This paper argues that the relevant unit of analysis for assessing the justice of an immigration policy is the socially-situated individual (as opposed to the individual simpliciter or the nation-state, for example). This methodological principle is demonstrated indirectly by showing how some liberal, cosmopolitan defenses of "open borders" and the alleged right of immigration fail by their own standards, owing to the implicit adoption of an inappropriate unit of analysis.
What legal rights and duties immigrants should have is among the most ferociously debated topics in the politics of liberal societies today. However, as this article will show, there is remarkably little disagreement of great magnitude among political theorists and philosophers of immigration on the rights and duties of resident immigrants (even in contrast to the closely related philosophical discussion of justice in immigrant admissions). Specifically, this article will survey philosophical positions both on what legal rights immigrants (documented permanent residents, (...) guestworkers, and undocumented immigrants) ought to have (including to citizenship and against deportation), and on what liberal societies may justly do to require immigrants to integrate. This article will reveal that there is a substantial, growing gap between contemporary politics worldwide and what the moral norms of liberalism seem to entail concerning the rights and duties of immigrants. (shrink)
In order for a state to rightfully exercise self-determination by means of setting policies concerning migrants and migration, they must be legitimate, Gillian Brock argues in _Justice for People on the Move_. Legitimacy, in Brock’s view, requires that states satisfy three (jointly sufficient) conditions: they must respect their own citizens’ human rights; they must be a part of a legitimate state system; and they must adequately contribute to the maintenance of this state system. In her new book, Brock also argues (...) persuasively for a variety of migration-related policies that states ought to adopt (concerning, for example, addressing the needs of refugees, regularization of undocumented migrants, and protections for temporary labor migrants). In previous work (Brock, _Global Justice: A Cosmopolitan Account_, Oxford University Press, New York, 2009; Brock and Blake, _Debating Brain Drain: May Governments Restrict Emigration?_, Oxford University Press, New York, 2015), Brock has compellingly defended the justice of policies designed to allay the harmful effects of brain drain. In this commentary, I wish to argue that the legitimacy standard Brock defends in _Justice for People on the Move_ is an obstacle to the justified adoption of the migration-related policies Brock demonstrates here and in previous work to be substantively morally justified, if not required by justice. If a state is not legitimate, then it lacks the moral standing to adopt migration policies that are otherwise morally justified. I do not intend to question the importance of the concept of state legitimacy for political philosophy generally. However, I wish to argue that that in the context of migration justice, considerations of state legitimacy may be contrary to the goal of defending a view on what policies a state ought to adopt. It may be more useful simply to consider whether or not there is moral justification for a particular state to adopt a particular policy. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
What moral standards ought nation-states abide by when selecting immigration policies? Peter Higgins argues that immigration policies can only be judged by considering the inequalities that are produced by the institutions - such as gender, race and class - that constitute our social world.Higgins challenges conventional positions on immigration justice, including the view that states have a right to choose whatever immigration policies they like, or that all immigration restrictions ought to be eliminated and borders opened. Rather than suggesting one (...) absolute solution, he argues that a unique set of immigration policies will be just for each country. He concludes with concrete recommendations for policymaking. (shrink)
This volume is fourth in the series of annuals created under the auspices of The Association for Feminist Ethics and Social Theory . The topics covered herein_from peacekeeping and terrorism, to sex trafficking and women's paid labor, to poverty and religious fundamentalism_are vital to women and to feminist movements throughout the world.
A large portion of normative philosophical thought on immigration seeks to address the question “What policies for admitting and excluding foreigners may states justly adopt?” This question places normative philosophical discussions of immigration within the boundaries of political philosophy, whose concern is the moral assessment of social institutions. Several recent contributions to normative philosophical thought on immigration propose to answer this question, but adopt methods of reasoning about possible answers that might be taken to suggest that normative philosophical inquiry about (...) immigration belongs to the field of ethics, whose concern is the moral assessment of individual action and character. This paper focuses particularly on recent work by Christopher Heath Wellman and Kieran Oberman, both of whom attempt to derive conclusions about the justice of aspects of states’ immigrant admissions policies from answers to the question “Is it morally permissible for person P to migrate internationally?” I argue in this paper that such individualist ethical approaches to normative philosophical reasoning about states’ immigration policies obscure factors consideration of which is indispensable for assessing their justice, producing misguided policy recommendations. These factors include the global structural causes of international migration, and the role wealthy receiving countries of the global North play in shaping these causes – factors that are better appreciated by political philosophy than by ethics, given the respective objects of concern of each. (shrink)
Invoking three desiderata (empirical adequacy, conceptual precision, and sensitivity to social positioning), this paper argues that poverty is best understood as the deprivation of certain human capabilities. It defends this way of conceiving of poverty against standard alternatives: lack of income, lack of resources, inequality, and social exclusion.
Are men oppressed as men? The evidence given in support of affirmative responses to this question usually consists in examples of harms, limitations, or requirements masculinity imposes on men: men are expected to pay on dates, men must be breadwinners for their families, men can be drafted for war, and so forth. This article explicates three hypotheses that account for the harms, limitations, and requirements masculinity imposes on men and, drawing on the work of Alison Jaggar, seeks to show that (...) these hypotheses collectively are explanatorily superior to the hypothesis the men are oppressed as men. (shrink)
This paper argues that participating exclusively or predominantly in heterosexual romantic or sexual relationships is prima facie morally impermissible. It holds that this conclusion follows from three premises: (1) gender norms are on-balance harmful; (2) conforming to harmful social norms is prima facie morally impermissible; and (3) participating exclusively or predominantly in heterosexual romantic or sexual relationships is a way of conforming to gender norms.
Do LGBT+ persons have a moral duty of some form to resist heterosexist oppression by refusing to “cover” (i.e., “to ‘disattend,’ or tone down, their (despised) sexuality in an effort to fit into and be accepted by the mainstream” (Ghosh 2018, 273))? Writing in response to Kenji Yoshino (Yoshino 2002 and 2006), Cyril Ghosh argues that such a duty would itself be oppressive. In this reply to Ghosh’s new book, I wish to argue that while Ghosh demonstrates that Yoshino’s critique (...) of covering suffers some serious defects, his arguments leave open the possibility of a defense of a qualified moral duty on the part of LGBT+ persons to refrain from covering. (shrink)
This paper is addressed to those who hold that states’ immigration policies are subject to cosmopolitan principles of justice. I have a very limited goal in the paper, and that is to offer a condensed explication of a principle for determining whether states’ immigration policies are just. That principle is that just immigration policies may not avoidably harm disadvantaged social groups (whether domestic or foreign). This principle is inspired by the failure, among many extant cosmopolitan proposals for regulating immigration, to (...) attend to the morally salient fact that all national societies are cleaved by social institutions that create distinct groups of individuals, often privileging some and disadvantaging others. In this paper I explicate this principle in terms of three questions: (1) What is a social group? (2) Under what conditions is a social group disadvantaged? And (3) what is it to avoidably harm a social group? (shrink)
This paper is addressed to those who hold that states’ immigration policies are subject to cosmopolitan principles of justice. I have a very limited goal in the paper, and that is to offer a condensed explication of a principle for determining whether states’ immigration policies are just. That principle is that just immigration policies may not avoidably harm disadvantaged social groups. This principle is inspired by the failure, among many extant cosmopolitan proposals for regulating immigration, to attend to the morally (...) salient fact that all national societies are cleaved by social institutions that create distinct groups of individuals, often privileging some and disadvantaging others. In this paper I explicate this principle in terms of three questions: What is a social group? Under what conditions is a social group disadvantaged? And what is it to avoidably harm a social group? (shrink)