Debating the Ethics of Immigration: Is There a Right to by Christopher Heath Wellman

By Christopher Heath Wellman

Do states have the precise to avoid capability immigrants from crossing their borders, or should still humans have the liberty emigrate and settle at any place they want? Christopher Heath Wellman and Phillip Cole boost and safeguard opposing solutions to this well timed and demanding query. attractive to the appropriate to freedom of organization, Wellman contends that valid states have extensive discretion to exclude capability immigrants, even those that desperately search to go into. by contrast, Cole argues that the dedication to the ethical equality of all humans - which valid states will be anticipated to carry - potential nationwide borders needs to be open: equivalent recognize calls for equivalent entry, either to territory and club; and that the assumption of open borders is much less radical than it sort of feels once we think of what percentage territorial and neighborhood obstacles have this open nature. as well as attractive with each one other's arguments, Wellman and Cole deal with more than a few primary questions and trendy positions in this subject. The authors for that reason supply a severe review of the most important contributions to the ethics of migration, in addition to constructing unique, provocative positions in their personal.

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Thus, despite clear and morally crucial differences between an individual having discretion of her self-regarding affairs and a state exercising jurisdiction over its internal matters, we need not retreat from the principle of political self-determination in the form I have defended here. To conclude this discussion of the first core premise of my argument, then, it seems both intuitively plausible and theoretically defensible to posit that political states enjoy a privileged position of moral dominion over their internal affairs as long as one restricts these sovereign rights to legitimate regimes, where legitimacy is cashed out in terms of the adequate protection of, and respect for, human rights.

What is more, as in the case of golf clubs, the crucial point is that—whether one interacts personally with them or not—one’s fellow citizens all play roles in charting the course that one’s country takes. And since a country’s immigration policy determines who has the opportunity to join the current citizens in shaping the country’s future, this policy will matter enormously to any citizen who cares what course her political community will take. This connection between a group’s membership and its future direction underscores why freedom of association is such an integral component of self-determination.

Below I will consider a variety of arguments which purport to show that countervailing considerations clearly defeat a state’s presumptive right to control its own borders. Before moving to those 46 | DEB AT ING T HE E T HICS OF IMMIGR AT ION arguments, though, it is worth pausing to notice two things about my position: (1) I am arguing on behalf of a deontological right to limit immigration rather than a consequential recommendation as to how any given state should act, and (2) insofar as my position focuses on the rights of all legitimate states, it does not depend on any controversial claims about the importance of preserving a country’s economic, political, or cultural status quo.

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