Immigration Justice

Edinburgh University Press (2013)
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Abstract

By what moral standards must nation-states select immigration policies? A central contention of Immigration Justice is that the justice of an immigration policy can be ascertained only through consideration of the pervasive, systematic, and unjust inequalities engendered by the institutions that constitute our social world. Immigration policies affect people primarily as members of social groups demarcated from each other by members’ gender, race, and class. For this reason, this book argues that states’ selection of immigration policies is a matter of structural justice, defending the cosmopolitan principle that immigration policies are not just if they avoidably harm social groups that are already unjustly disadvantaged. Via this principle, Immigration Justice challenges the three most widely-held views on immigration justice among philosophers, political theorists and the general public: the moral sovereignty of states view, on which states have moral discretion to select immigration policies by criteria of their own choosing; nationalism, on which states morally must choose immigration policies that promote the national interest; and open borders, the view that states morally ought to eliminate virtually all restrictions on immigration. Instead, this book argues, just immigration policies vary among states in accordance with a variety of contextual factors influencing their consequences for disadvantaged social groups.

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Peter Higgins
Eastern Michigan University

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