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Summary

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, the moral significance of globalization and transnationalism, and the challenges that critical scholarship on borders and mobility poses for normative theory.

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. Two other important interventions advocating open borders are Phillip Cole’s Philosophies of Exclusion (2000) and Abizadeh 2008. Influential justifications for border controls include Walzer 1984 and Miller 2005.  Hosein 2019 provides a valuable overview of the debates to date. Gibney 2004 is a sophisticated and comprehensive account of the ethics of refugee policy and Morgan 2020, Owen 2020, and Parekh 2016 push the discussion in new directions. Lenard & Straehle 2012 and Ruhs 2015 explore 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. Recent scholarship that develops insights about shifting borders, externalized migration controls, overlapping jurisdictions, and mobility and nomadism includes Longo 2018, Nail 2015, Sager 2018, and Shachar 2020
Introductions Bertram 2018 Higgins 2013 Hosein 2019 Mendoza 2016 Wilcox 2009
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  1. Open Borders Without Open Access (Conference Version July 2019).Dan Demetriou - manuscript
    What are libertarian open borders advocates even advocating for? Is it, as the title to Michael Huemer’s influential essay suggests, a prima facie “right to immigrate”? Or is it, as the branding connotes, literal open borders, or a strong prima facie moral right to free movement across borders that entails a right to immigrate? In this paper, I peel apart the view that people have a strong moral right to freely cross international borders, or "open access," from the view that (...)
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  2. Immigration and Equality.Adam Hosein & Adam Cox - manuscript
  3. Neighborhoods and States: Why Collective Self-Determination is Not Always Valuable.Torsten Menge - manuscript
    Collective self-determination is considered to be an important political value. Many liberal political philosophers appeal to it to defend the right of states to exclude would-be newcomers. In this paper, I challenge the value of collective self-determination in the case of countries like the US, former colonial powers with a history of white supremacist immigration and citizenship policies. I argue for my claim by way of an analogy: There is no value to white neighborhoods in the US, which are the (...)
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  4. Asylum, Credible Fear Tests, and Colonial Violence.Elena Ruíz & Ezgi Sertler - manuscript
    A credible fear test is an in-depth interview process given to undocumented people of any age arriving at a U.S. port of entry to determine qualification for asylum-seeking. Credible fear tests as a typical immigration procedure demonstrate not only what structural epistemic violence looks like but also how this violence lives in and through the design of asylum policy. Key terms of credible fear tests such as “significant possibility,” “evidence,” “consistency,” and “credibility” can never be neutral in the context of (...)
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  5. Enfranchising the Disenfranchised: Should Refugees Receive Political Rights in Liberal Democracies?Felix Bender - forthcoming - Citizenship Studies.
    Should refugees receive political rights in liberal democracies? I argue that they should. Refugees are special – at least when it comes to claims towards democratic inclusion. They lack exit options and are significantly impacted by decisions made in liberal democracies. Enfranchisement is a matter of urgency to them and should occur on a national level. But what justifies the democratic inclusion of refugees? I draw on the all-subjected principle in arguing that all those subjected to rule in a political (...)
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  6. Refugees: The Politically Oppressed.Felix Bender - forthcoming - Philosophy and Social Criticism:019145372093192.
    Who should be recognized as a refugee? This article seeks to uncover the normative arguments at the core of legal and philosophical conceptions of refugeehood. It identifies three analytically distinct approaches grounding the right to refugee status and argues that all three are normatively inadequate. Refugee status should neither be grounded in individual persecution for specific reasons (classical approach) nor in individual persecution for any discriminatory reasons (human rights approach). It should also not be based solely on harm (humanitarian approach). (...)
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  7. In Defense of Birthright Citizenship.Joseph H. Carens - forthcoming - In Sarah Fine & Lea Ypi (eds.), Migration in Political Theory. Oxford University Press.
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  8. Quelle Politique de Lutte Contre l'Immigration Clandestine En Afrique au XX E Siècle.Rufin Didzambou - forthcoming - Humanitas.
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  9. Distributive Justice and Migration.Sarah Fine - forthcoming - In Serena Olsaretti (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Distributive Justice. Oxford University Press.
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  10. Immigration and Discrimination.Sarah Fine - forthcoming - In Sarah Fine & Lea Ypi (eds.), Migration in Political Theory: The Ethics of Movement and Membership. Oxford University Press.
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  11. Immigration and the Right to Exclude.Sarah Fine - forthcoming - Oxford University Press.
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  12. The Ethics of Movement and Membership: An Introduction.Sarah Fine & Lea Ypi - forthcoming - In Sarah Fine & Lea Ypi (eds.), Migration in Political Theory: The Ethics of Movement and Membership. Oxford University Press.
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  13. Migration Und Armut.Podschwadek Frodo - forthcoming - In Gottfried Schweiger & Clemens Sedmak (eds.), Handbuch Philosophie und Armut. J.B.Metzler. pp. 354-362.
    Book chapter about migration and poverty in Handbuch Philosophie und Armut [Companion to Philosophy and Poverty].
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  14. Religion, Ethnicity and Transnational Migration Between West Africa and EuropeEdited by Stanisław Grodź and Gina Gertrud Smith.Amber Gemmeke - forthcoming - Journal of Islamic Studies:etv049.
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  15. Health, Migration and Human Rights.Johannes Kniess - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-19.
  16. Are Refugees Special?Chandran Kukathas - forthcoming - In Sarah Fine & Lea Ypi (eds.), Migration in Political Theory: The Ethics of Movement and Membership. Oxford University Press.
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  17. Righting Domestic Wrongs with Refugee Policy.Matthew Lindauer - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-18.
    Discriminatory attitudes towards Muslim refugees are common in liberal democracies, and Muslim citizens of these countries experience high rates of discrimination and social exclusion. Uniting these two facts is the well-known phenomenon of Islamophobia. But the implications of overlapping discrimination against citizens and non-citizens have not been given sustained attention in the ethics of immigration literature. In this paper, I argue that liberal societies have not only duties to discontinue refugee policies that discriminate against social groups like Muslims, but remedial (...)
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  18. What Immigrants Owe.Adam Lovett & Daniel Sharp - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    Unlike natural-born citizens, many immigrants have agreed to undertake political obligations. Many have sworn oaths of allegiance. Many, when they entered their adopted country, promised to obey the law. This paper is about these agreements. First, it’s about their validity. Do they actually confer political obligations? Second, it’s about their justifiability. Is it permissible to get immigrants to undertake such political obligations? Our answers are ‘usually yes’ and ‘probably not’ respectively. We first argue that these agreements give immigrants political obligations. (...)
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  19. In Loco Civitatis: On the Normative Basis of the Institution of Refugeehood and Responsibilities for Refugees.David Owen - forthcoming - In Sarah Fine & Lea Ypi (eds.), Migration in Political Theory: The Ethics of Movement and Membership. Oxford University Press.
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  20. Lastenteilung in der europäischen Asylpolitik.Thomas Pölzler - forthcoming - In Lukas Meyer & Barbara Reiter (eds.), Wem gehört das Klima? Graz: Grazer Universitätsverlag.
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  21. Unsere Verantwortung gegenüber Flüchtlingen.Thomas Pölzler - forthcoming - In Lukas Meyer & Barbara Reiter (eds.), Wem gehört das Klima? Graz: Grazer Universitätsverlag.
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  22. Selecting By Merit: The Brave New World of Stratified Mobility.Ayelet Shachar - forthcoming - In Sarah Fine & Lea Ypi (eds.), Migration in Political Theory: The Ethics of Movement and Membership. Oxford University Press.
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  23. The Significance of Territorial Presence and the Rights of Immigrants.Sarah Song - forthcoming - In Sarah Fine & Lea Ypi (eds.), Migration in Political Theory: The Ethics of Movement and Membership. Oxford University Press.
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  24. Unger-2," Immigration: Who Wins? Who Loses?".H. Stephen - forthcoming - Ends and Means.
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  25. Is There an Unqualified Right to Leave?Anna Stilz - forthcoming - In Sarah Fine & Lea Ypi (eds.), Migration in Political Theory: The Ethics of Movement and Membership. Oxford University Press.
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  26. Freedom of Movement and the Rights to Enter and Exit.Christopher Heath Wellman - forthcoming - In Sarah Fine & Lea Ypi (eds.), Migration in Political Theory: The Ethics of Movement and Membership. Oxford University Press.
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  27. Taking Workers as a Class: The Moral Dilemmas of Guestworker Programmes.Lea Ypi - forthcoming - In Sarah Fine & Lea Ypi (eds.), Migration in Political Theory: The Ethics of Movement and Membership. Oxford University Press.
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  28. The Race Question in American Immigration Statistics.Hans Zeisel - forthcoming - Social Research.
  29. A Very British Domination Contract? Charles W. Mills's Theoretical Framework and Understanding Social Justice in Britain.Zara Bain - 2021 - In Daniel Newman & Faith Gordon (eds.), Leading Works in Law and Social Justice. London:
    Chapter 3 looks at the work of Charles Mills, taking in a range of his scholarship including his most famous work – The Racial Contract – and his latest work, Black Rights, White Wrongs. Zara Bain applies Mills to consider how social justice applies in the UK. She looks at the interactions and co-constitutions of racism, classism, and ableism, and the role they play in the production of poverty. The chapter argues that Mills offers us a non-ideal contractarian analysis that (...)
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  30. Migration, Mobility, and Spatial Segregation.Michael Ball-Blakely - 2021 - Essays in Philosophy 22 (1-2):66-84.
    Many supporters of open borders argue that restrictions on immigration are unjust in part because they undermine equal opportunity. Borders prevent the globally least-advantaged from pursuing desirable opportunities abroad, cementing arbitrary facts about birth and citizenship. In this paper I advance an argument from equal opportunity to global freedom of movement. In addition to preventing people from pursuing desirable opportunities, borders also create a prone, segregated population that can be dominated and exploited. Restrictions on mobility do not just trap people (...)
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  31. Entry by Birth Alone?Matthew Lindauer - 2021 - Social Theory and Practice 47 (2):331-349.
    This article argues that citizens have a basic right to invite family members and spouses into their society on the basis of Rawlsian egalitarian premises. This right is argued to be just as basic as other recognized basic rights, such as freedom of speech. The argument suggests further that we must treat immigration and family reunification, in particular, as central issues of domestic justice. The article also examines the implications of these points for the importance of immigration in liberal domestic (...)
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  32. Political Philosophy Beyond Methodological Nationalism.Alex Sager - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (2):e12726.
    Interdisciplinary work on the nature of borders and society has enriched and complicated our understanding of democracy, community, distributive justice, and migration. It reveals the cognitive bias of methodological nationalism, which has distorted normative political thought on these topics, uncritically and often unconsciously adapting and reifying state‐centered conceptions of territory, space, and community. Under methodological nationalism, state territories demarcate the boundaries of the political; society is conceived as composed of immobile, culturally homogenous citizens, each belonging to one and only one (...)
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  33. Migration and Mobility: Editor Introduction.Alex Sager - 2021 - Essays in Philosophy 22 (1-2):1-9.
    Editor's introduction to special issue of Essays in Philosophy: Migration and Mobility.
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  34. The Uses and Abuses of "Migrant Crisis".Alex Sager - 2021 - In Immigrants and Refugees in Times of Crisis. Athens, Greece: European Public Law Organization. pp. 15-34.
    MEDIA and humanitarian organizations inundate us with headlines and press releases decrying the “Global Refugee Crisis”, the “Syrian Refugee Crisis”, the “Mediterranean Migration Crisis”, the “2014 American Immigrant Crisis” and much more. Careers in academic and policy circles are built on analyzing and proposing solutions to migration crises. The representation of migration as a crisis is a default response to the challenges of human mobility. This default response is often misguided and harmful. This claim may seem odd or even perverse. (...)
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  35. The Challenge of Migration. Is Liberalism the Problem?Karsten Schubert - 2021 - Archiv Für Rechts- Und Sozialphilosophie Beihefte (ARSP-B) 167:173-192.
    The challenge of developing humane migration and refugee politics in Western states is far from resolved. This ongoing failure is typically attributed to the increased influence of right-wing populism and neo-fascism in Western migration politics. In this article I discuss a more radical explanation: Christoph Menke argues that political liberalism and its framing of migration as an issue of subjective human rights is the deeper root of the problem. While the merit of Menke’s approach is its criticism of subjectification through (...)
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  36. Citizenship in Europe: The Main Stages of Development of the Idea and Institution.Krzysztof Trzcinski - 2021 - Studia Europejskie - Studies in European Affairs 25 (1).
    This paper identifies and synthetically demonstrates the most important steps and changes in the evolution of the idea and institution of citizenship in Europe over more than two thousand years. Citizenship is one of the essential categories defining human status. From a historical perspective, the idea of citizenship in Europe is in a state of constant evolution. Therefore, the essence of the institution of citizenship and its acquisition criteria are continually being transformed. Today’s comprehension of citizenship is different from understanding (...)
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  37. Territorial Exclusion: An Argument Against Closed Borders.Daniel Weltman - 2021 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 19 (3):257-90.
    Supporters of open borders sometimes argue that the state has no pro tanto right to restrict immigration, because such a right would also entail a right to exclude existing citizens for whatever reasons justify excluding immigrants. These arguments can be defeated by suggesting that people have a right to stay put. I present a new form of the exclusion argument against closed borders which escapes this “right to stay put” reply. I do this by describing a kind of exclusion that (...)
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  38. Abolishing Asylum and Violating the Human Rights of Refugees. Why is It Tolerated? The Case of Hungary in the EU.Felix Bender - 2020 - In Elżbieta M. Goździak, Izabella Main & Brigitte Suter (eds.), Europe and the Refugee Response. London, UK: Routledge.
    Why are human rights abuses of refugees at the EU’s geographical periphery tolerated by other EU states? This chapter uses the case of Hungary and Germany to explore how the former abolished the institution of asylum, shedding light on the human rights abuses of refugees, and why states such as the latter seem to condone such actions. It argues that core EU member states condone human rights abuses at the geographical periphery of the EU as long as they contribute to (...)
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  39. Donatella Di Cesare, “Marranos. El otro del otro.” Madrid, Gedisa, 2019. [REVIEW]Facundo Bey - 2020 - Argumenta Philosophica 1:87-90.
    Marranos. El otro del otro es el cuarto libro de la filósofa italiana Donatella Di Cesare, Catedrática de la Sapienza-Università di Roma, publicado en la colección «Clásicos del mañana» de la Editorial Gedisa, después de la aparición de Heidegger y los judíos. Los Cuadernos negros (2017), Terrorismo (2017) y Tortura (2018) de la misma autora. Este texto de Di Cesare es una exploración inquieta e inquietante. Su indagación no promete al lector dar, al final del recorrido, con una terra incognita (...)
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  40. How and When Are We Right to Prioritize the Interests of Residents and Citizens?Enrique Camacho Beltran - 2020 - World Affairs 183 (1):8-39.
    This article assesses an assumption pervasive in one strain of arguments in favor of stringent immigration controls. The assumption affirms that—for the case of regular admissions—to a certain extent states are permitted to prioritize the interests of their citizens and residents by issuing exclusionary immigration policies (call this the priority assumption). Using the normative methodology of applied international ethics, I suggest some broad constraints to this priority assumption that have a bearing on justifications for current practical immigration policy in Europe, (...)
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  41. Reproducing Refugees: Photographìa of a Crisis.Anna Carastathis & Myrto Tsilimpounidi - 2020 - London, UK: Rowman and Littlefield International.
    Since 2015, the ‘refugee crisis’ is possibly the most photographed humanitarian crisis in history. Photographs taken, for instance, in Lesvos, Greece, and Bodrum, Turkey, were instrumental in generating waves of public support for, and populist opposition to “welcoming refugees” in Europe. But photographs do not circulate in a vacuum; this book explores the visual economy of the ‘refugee crisis,’ showing how the reproduction of images is structured by, and secures hierarchies of gender, sexuality, and ‘race,’ essential to the functioning of (...)
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  42. Responsibility for Migrants: From Hospitality to Solidarity.James A. Chamberlain - 2020 - Political Theory 48 (1):57-83.
    Critics of exclusionary borders might be tempted to appeal for more hospitality, but this essay argues that such an approach is misguided and develops an alternative framework called solidarity borders. The ongoing legacies of imperialism, the functioning of global capitalism, and insights from democratic theory show that we need to problematize two key presuppositions of hospitality: a clear distinction between hosts and guests, and the exclusive right of the former to impose conditions. Moreover, Jacques Derrida provides limited guidance as to (...)
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  43. May States Select Among Refugees?Max Gabriel Cherem - 2020 - Ethics and Global Politics 13 (1):33-49.
  44. Statements on Race and Class: The Fairness of Skills-Based Immigration Criteria.Magnus Skytterholm Egan - 2020 - Ethics and Global Politics 13 (2):108-122.
  45. Liberal Nationalism, Immigration, and the Problem of Multiple National Identities.Lior Erez - 2020 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 23 (4):495-517.
  46. The Liberal Defence of Immigration Control.Danny Frederick & Mark D. Friedman - 2020 - Cosmos + Taxis 8 (2+3):23-38.
    Contemporary liberal theorists generally support open borders and some argue that liberalism is incompatible with substantive immigration control. We argue that it has not been shown that there is an inconsistency in the idea of a liberal state enforcing such controls and that it may be obligatory for a liberal state to impose substantive restrictions on immigration. The immigration control on which we focus is that concerning people from societies that resemble closed societies, particularly those in which Islamic fundamentalism is (...)
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  47. National Partiality, Immigration, and the Problem of Double-Jeopardy.Johann Frick - 2020 - In David Sobel, Peter Vallentyne & Steven Wall (eds.), Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy Volume 6. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 151-183.
    The foundational conviction of contemporary liberal thought is that all persons possess equal moral worth and are entitled to equal concern and respect by others. At the same time, nation states, as the primary organs of our collective self-governance, frequently pursue policies that are strikingly partial towards the interests of compatriots over those of foreigners. A common strategy for justifying this national partiality is to view it as grounded in associative obligations that we incur by standing in special relationships with (...)
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  48. Beyond Humanitarianism: Normatively Approaching Immigration and Integration.Ireneusz Paweł Karolewski - 2020 - Contemporary Political Theory 19 (S1):21-27.
  49. An Institutional Right of Refugee Return.Andy Lamey - 2020 - European Journal of Philosophy 29 (X):1-17.
    Calls to recognize a right of return are a recurring feature of refugee crises. Particularly when such crises become long-term, advocates of displaced people insist that they be allowed to return to their country of origin. I argue that this right is best understood as the right of refugees to return, not to a prior territory, but to a prior political status. This status is one that sees not just any state, but a refugee's state of origin, take responsibility for (...)
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  50. Can There Be a Right of Return?Andy Lamey - 2020 - Journal of Refugee Studies 33:1-12.
    During long-term refugee displacements, it is common for the refugees’ country of origin to be called on to recognize a right of return. A long-standing tradition of philosophical theorizing is sceptical of such a right. Howard Adelman and Elazar Barkan are contemporary proponents of this view. They argue that, in many cases, it is not feasible for entire refugee populations to return home, and so the notion of a right of return is no right at all. We can call Adelman (...)
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