Philosophical Studies 169 (1):123-132 (2014)

Shelley Wilcox
San Francisco State University
Wellman argues that legitimate states have a presumptive right to close their borders, excluding all prospective immigrants. He maintains that this right is not outweighed by egalitarian considerations because societies can fulfill their duties to outsiders by transferring aid instead of opening borders. I argue that societies cannot discharge their egalitarian duties by providing aid in at least two cases: when opening borders is the only way to fulfill these duties, and when transferring aid is inconsistent with egalitarian commitments. I also consider additional, non-egalitarian moral considerations that may justify a duty to maintain open borders. I conclude that Wellman fails to prove that states have an actual, all things considered right to close their borders.
Keywords Wellman  freedom of association  immigration
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-9902-y
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