Mobility (Migration)

In Ruth Chadwick (ed.), Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics. pp. 128-36 (2012)
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Abstract

This article sets out the principal ethical considerations for a just immigration policy. Advocates of a more liberal immigration regime have called for open borders or at least a more relaxed immigration policy. They argue that it is incompatible with basic rights such as freedom of movement, association, and opportunity. Furthermore, the use of coercion to prevent needy people from seeking opportunities abroad sits uneasily in a world of massive inequalities divided along geographical and state lines, as well as the large number of refugees. At the other end of the spectrum, many individuals and groups protest immigration levels and their real or imagined effect on jobs, wages, and culture. The article briefly discusses the causes of migration and the implications of moral theory for immigration policy. It gives special consideration to the case of refugees and addresses the difficult question of how states should treat guest workers and undocumented immigrants.

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Alex Sager
Portland State University

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