This article by David Miller is widely considered a standard defense of the (once) conventional view on immigration restrictionism, namely that (liberal) states generally have free authority to restrict immigration, save for a few exceptions.
This chapter argues that people have a human right to immigrate to other states. People have essential interests in being able to make important personal decisions and engage in politics without state restrictions on the options available to them. It is these interests that other human rights, such as the human rights to internal freedom of movement, expression and association, protect. The human right to immigrate is not absolute. Like other human freedom rights , it can be restricted in certain (...) extreme circumstances. Outside these circumstances, however, immigration restrictions are unjust. Having presented the argument for a human right to immigrate, the chapter responds to objections from distributive justice, culture and scarcity. (shrink)
This article asks whether states have a right to close their borders because of their right to self-determination, as proposed recently by Christopher Wellman, Michael Walzer, and others. It asks the fundamental question whether self-determination can, in even its most unrestricted form, support the exclusion of immigrants. I argue that the answer is no. To show this, I construct three different ways in which one might use the idea of self-determination to justify immigration restrictions and show that each of (...) these arguments fails. My conclusion is that the nature and value of self-determination have to do with the conditions of genuine self-government, not membership of political society. Consequently, the demand for open borders is fully consistent with respect to self-determination. (shrink)
This book explores the constraints which justice imposes on immigration policy. Like liberal nationalists, Ryan Pevnick argues that citizens have special claims to the institutions of their states. However, the source of these special claims is located in the citizenry's ownership of state institutions rather than in a shared national identity. Citizens contribute to the construction and maintenance of institutions, and as a result they have special claims to these institutions and a limited right to exclude outsiders. Pevnick shows (...) that the resulting view justifies a set of policies - including support for certain types of guest worker programs - which is distinct from those supported by either liberal nationalists or advocates of open borders. His book provides a framework for considering a number of connected topics including issues related to self-determination, the scope of distributive justice and the significance of shared national identity. (shrink)
Can a liberal state exclude illiberal immigrants in order to preserve its liberal status? Hrishikesh Joshi has argued that liberalism cannot require a commitment to open borders because this would entail that liberalism is committed to its own demise in circumstances in which many illiberal immigrants aim to immigrate into a liberal society. I argue that liberalism is committed to its own demise in certain circumstances, but that this is not as bad as it may appear. Liberalism’s commitment to its (...) own demise is merely a reflection of the fact that it must take into account the rights of outsiders, not just the rights of existing citizens, and of the fact that circumstances of injustice can sometimes leave liberal societies with no correct choice. (shrink)
Michael Dummett, philosopher and social critic, is also one of the sharpest and most prominent commentators and campaigners for the fair treatment of immigrants and refugees in Britain and Europe. This book insightfully draws together his thoughts on this major issue for the first time. Exploring the confused and often highly unjust thinking about immigration, Dummett then carefully questions the principles and justifications governing state policies, pointing out that they often conflict with the rights of refugees as laid down (...) by the Geneva Convention. With compelling and often moving examples, On Immigration and Refugees points a new way forward for humane thinking and practice about a problem we cannot afford to ignore. (shrink)
Australia, Canada, and New Zealand currently apply health requirements to prospective immigrants, denying residency to those with health conditions that are likely to impose an “excessive demand” on their publicly funded health and social service programs. In this paper, I investigate the charge that such policies are wrongfully discriminatory against persons with disabilities. I first provide a freedom-based account of the wrongness of discrimination according to which discrimination is wrong when and because it involves disadvantaging people in the exercise of (...) their freedom on the basis of morally arbitrary features of their identity. Discrimination is permissible, I suggest, when it is necessary to advance a valuable exercise of the discriminating agent’s freedom. I then apply this account to the case of social cost health requirements. Against critics of these requirements, I argue that it is sometimes permissible for states to discriminate against prospective immigrants with disabilities. States may do so, I suggest, when such discriminatory treatment is necessary to prevent an increase in rates of mortality and/or morbidity amongst citizens. Alongside critics of social cost health requirements however, I argue that existing policies are likely a form of wrongful discrimination insofar as they are too broad to satisfy this standard. (shrink)
Abizadeh has argued that because border controls coerce would-be immigrants and invade their autonomy, they are entitled to participate in the democratic institutions that impose those controls. In reply, the author distinguishes between coercion and prevention, shows that prevention need not undermine autonomy, and concludes that although border controls may restrict freedom, they do not give rise to democratic entitlements.
Austrian immigration authorities frequently reject the family reunion applications of immigrant workers. They justify their decisions not only on legal grounds but also on the basis of their own often prejudiced judgements of the applicants' ability to `integrate' into Austrian society. A discourse-historical method is combined with systemic-functionally oriented methods of text analysis to study the official letters which notify immigrant workers of the rejection of their family reunion applications. The systemic-functionally oriented methods are used in a detailed analysis (...) of a sample of rejection letters while the discourse-historical method allows this analysis to be intertextually connected to other related genres of discourse and strategies of argumentation, and to the history of post-war immigration in Austria generally. (shrink)
According to the traditional state sovereignty view in the ethics of immigration literature, societies have a great deal of latitude in determining and implementing their immigration policies. This view is typically defended by appealing to the rights of members of societies, for instance to political self-determination. Opponents of the view have often criticized its partiality to members, arguing that nonmembers can also make stringent demands on societies to be admitted and given the same treatment in matters of (...) class='Hi'>immigration policy as other nonmembers. In this paper, I take a different approach to responding to the state sovereignty view. I argue that even if we grant the premise that the rights of members generally trump the rights of nonmembers in matters of immigration policy, societies are greatly constrained in setting their immigration policies by considerations of domestic justice. The considerations that I focus on involve relationships between members and nonmembers that hold due to a shared quality or set of qualities on the basis of which members identify with nonmembers. The argument appeals to premises and principles that defenders of the state sovereignty view are committed to but concludes that this view cannot serve as a satisfactory framework for the normative assessment of immigration policies. (shrink)
This article questions the use of immigration as a tool to counter global poverty. It argues that poor people have a human right to stay in their home state, which entitles them to receive development assistance without the necessity of migrating abroad. The article thus rejects a popular view in the philosophical literature on immigration which holds that rich states are free to choose between assisting poor people in their home states and admitting them as immigrants when fulfilling (...) duties to assist the global poor. Since the human right to stay is entailed by values that feature prominently in the philosophical debate on immigration, the article further contends that participants in that debate have particular reason to reject the popular ‘choice view’ and endorse the alternative position presented in the article. (shrink)
This article focuses on two questions regarding the movement of persons across international borders: (1) do states have a right to unilaterally control their borders; and (2) if they do, are migration arrangements simply immune to moral considerations? Unlike open borders theorists, I answer the first question in the affirmative. However, I answer the second question in the negative. More specifically, I argue that states have a negative duty to exclude prospective immigrants whose departure could be expected to contribute to (...) severe deprivation in their countries of origin. Countries have a right to unilaterally control their borders, but their exercise of this right is constrained by the demands of morality. (shrink)
Approximately 47 million Latinos currently live in the United States, and nearly 25 percent of them are undocumented. The USA is a very different country from just a generation ago – culturally, socially, and demographically. Its presumed core values have been transformed largely by the changes wrought by immigration and ethnicity. A multicultural society has, in 2008, elected a multicultural president. This article examines immigration discourse, framed in terms of fear and security, and the evolution of the US (...)immigration policy. Latino immigration is presented as a force that has shaped the nation's past and continues to shape the economic, demographic, and cultural future of the United States. Psychological barriers to the social integration of immigrants are also explored. This article concludes that government policy makers should encourage a more tolerant, multicultural society by integrating Latino immigrants into the social, economic, and political fabric of the nation. (shrink)
In this paper I provide a philosophical analysis of family-based immigration. This type of immigration is of great importance, yet has received relatively little attention from philosophers and others doing normative work on immigration. As family-based immigration poses significant challenges for those seeking a comprehensive normative account of the limits of discretion that states should have in setting their own immigration policies, it is a topic that must be dealt with if we are to have (...) a comprehensive account. In what follows I use the idea of freedom of association to show what is distinctive about family-based immigration and why it ought to have a privileged place in our discussion of the topic. I further show why this style of argument neither allows states to limit nearly all immigration nor requires them to have almost no limits on immigration. I conclude by showing that all states must allow some degree of family-based immigration, and that this is a duty owed not to ‘outsiders’ seeking to enter, but rather to current citizens. (shrink)
Normative reflection on the ethics of migration has tended to remain at the level of abstract principle with limited attention to the practice of immigration administration and enforcement. This paper explores the implications of this practice for an ethics of immigration with particular attention to the problem of bureaucratic domination. I contend that migration administration and enforcement cannot overcome bureaucratic domination because of the inherent vulnerability of migrant populations and the transnational enforcement of border controls by multiple public (...) and private actors. The implication is that even if restrictive immigration policies are permissible in principle, the attempt to enforce them leads to injustices that make them ethically unacceptable in practice. (shrink)
This paper raises two objections to the freedom of movement argument from the perspective of nonideal philosophy: the argument cannot provide a means for establishing admissions priorities when all prospective immigrants cannot be admitted and it ignores alternative grounds for moral claims to admission in the context of histories of injustice. I develop an alternative admissions-guiding principle that assigns strong moral claims to admission to certain prospective immigrants based on a global extension of the no-harm principle. It claims that a (...) society must admit prospective immigrants if admission is necessary either to prevent that society from harming those immigrants or to compensate immigrants whom it has already harmed. States must fulfill these duties before they may legitimately use immigrant admissions policy in service of other national goals, including the advancement of economic interests. (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)
Eminent political theorist Joseph Carens tests the limits of democratic theory in the realm of immigration, arguing that any acceptable immigration policy must be based on moral principles even if it conflicts with the will of the majority.
Eminent political theorist Joseph Carens tests the limits of democratic theory in the realm of immigration, arguing that any acceptable immigration policy must be based on moral principles even if it conflicts with the will of the majority.
This paper argues for a dilemma: you can accept liberalism or immigration restrictions, but not both. More specifically, the standard arguments for restricting freedom of movement apply equally to textbook liberal freedoms, such as freedom of speech, religion, occupation and reproductive choice. We begin with a sketch of liberalism’s core principles and an argument for why freedom of movement is plausibly on a par with other liberal freedoms. Next we argue that, if a state’s right to self-determination grounds a (...) prima facie right to restrict immigration, then it also grounds a prima facie right to restrict freedom of speech, religion, sexual choice and more. We then suggest that the social costs associated with freedom of immigration are also costs associated with occupational choice, speech and reproduction. Thus, a state’s interest in reducing these costs gives it prima facie justification to restrict not only immigration but also other core liberal freedoms. Moreover, we rebut the objection that, even if the standard arguments for a prima facie right to restrict immigration also support a prima facie right to restrict liberal freedoms generally, there are differences that render immigration restrictions – but not restrictions on speech, religion, etc. – justified all things considered. In closing, we suggest that the theoretical price of supporting immigration restrictions – viz., compromising a commitment to liberal principles – is too steep to pay. (shrink)
In philosophical debates about immigration, one of the most prominent arguments asserts that a state’s citizenry has a right to unilaterally control its territorial borders by virtue of its right to self-determination. This is the self-determination argument. The present article demonstrates that this argument is internally undermined by the Coercion Principle, according to which all persons subjected to coercive political power are entitled to an equal say in exercising that power. First, whichever way the self-determination argument identifies the relevant (...) self-determining self, it is bound to rely on the Coercion Principle. Specifying the self politically involves appealing to the Coercion Principle, as it is a core principle of democratic theory. Alternatively, specifying a pre-political self fails to circumvent this problem, as a similar issue arises further down the argumentative line, when inferring the right to unilaterally control borders from the right to self-determination. Finally, since border controls coerce would-be immigrants, this reliance on the Coercion Principle renders the self-determination argument self-defeating. (shrink)
Several philosophers have recently argued that policies aimed at reducing human fertility are a practical and morally justifiable way to mitigate the risk of dangerous climate change. There is a powerful objection to such “population engineering” proposals: even if drastic fertility reductions are needed to prevent dangerous climate change, implementing those reductions would wreak havoc on the global economy, which would seriously undermine international antipoverty efforts. In this article, we articulate this economic objection to population engineering and show how it (...) fails. We argue, first, that the economic objection paints an inaccurate picture of the complicated relationship between demographic change and economic growth, and second, that any untoward economic effects of fertility reduction can be mitigated with additional policies. Specifically, we argue that supplementing fertility reduction with policies that facilitate the emigration of younger people from developing nations to developed nations could allow for both global reductions in GHG emissions and continued economic stability. Further, we show that moral arguments against such unprecedented increases in immigration are unsuccessful. We conclude that population engineering is a practical and morally justifiable tool for addressing the twin evils of climate change and global poverty. (shrink)
International borders concentrate opportunities in some societies while limiting them in others. Borders also prevent those in the less favored societies from gaining access to opportunities available in the more favored ones. Both distributive effects of borders are treated here within a comprehensive framework. I argue that each state should have broad discretion under international law to grant or deny entry to immigration seekers; but more favored countries that find themselves under immigration pressure should be legally obligated to (...) fund development assistance for countries that generate immigration pressure. Funding should be subject to conditions of fair and effective use in recipient countries, and should aim at a near-term target of immigration-pressure equilibrium. Equilibrium obtains between two countries when, given appropriate background circumstances, the same proportion of individuals in each manifests a preference to migrate to the other. If meeting the equilibrium target in the short term would be to the long-term disadvantage of the worst-off countries, then a Pareto-superior alternative target supersedes. It mandates development assistance at the level that yields the most favorable human development projections for the worstoff countries. An implementable set of institutions is described that can achieve the equilibrium goal in the long term without unduly sacrificing other important ends, including economic growth, political stability, cultural integrity, the political autonomy of distinct societies, and their proper accountability for policy choices. Key Words: global justice immigration borders development distributive justice development assistance equality international law cosmopolitanism. (shrink)
Do states have the right to prevent potential immigrants from crossing their borders, or should people have the freedom to migrate and settle wherever they wish? Christopher Heath Wellman and Phillip Cole develop and defend opposing answers to this timely and important question.
Abstract: Michael Walzer and David Miller defend the authority of democratic states to determine who will be allowed entry and membership. In support of this view they have claimed that the domestic solidarity necessary for social justice is threatened by the unregulated influx of outsiders. This empirical thesis proves to be false when applied to the United States, where heavy Latino and Latina immigration is more likely to increase civic solidarity than to diminish it. Seen in this light, the (...) positions of Jürgen Habermas and Carol Gould, giving human rights priority over democratic sovereignty in decisions about membership, cannot be criticized as utopian. Liberal philosophers can also defend open borders as a way to give oppressed peoples representation inside powerful countries where state decisions often threaten access to essential resources and basic freedoms in their home countries. (shrink)
Australia’s punitive policy towards people seeking asylum deliberately causes severe psychological harm and meets recognised definitions of torture. Consequently, there is a tension between doctors’ obligation not to be complicit in torture and doctors’ obligation to provide best possible care to their patients, including those seeking asylum. In this paper, we explore the nature of complicity and discuss the arguments for and against a proposed call for doctors to boycott working in immigration detention. We conclude that a degree of (...) complicity is unavoidable when working in immigration detention, but that it may be ethically justifiable. We identify ways to minimise the harms associated with complicity and argue that it is ethical to continue working in immigration detention as long as due care and attention is paid to minimising the harms of complicity. (shrink)
What are the ethical implications of global poverty for immigration policy? This article finds substantial evidence that migration is effective at reducing poverty. There is every indication that the adoption of a fairly open immigration policy by rich countries, coupled with selective use of immigration restrictions in cases of deleterious brain drain, could be of significant assistance to people living in poor countries. Empirically there is nothing wrong with using immigration policy to address poverty. The reason (...) we have to reject such an approach is not empirical but normative. People have human rights to stay in their home country and to migrate elsewhere. Counter poverty measures that require people to move or to stay are likely to violate these rights. Everyone should be free to migrate but no one should be forced to migrate. Using immigration policy to address global poverty, in place of alternatives, fails on both these counts. (shrink)
Many high-income countries have skill-selective immigration policies, favoring prospective immigrants who are highly skilled. I investigate whether it is permissible for high-income countries to adopt such policies. Adopting what Joseph Carens calls a " realistic approach " to the ethics of immigration, I argue first that it is in principle permissible for high-income countries to take skill as a consideration in favor of selecting one prospective immigrant rather than another. I argue second that high-income countries must ensure that (...) their skill-selective immigration policies do not contribute to the non-fulfillment of their duty to aid residents of low-and middle-income countries. (shrink)
It is not a fundamental human right to live wherever one would most like to be. We have to ask when a state should admit people not its citizens wishing to enter and settle within its territory. To exclude someone from entry to a country where he wishes to settle infringes his liberty. When anybody's liberty is infringed or curtailed the onus of proof lies upon those who claim a right to infringe or curtail it, other things being equal. This (...) paper argues that there are two reasonable grounds for refusing entry to would-be immigrants. First, in order to avoid genuine overpopulation; and second, to protect vulnerable cultures being submerged by large numbers of people of a more robust culture. Neither of these restrictions applies in the case of Britain and the paper concludes by demanding an immediate liberalisation of immigration laws and immediate public recognition by government of the benefits of immigration and determined discouragement of xenophobic propaganda against it. (shrink)
The fourth-century B.C. was a period during which a large number of Greek cities were affected by civil wars, military conquests, and destruction, with the displacement of large numbers of men, women and children as a result. This has implications for the modern debate on Athenian attitudes to immigration, which normally focuses on just two groups of free non-citizens: adult, able-bodied men who moved to Athens voluntarily to take advantage of the city’s economic opportunities and on the free non-citizen (...) population who had come to Athens as slaves and who stayed on after their manumission. This article argues that refugees were likely to have constituted a considerable component of the migration to Athens during certain troubled periods in the course of the fourth century. This means that the size of Athens’s immigrant population was likely to have fluctuated considerably, that many of the refugees would have been destitute, that women and children may have made up an even greater proportion of the non-citizen population than normally assumed, and, thus, that a considerable number of these immigrants would not have been able to contribute substantially to Athens’s grain trade or military. The implications of this for our assessment of the Athenian motives for admitting groups of refugees are discussed, and it is argued that the requirement that all male and all unaccompanied female immigrants had to find an Athenian sponsor and pay a special metic tax may have constituted a certain level of control over immigrant numbers. (shrink)
Several political theorists argue that states have rights to self-determination and these rights justify immigration restrictions. Call this: the self-determination argument for immigration restrictions. In this article, I develop an objection to the self-determination argument. I argue that if it is morally permissible for states to restrict immigration because they have rights to self-determination, then it can also be morally permissible for states to deport and denationalize their own citizens. We can either accept that it is permissible (...) for states to deport and denationalize their own citizens or reject the self-determination argument. To avoid this implication, we should reject the self-determination argument. That is, we should also reject the conclusion that rights to self-determination can justify any significant immigration restrictions. (shrink)
Many political theorists argue that immigration restrictions are unjust and defend broadly open borders. In this paper, I examine the implications of this view for individual conduct. In particular, I argue that the citizens of states that enforce unjust immigration restrictions have duties to disobey certain immigration laws. States conscript their citizens to help enforce immigration law by imposing legal duties on these citizens to monitor, report, and refrain from interacting with unauthorized migrants. If an ideal (...) of open borders is true, these laws are unjust. Furthermore, if citizens comply with their legal duties, they contribute to violating the rights of migrants. We are obligated to refrain from contributing to rights-violations. So, citizens are obligated to disobey immigration laws. I defend the moral requirement to disobey immigration laws against the objection that disobedience to the law is excessively risky and the objection that citizens have political obligations to obey the law. (shrink)
This article considers one seemingly compelling justification for immigration restrictions: that they help restrict the brain drain of skilled workers from poor states. For some poor states, brain drain is a severe problem, sapping their ability to provide basic services. Yet this article finds that justifying immigration restrictions on brain drain grounds is far from straightforward. For restrictions to be justified, a series of demanding conditions must be fulfilled. Brain drain does provide a successful argument for some (...) class='Hi'>immigration restrictions, but it is an argument that fails to justify restrictions beyond a small minority of cases. (shrink)