des croyances culturelles partagées. Compte tenu de cet élément, une des premières..
  26. Morally Evaluating Human Smuggling: The Case of Migration to Europe.Eamon Aloyo & Eugenio Cusumano - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-24.
  27. Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Only as Good as the Bureaucracy It Is Built Upon, The.Meriam N. Alrashid - 2008 - Nexus 13:29.
  28. Nanda Oudejans, Asylum. A Philosophical Inquiry Into the International Protection of Refugees. Amaya-Castro - 2014 - Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy 43 (1):81-83.
  29. Défi et gestion de l'immigration internationale au Québec.Pierre Anctil - 2005 - Cités 23 (3):43.
    S’agissant d’immigration et des choix de société qui sont consentis en la matière depuis plus de trente ans, il convient d’abord de camper l’ensemble de la société québécoise dans son contexte historique et géopolitique nord-américain. Sur ce continent, l’accueil des immigrants a été l’un des principaux moteurs du développement économique, et ce dès l’ère des grandes..
  30. Migrants and Work-Related Rights.Bridget Anderson - 2008 - Ethics and International Affairs 22 (2):199–203.
    Carens's discussion of the work-related rights of irregular migrants fails to consider the differentiated employment rights of legal temporary migrants, permanent residents, and citizens.
  31. National Identity, Citizenship and Immigration: Putting Identity in Context.Eleni Andreouli & Caroline Howarth - 2013 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 43 (3):361-382.
    In this paper we suggest that there is a need to examine what is meant by “context” in Social Psychology and present an example of how to place identity in its social and institutional context. Taking the case of British naturalisation, the process whereby migrants become citizens, we show that the identity of naturalised citizens is defined by common-sense ideas about Britishness and by immigration policies. An analysis of policy documents on “earned citizenship” and interviews with naturalised citizens shows that (...)
  32. Is Unauthorized Immigration an Immoral Act? On David Miller’s ‘Weak Cosmopolitan’ Defense of the Right to Exclude.Oliviero Angeli - 2017 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 20 (6):755-762.
  33. Constructing Citizenship Without a Licence: The Struggle of Undocumented Immigrants in the USA for Livelihoods and Recognition.Fran Ansley - 2010 - Studies in Social Justice 4 (2):165-178.
    This article questions the meanings and expression of "citizenship" in the context of new Latina and Latino migration into the southeastern United States-a region long marked by legally policed racial systems and now experiencing the varied shocks of globalization. Focused on a legislative campaign that won access to a state-issued driver's licence for undocumented migrants in Tennessee in spring 2001, the article explores some of the tensions that emerged on the road to this unlikely victory and raises questions for the (...)
  34. Response to Kathleen Arnold, Review of Breaks in the Chain: What Immigrant Workers Can Teach America About Democracy.Paul Apostolidis - 2011 - Theory and Event 14 (2).
  35. The Roots of American Refugee Policy.R. Zolberg Aristide - 1988 - Social Research 55:649-678.
  36. Immigration of Coloured Peoples.C. Wicksteed Armstrong - 1956 - The Eugenics Review 48 (1):63.
  37. Economic Prerogative and Its Political Consequences: The Migrant Labor and Border Industrial Regimes.Kathleen Arnold - 2011 - Constellations 18 (3):455-473.
  38. Education, Mobilities and Migration: People, Ideas and Resources.Madeleine Arnot, Claudia Schneider & Oakleigh Welply (eds.) - 2016 - Routledge.
    Within the context of increased global migration and mobility, education occupies a central role which is being transformed by new human movements and cultural diversity, flows, and networks. Studies under the umbrella terms of migration, mobility, and mobilities reveal the complexity of these concepts. The field of study ranges from global child mobility as a response to poverty, to the reconceptualising of notions of inclusion in relation to pastoralist lifestyles, to the ways in which new offshore institutions and transnational diasporas (...)
  39. State Borders as Defining Lines of Justice: Why the Right to Exclude Cannot Be Justified.Julie Arrildt - 2018 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 21 (4):500-520.
  40. Political Organization and Resources Among Ethiopian Immigrants.M. Ashkenazi - 1988 - Social Science Information 27 (3):371-389.
  41. Rethinking “Greening of Hate”: Climate Emissions, Immigration, and the Last Frontier. Aufrecht - 2012 - Ethics and the Environment 17 (2):51-74.
  42. In Between: Immigration, Distributive Justice, and Political Dialogue.Roland Axtmann - 2009 - Contemporary Political Theory 8 (4):415-434.
    How is distributive justice possible with respect to immigration if political decisions about entry and membership cannot be grounded in the symmetry of a prior commonality, human or otherwise, that could guarantee reciprocal relations between members and nonmembers? This paper deals with both aspects of this question. Initially, it engages critically with Seyla Benhabib's plea for ‘dialogical universalism,’ showing why the strong discontinuity between political and moral reciprocity precludes understanding distributive justice as the process of mediating between political particularity and (...)
  43. Citizenship and Exclusion: Radical Democracy, Community, and Justice. Or, What is Wrong with Communitarianism?V. Bader - 1995 - Political Theory 23 (2):211-246.
  44. The Ethics of Immigration. By Joseph Carens. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.Veit Bader - 2014 - Constellations 21 (2):308-310.
  45. The Ethics of Immigration.Veit Bader - 2005 - Constellations 12 (3):331-361.
  46. Citizenship and Exclusion.Veit-Michael Bader - 1997
  47. A Note on Justice, Care, and Immigration Policy.Annette C. Baier - 1995 - Hypatia 10 (2):150 - 152.
    Should a "caring" immigration policy give special treatment to would-be immigrants who are near neighbors? It is argued that, while those on our borders requesting entry have some special claim, it should not drown out the claims of more distant applicants for citizenship.
  48. Foreign Domestic Worker Policy in Canada and the Social Boundaries of Modern Citizenship.Abigail B. Bakan & Daiva Stasiulis - 1994 - Science and Society 58 (1):7 - 33.
    The social boundaries of citizenship involve relations of exclusion and inclusion within the global economy and specific nation-states. A case study of contemporary Canadian federal policy regarding the recruitment and regulation of foreign domestic workers reveals that, despite postwar trends toward liberalization of immigration policy and general advances made by Canadian workers, citizenship rights for third-world female domestics have declined. This apparently "anomalous" non-citizenship status can be better understood through an examination of the social relations and discourses that reproduce conditions (...)
  49. Politicizing Ethics in International Relations: Cosmopolitanism as Hospitality.Gideon Baker - 2011 - Routledge.
  50. Identity Change in the World of International Migration. [REVIEW]Carmen Cornelia Balan - 2015 - Postmodern Openings 6 (2):125-128.
    In this new publication, Cristina Cormos professionally addresses a sensitive issue, complex and difficult in the same time, and ambitiously manages to give us a picture of international migration viewed through identity change. Starting from the hypothesis that "migration is a change that simultaneously occurs in both physical and socio-cultural realms, which implies not only movement from one community to another, but also the disintegration of structural bonds in the departure area, paralleled by a cultural assimilation of the destination environment", (...)
1 — 50 / 871