Political Theory 44 (4):541-566 (2016)

This essay contends that postcolonial migrants have a right to enter their former colonizing nations, and that these should accept them. Our novel argument challenges well-established justifications for restrictions in immigration-policies advanced in liberal nationalism, which links immigration controls to the nation’s self-determination and the legitimate preservation of national identity. To do so, we draw on postcolonial analyses of colonialism, in particular on Edward Said’s notion of “intertwined histories,” and we offer a more sophisticated account of national identity than that of liberal nationalists. In our view, the national identity of former colonizing nations cannot be understood in isolation from their ex-colonies. This entails that liberal nationalists cannot justify the restriction on the entrance of members of the nation’s former colonies by resorting to an argument about the preservation of national identity: the former colonized constitute an inseparable element of that national identity, because they are already historically part of it.
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DOI 10.5167/uzh-140351
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