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Immigration / Refugees

Ethical debates around the issue of immigration centre on two issues: the rights of would-be recipient countries to limit entry, and the right of would-be immigrants to gain entry. In considering these it is important to draw a number of distinctions: 1) between legal and illegal immigrants; and 2) between a) welfare migrants, b) asylum seekers and refugees, and c) special claimants. The fact that someone has been granted entry and settlement rights means that their presence in a country in not unlawful, but it may still be judged to be wrong if, for example, so many people are being admitted that schooling, housing and social services are collapsing or employment and the economy are suffering badly. On the other hand, immigration may bring benefits in terms of needed skills and cultural enrichment. Welfare migrants seek a better life for themselves and their families. Refugees and asylum seekers are people whose own state either fails to protect, or actively oppresses them. Special claimants fall into 3 categories: 1) those owed reparation by the country due to previous exploitation or harm, 2) those who made a contribution that deserves to be rewarded, 3) those who have some form of non-legal-entitlement connection. Depending on the category to which a would-be entrant belongs the responsibility of the destination country may be one of justice, charity, benevolence, of prudence. Claims of justice are more stringent than those of benevolence and of charity: to fail to do the just thing on any occasion on which it may be at issue is to act unjustly; but to fail to be benevolent or charitable on any occasion on which these would be appropriate need not be wrong since these virtues include ‘perogatives’ to decide when and how to exercise them. In considering this the government of a recipient country also has to take account of its prior justice-related responsibilities to its existing citizens.

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    View metadata, citation and similar papers at core.ac.uk Singapore Management University Institutional Knowledge at Singapore Management University Research Collection School of Social Sciences 1-2004 brought to you by CORE provided by Institutional Knowledge at Singapore Management University The case for open immigration Chandran KUKATHAS Singapore Management University, [email protected] School of Social Sciences Follow this and additional works at: https://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/soss_research Part of the Ethics and Political Philosophy Commons, and the Political Theory Commons Citation KUKATHAS, Chandran. (2004). The case for open immigration. In Contemporary debates in applied ethics (pp. 376-390).: Blackwells. Available at: https://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/soss_research/2998 This Book Chapter is brought to you for free and open access by the School of Social Sciences at Institutional Knowledge at Singapore Management University. It has been accepted for inclusion in Research Collection School of Social Sciences by an authorized administrator of Institutional Knowledge at Singapore Management University. For more information, please email [email protected]. The Case for Open Immigration Chandran Kukathas People favor or are opposed to immigration for a variety of reasons. It is therefore dif- ficult to tie views about immigration to ideological positions. While it seems obvious that political conservatives are the most unlikely to defend freedom of movement, and that socialists and liberals (classical and modern) are very likely to favor more open borders, in reality wariness (if not outright hostility) to immigration can be found among all groups. Even libertarian anarchists have advanced reasons to restrict the movement of peoples. The purpose of this chapter is to make a case for greater freedom of movement or, simply, freedom of immigration. Its aim is to defend immigration against critics of all stripes, and also to defend immigration against some of its less enthusiastic friends. To put a case for free immigration is not easy. Though it may be simple enough to enunciate political principles and stand doggedly by them, in questions of public policy coherence and consistency are merely necessary, but not sufficient, virtues. The feasibil- ity of any policy proposal is also important, and political theory needs to be alive to this. "How open can borders be?" is an obvious question that it may not be possible to evade. The defense of free immigration offered here is, I hope, sensitive to this requirement. Nonetheless, it is an important part of its purpose to suggest that, in the end, political theory needs also to be suspicious of feasibility considerations, particularly when they lead us to morally troubling conclusions. Before proceeding to the defense of free immigration, however, it will be important to understand what precisely immigration amounts to, and to recognize the nature of the problem of immigration as it exists in the world today. This is the task of the first section of this chapter. The second section defines and offers a short defense of free immigration. The three sections that follow then consider various challenges to the principle of free immigration coming from economic, national, and security perspec- tives, and argue that each challenge can be met. The final section offers some general reflections on the dilemmas of contemporary immigration policy, before restating more forcefully the case for the free movement of peoples. The Problem of Immigration in the Modern World Toward the end of the twentieth century, more than 100 million people lived outside of the states of which they are citizens (Trebilcock, 1995, p. 219). But this figure does not come close to identifying the numbers of people who are moving about from country to country across the globe. Many people move between countries as tourists, businessmen, sportswomen or performers without ever stopping to "live" in a country - let alone with any intention to settle in a foreign land. Global human movement is a fact of life, as it has been for centuries, if not for all of human history. This has always had its own difficulties. But the problem of immigration is a problem of a particular kind, for immigrants are people who aim to stop rather than simply to pass through – though, as we shall see, the definition of "stopping” is not an easy one to establish. The migration of people is a problem in the modern world because that world is a world of states, and states guard (sometimes jealously) the right to determine who may settle within their borders. Immi- gration may be defined as the movement of a person or persons from one state into another for the purpose of temporary or permanent settlement (Kukathas, 2002). Modern states are reluctant to allow people to enter and settle within their borders at will for a variety of reasons. Security is one important consideration, though differ- ent states have different security concerns. The United States at present fears terrorist attacks and has tightened its immigration laws in part because of concerns for the safety of its citizens. China, on the other hand, has different security concerns since its political system does not permit much internal freedom of movement and could not tolerate an uncontrolled influx of foreigners into a population that harbors dissidents who would challenge the authority of the government. For states such as Israel, secu- rity is a prominent concern, but perhaps one no more important than the desire to preserve a certain cultural integrity. A state founded as a Jewish homeland cannot allow immigration to transform it into a multicultural polity. For modern liberal democratic states, however, there are a number of important reasons why immigration is problematic. These states, including Canada, the United States, Australia, Britain, and several countries in Western Europe, are particularly popular destinations for immigrants, whether because they are refugees seeking safe havens, or simply people looking to improve their prospects of a better life. One impor- tant reason why immigration is a problem in these cases is that immigrants impose costs on society even as they bring benefits. While economists tend to agree that the consequences of free movement are generally positive, since competitive labor markets make for a more efficient use of resources (Simon, 1990; Sykes, 1995, pp. 159-160), not all nations may benefit immediately from an influx of immigrants. Nor do the burdens of accommodating or adjusting to immigrants fall equally on all within a society - much will depend on who the immigrants are, where they settle, and with whom they end up competing for jobs, real estate, and public facilities. Even if the benefits of immigration outweigh the costs to the nation, those who are adversely affected by an influx of settlers will object; and in liberal democratic states this will translate into electorally significant opposition. Another important reason why immigration is a problem in liberal democratic states is that these states are, to varying degrees, welfare states. The state in such societies provides a range of benefits, including education, unemployment relief, retirement income, medical care, as well as numerous programs to serve particular interests. Immigrants are potential recipients of these services and benefits, and any state con- sidering the level of immigration it will accept will have to consider how likely immi- grants are to consume these benefits, how much they might consume, whether or not they are going to be able to finance the extra costs from the lifetime tax contributions of these immigrants, and what are the short-term implications of accepting immi- grants who begin by consuming more in benefits than they pay in taxes. Consequently, such states are reluctant to accept immigrants who are infirm, or too old to contribute enough in taxes in their remaining working lives to cover the costs of medical care and retirement subsidies. Under these circumstances liberal democratic governments will go to great lengths to limit immigration, though they will face pressures both to admit and refuse entry to applicants seeking to enter their countries. The pressures to admit will come from busi- nesses looking for cheaper labor, from humanitarian groups calling for the admission of refugees, and from families and ethnic communities pressing to have relatives join them from their countries of origin. The pressures to refuse entry will generally come from labor unions, from “nativist" groups, and from conservatives concerned about the cultural and economic impact of settlers, particularly if the settlers are predominantly from ethnically different countries. The lengths to which liberal democratic states might go to discourage immigration is well illustrated by the reaction of the Australian gov- ernment in August 2001 to the appearance near its coastal waters of a Norwegian merchant vessel, The Tampa, bearing refugees rescued at sea. The vessel was denied permission to enter Australian waters and to offload its human cargo, which was shipped to the island of Nauru to prevent the refugees from appealing for asylum in Australia (Marr and Wilkinson, 2003). More recently, the United States responded to the crisis in Haiti in February 2004 by intervening to encourage the departure of President Aristide, and to restore some degree of order, because it feared an exodus of Haitian refugees making their way to Florida. Immigration is a problem largely because of the nature of the modern state. Most states, and certainly all liberal democratic states, regard their people as "citizens" or "members" of the state. Membership is not standard, and the nature of membership has a substantial bearing on the rights that individuals have within a state. Full mem- bership might amount to citizenship and include the right to vote and stand for public office. (Though it is worth noting that in the United States, for example, even full citi- zenship does not entitle a member to stand for the office of President if he or she was not born in the country.) "Permanent resident” status might give one the right to work and to change employer at will, and also to draw on health, education, and welfare services, but not provide security against deportation. Status as a “guest-worker” or temporary resident might provide fewer rights still. Modern states restrict immigration because they must manage access to the goods for which immigrants and natives would compete. Modern states are like clubs that are reluctant to accept new members unless they can be assured that they have more to gain by admitting people than they have by keeping them out. In Defense of Free Immigration Given that immigrants will compete for goods and resources with natives, why should states open their borders when it is their task to manage affairs within their domains? Does the idea of open immigration not go against the principles of good husbandry? There are many reasons why borders should be open and the movement of people should free. But before considering these reasons more closely, it should be admitted that the prospect of states opening their borders completely is a remote one. Even as the European Union expands its membership and facilitates freer movement among its denizens, to take one possible counter-example to this claim, it continues to control entry into Europe - and is feeling the pressure from member states to tighten restric- tions on entry from refugees and displaced people. "Open borders" is not a policy option currently being considered by any state. Nonetheless, the case for open borders should be considered, though in the end, as we shall see, it cannot be defended without rethink- ing the idea of the state. There are two major reasons for favoring open borders. The first is a principle of freedom, and the second a principle of humanity. Open borders are consistent with - and on occasion, protect – freedom in a number of ways. The first, and most obvious, is that closed borders restrict freedom of move- ment. Borders prevent people from moving into territories whose governments forbid them to enter; and to the extent that they cannot enter any other territory, borders confine them within their designated boundaries. This fact is not sufficient to establish that so confining people is indefensible; but if freedom is held to be an important value, then there is at least a case for saying that very weighty reasons are necessary to restrict it. Several other considerations suggest that such reasons would have to be weighty indeed. First, to keep borders closed would mean to keep out people who would, as a consequence, lose not only the freedom to move but also the freedom they might be seeking in an attempt to flee unjust or tyrannical regimes. The effect of this is to deny people the freedom they would gain by leaving their societies and to diminish the incen- tive of tyrannical regimes to reform the conditions endured by their captive peoples. Second, closing borders means denying people the freedom to sell their labor, and denying others the freedom to buy it. Good reasons are needed to justify abridging this particular freedom, since to deny someone the liberty to exchange his labor is to deny him a very significant liberty. Third, and more generally, keeping borders closed would mean restricting people's freedom to associate. It would require keeping apart people who wish to come together whether for love, or friendship, or for the sake of fulfilling important duties, such as caring for children or parents. Now, to be sure, defenders of restricted immigration do not generally argue that borders should be completely sealed, or that no one should be admitted. Many concede that exceptions should be made for refugees, that some people should be allowed to come into a country to work, and that some provision should be made for admitting people who wish to rejoin their families. Those who want restricted or controlled immi- gration are not indifferent to freedom. Nonetheless, even those who argue for generous levels of immigration by implication maintain that people should be turned away at the

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    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Menu Browse Table of Contents What's New Random Entry Chronological Archives About Editorial Information About the SEP Editorial Board How to Cite the SEP Special Characters Advanced Tools Contact Support SEP Support the SEP PDFs for SEP Friends Make a Donation SEPIA for Libraries Entry Navigation Entry Contents Bibliography Academic Tools Friends PDF Preview Author and Citation Info Back to Top Immigration First published Mon May 10, 2010; substantive revision Mon Oct 21, 2019 Immigration occurs when someone moves to another country in order to stay indefinitely. Thus, because of the brevity of their visits, tourists, business travelers and foreign students, for example, typically do not qualify as immigrants even though they spend time in a foreign country. There are a variety of important issues surrounding the morality of immigration, including difficult questions regarding the definition and moral status of refugees, the circumstances (if any) in which it is permissible to use guest workers, what obligations a rich country incurs when it actively recruits skilled workers from a poor state, the rights of irregular migrants, and whether there are any limitations on the selection criteria a country may use in deciding among applicants for immigration. This entry addresses each of these topics below, but first it reviews the most prominent arguments on both sides of the central debate in this area, whether states have the moral right to exclude potential immigrants. 1. Arguments for Closed Borders 1.1 Preserving Culture 1.2 Sustaining the Economy 1.3 Distributing State Benefits 1.4 Political Functioning 1.5 Establishing Security 1.6 Political Self-Determination 1.7 Democracy 1.8 Jurisdiction 1.9 Realism 1.10 Indirect Cosmopolitanism 2. Arguments for Open Borders 2.1 Cosmopolitan Egalitarianism 2.2 Libertarianism 2.3 Democracy 2.4 Utilitarianism 3. Applied Questions in Immigration 3.1 Refugees 3.2 Guest Workers 3.3 Recruiting Immigrants 3.4 Irregular Migrants 3.5 Selection Criteria Bibliography Academic Tools Other Internet Resources Related Entries 1. Arguments for Closed Borders 1.1 Preserving Culture The most popular argument for the permissibility and importance of closing borders to outsiders is that this exclusion is necessary in order to preserve a state’s distinctive culture. The appeal of cultural continuity is easy to appreciate. As David Miller explains, “the public culture of their country is something that people have an interest in controlling: they want to be able to shape the way that their nation develops, including the values that are contained in the public culture. They may not of course succeed: valued cultural features can be eroded by economic and other forces that evade political control. But they may certainly have good reason to try, and in particular to try to maintain cultural continuity over time, so that they can see themselves as the bearers of an identifiable cultural tradition that stretches backward historically.” (Miller 2005: 200) Think of the United States, for instance. If the US placed no limits on immigration from Canada, it is clear neither how many Canadians would move south, nor whether their migration would have a discernible affect upon American culture. If the United States did not limit immigration from Mexico, on the other hand, it seems almost certain that much larger numbers of Mexicans would migrate north and that the changes to American culture would be regarded by many as rapid and dramatic. (Huntington 2005) If so, it seems likely that open borders would quickly lead to changes that would leave many Americans less comfortable in their own homeland. Given this, the concern to preserve one’s native culture seems to provide a reasonable justification for restricting immigration. This line of argument invites a number of empirical and moral questions. Among the empirical questions, we might ask how confident we can be about the numbers and influence of the potential immigrants. Is the immigrants’ culture really that distinctive? And are we sure that these newcomers will resist assimilation? Also, how can we be sure that the cultural changes will be rapid and detrimental? Skeptics of this line of argument often object that people tend to (1) exaggerate how distinctive—and distinctively valuable—their existing cultures are (it is notoriously difficult to characterize “American” culture, for instance), (2) irrationally fear change, and (3) underestimate how much their culture is changing anyway, in the absence of immigration. Even if all of these descriptive objections can be definitively answered, important moral challenges remain. In particular, even if citizens have an understandable interest in maintaining cultural continuity, it remains an open question as to whether they have a corresponding moral right (and, if so, one might wonder about how weighty this right is). These questions matter, because outsiders may also have competing interests in, and/or rights to, enter the country in question, and thus they may permissibly be excluded only if the rights of insiders to preserve their cultural continuity outweigh any rights of foreigners to enter the political territory. Finally, even if each of these moral challenges could also be conclusively answered, this approach would not justify excluding all outsiders. At most, it could explain only why countries would be entitled to limit the flow of culturally distinct immigrants. To put this point in terms of the United States, for instance, even if the aim of preserving American culture would justify placing limits on Mexican immigration, it would not seem to justify excluding all Mexicans, let alone all Canadians. 1.2 Sustaining the Economy Another popular argument against open borders is that the influx of newcomers will hurt the economy. In its most straightforward version, this argument simply assumes that the domestic economy can support only a certain number of workers, but more nuanced renditions allege more specifically that at least some types of foreigners should be excluded because, given the cultural differences between insiders and these particular outsiders, the inclusion of the latter would not be conducive to economic growth (perhaps because these outsiders lack the requisite work ethic, for instance). The most common response to this argument is simply to contest that allowing immigrants will have negative economic consequences. It seems clear that some in the domestic economy may be harmed (typically the less skilled workers disproportionately bear the brunt of the costs, since they must now compete with immigrants whose presence drives down wages), but the economy as a whole often benefits as (1) firms are able to hire cheaper labor (and pass along correspondingly lower prices to consumers), and (2) there is an increased demand for various goods and services. More generally, even if a given domestic economy might suffer if it did not restrict immigration, economists tend to agree that the global economy as a whole would profit from fewer restrictions on who can work where. (From an purely economic perspective, the inefficiencies of barring Africans from competing for work in European countries are costly, just as those which resulted from prohibiting women from working in a ‘man’s’ job were.) This recognition that there will inevitably be net winners and losers whenever a market restriction is lifted points toward the important moral question as to whether anyone has a moral right to the economic benefits of the status quo. For example, let us suppose that less skilled American laborers would be harmed, whereas American firms and consumers along with Mexican immigrants would benefit if the current restriction on Mexican immigration were lifted. If so, then immigration would be impermissible in this case only if the potentially displaced American workers have a right not to face the increased competition for their jobs (Macedo 2007). We cannot presume that these domestic workers necessarily lack such a right, but neither should we assume that they have it. What is more, even if these workers have a right not to be harmed, it does not follow that opening the economy to foreign workers must be impermissible, at least if there were some way the workers could be adequately compensated for the costs that they disproportionately bear. (Think, for instance, of how the US government routinely provides special unemployment and educational benefits to displaced workers, like those in the textile industry, who lose their jobs as a consequence of new legislation liberalizing trade with foreign countries.) To be successful, then, the economic argument must be much more sophisticated than it might initially appear; in addition to establishing that at least some people will incur economic losses, proponents of this approach must demonstrate that these victims have a moral right to be spared these costs, a right for which they cannot be adequately compensated in other ways. 1.3 Distributing State Benefits A related but distinct argument for closed borders focuses on the distribution of state benefits like welfare payments and health insurance. The basic idea here is that countries like Sweden and Canada, for instance, must limit immigration in order to sustain anything like their current provision of state benefits. If an affluent welfare state placed no restrictions on who could enter, then masses of poor people from around the world would flock to this country in order to take advantage of its provision of health and welfare benefits. Indeed, presumably so many would immigrate that there would be no way for this state to continue distributing these benefits at anything like their current rate. Thus, given the existing levels of global poverty, it appears as though you can have open borders or welfare states, but you cannot have both. It seems hard to deny that rich welfare states like the Scandinavian countries would be inundated with migrants if they lifted all restrictions on immigration, but not everyone agrees that this fact necessarily justifies keeping people out. A libertarian, for instance, would likely regard this as just one more reason to abandon the welfare state. That is, faced with the choice between either respecting everyone’s right to freedom of movement or designing states that can effectively guarantee ample levels of health coverage and welfare transfers to their citizens, the libertarian would favor the former. It is important to recognize, though, that these are not the only two options; the best answer may lie in some middle ground between these two stark alternatives. In particular, perhaps existing welfare states could open their borders to everyone and then provide no, or at least delayed, welfare benefits to newcomers. Imagine, for instance, if Sweden stipulated that immigrants would have their income and wealth taxed from the moment they entered the country, but they would not become vested until they had contributed to the state coffers for something like five years. If immigrants were forced to contribute during a waiting period, such an arrangement would presumably strengthen rather than jeopardize the host state’s capacity to provide state benefits. Thus, while some would no doubt object to newcomers facing a period in which they were net losers, this proposal at least shows that welfare states need not be incompatible with open borders. Finally, even if all attempts to square open borders with wealthy welfare states are problematic, this argument does not support the right of all countries to design and enforce their own immigration policies. More modestly, it would show only that wealthy welfare states may do so as long as the world is characterized by profound international inequality. 1.4 Political Functioning One of the most sophisticated arguments on behalf of a state’s right to close its borders is the liberal nationalist approach, which suggests that liberal welfare states must exclude outsiders in order to function properly. This account emphasizes that states of this kind are able to operate as they do only because their citizens are willing to make the enormous political sacrifices necessary to sustain a vibrant democracy and equitable welfare state. What is more, these citizens are inclined to freely sacrifice in these ways only because they identify with one another. Were it not for this fellow feeling among compatriots, far fewer would be motivated to invest their personal energy in the democratic process or to give up a portion of their wealth in order to assist less fortunate fellow citizens. And finally, this identification among compatriots depends upon the existence of a shared culture (Miller 2014). This liberal nationalist account invites all the usual questions: Do liberal democracies really depend upon sufficient trust and fellow-feeling among their compatriots, and, if so, is a common culture genuinely necessary to secure this trust and mutual concern? Just how homogenous must such a culture be? Liberal democracies like the United States and Canada seem to operate just fine despite a great deal of cultural diversity, for instance. In light of this, why worry that outsiders pose a substantial threat? Is it plausible to think that immigrants will not assimilate to the requisite degree once they have settled in their new state? And even if this account can in some cases justify excluding culturally distinct foreigners, it would appear to provide no grounds for limiting outsiders who share the requisite cultural attributes. Assuming that the answers to these empirical questions ultimately vindicate the liberal nationalist account, tricky moral questions remain. For instance, do the inhabitants of well-oiled liberal democracies have not only an interest, but a moral right to the exclusive protection afforded by their enviable political regimes? Finally, even if each of these questions can be satisfactorily answered, this account applies solely to democratic welfare states, and thus other types of states could not invoke this line of reasoning in defense of excluding outsiders. 1.5 Establishing Security Since 9/11, an increasingly popular justification for limiting immigration is the need to secure the safety of one’s citizens. After all, given the presence of international terrorists, one can hardly question the threat posed by at least some foreigners. No one can deny the moral importance of protecting innocent civilians from terrorist attack, but critics have questioned whether restricting immigration is in fact likely to provide the desired security. Chandran Kukathas (2014), for instance, raises two important concerns. First, he notes that, while laws to limit immigration may well decrease legal immigration, they will not realistically be able to eliminate all illegal immigrants. And this point is relevant, of course, because foreign terrorists who feel so passionately about their causes so as to be willing to carry out terrorist missions are not likely to be dissuaded from doing so by the illegality of entering the country whose citizens they seek to attack. Second, even if a state could somehow eliminate all legal and illegal immigration, this would not be enough because foreigners routinely enter countries, not as immigrants, but for shorter periods as tourists, guest workers, visiting students, or for short business trips. Thus, even if a country somehow managed to preclude all immigration, it could not reasonably hope to exclude all foreign terrorists unless it also restricted the flow of temporary visitors. 1.6 Political Self-Determination Another account of a country’s right to close its borders alleges that this right is merely one component of a state’s more general right to political self-determination (Walzer 1983; Pevnick 2011). Specifically, some contend that a legitimate state’s right to freedom of association entitles it to choose whether or not to admit any given immigrants (Wellman 2008). This type of argument involves three basic premises (1) legitimate states have a right to political self-determination, (2) freedom of association is an essential component of self-determination, and (3) freedom of association entitles one to refuse to associate with others. Thus, just as we would consider it an egregious violation of an individual’s personal self-determination if she had no choice but to marry the suitor of her father’s choice, for instance, we should recognize that no political community is fully self-determining unless it has discretion over which potential immigrants to invite into its political community. According to this line of argument, then, there is nothing mysterious or complicated about a country’s right to screen applicants for admission: it is merely a standard component of a state’s more general right to self-determination. There are a number of ways in which one might contest this line of argument (Fine 2010; Wellman and Cole 2011). Most obviously, one might question whether corporate political entities are even eligible for moral rights. Value-individualists, for instance, contend that only individual persons ultimately matter morally, and thus, while political states may be extremely valuable instruments, they are merely instruments and, as such, are not the type of entities to which we can sensibly ascribe moral rights. Secondly, even if countries can somehow qualify for moral rights, it seems far-fetched to liken a country’s freedom of association with respect to immigrants to an individual’s right to refuse a marriage proposal, since presumably marital freedom of association is incalculably more important to an individual than her right to exclude potential compatriots. What is more, it is not clear that the analogy between personal and political freedom of association is even apt, because states that deny immigrants do not merely refuse to politically associate with those who seek to migrate, they also forcibly exclude them from the state’s territory. Finally, even if all of these concerns could somehow be addressed, notice both that this argument purports to establish only that legitimate states have a presumptive right to exclude outsiders. Both of these qualifications are important. The condition that only legitimate states are morally entitled to be self-determining is significant because, given the plausible assumption that many existing states are illegitimate, this argument would not justify the immigration policies of many current states. And the fact that this argument would at best ground only a presumptive right to exclude outsiders is noteworthy, because it leaves open the possibility that this right could be over-ridden by the weightier rights various foreigners may have to be admitted. If a refugee needs to gain entrance in order to escape persecution or a child needs to be admitted in order to reunite with her mother, for instance, then defenders of political self-determination cannot antecedently assume that the legitimate state’s right to freedom of association necessarily trumps these individuals’ claims. 1.7 Democracy Democratic governance provides another potential link between self-determination and controls on immigration. Given that democracy’s principal virtue is thought to be its connection to self-determination, democrats often favor bounded groups which enjoy dominion over their own affairs. As Frederick Whelan puts it, “democracy requires that people be divided into peoples (each people hopefully enjoying its own democratic institutions), with each unit distinguishing between its own citizens—understood in a political sense as those eligible to exercise democratic political rights here—and others, who are regarded as aliens here, although (hopefully) citizens somewhere else.” (Whelan 1988: 28) The basic idea here is that, in order for democracies to function, there must be rule by the same people upon whom the rule is imposed. But this is possible only if the same group of individuals who first vote are subsequently bound by the outcome. If membership constantly fluctuated, however, then self-determination would not occur, because the “self” that votes would not match the “self” which is then bound by the results. In response, theorists like Phillip Cole (2000) have suggested at least two grounds on which we might question whether democracy requires closed borders. First, even if Whelan is right that democracy cannot function properly unless we sort people into territorially defined groups (What is wrong with a democratic world state, for instance?), why does it follow that the constituents within any given set of territorial boundaries must have control over admissions? Citing local and regional democratic units within larger federal structures as counterexamples, Coles suggests that “[i]t seems clear that democratic rights can be confined to a region, with people entering and leaving that region freely and exercising the local democratic rights during their residency.” (Cole 2000: 184) Second, Cole suggests that one of the chief reasons to insist upon democracy in the first place is presumably the belief that coercive political institutions could not permissibly be imposed unless those coerced are given an equal say in how the political arrangements are ordered. But if so, this makes extending suffrage to only those already within the territorial boundaries objectionable, because, as Cole reminds us, “there are two groups subjected to the laws of the state: its own members, and those non-members who are applying for inclusion.” (Cole 2000: 186) Thus, because exclusive immigration laws are coercively imposed upon foreigners who seek to enter, democratic principles suggest that these outsiders should also have a say in immigration laws. So if Cole is right, the democratic case for closed borders is doubly problematic. Not only is it false that open borders is inconsistent with a functioning democracy, democratic principles may even prohibit a state’s coercively excluding disenfranchised foreigners from entering its territory. 1.8 Jurisdiction The jurisdictional theory of immigration emphasizes that, while political states are morally required to respect everyone’s human rights, they are obligated to protect the rights of only those within their territory. Given this, whenever someone moves to a new state, the citizens of the receiving country become responsible for this newcomer in a way that they were not before her arrival. It would thus seem weird to suppose that everyone should be free to move to whatever country they like, because this would entitle each of us to unilaterally impose moral responsibilities upon others. If we value individual liberty, then we should begin with at least a presumption against others being at liberty to unilaterally foist these responsibilities on us (Blake 2013). Our immunity against unwelcome obligations may not be absolute, but it would presumably require a compelling competing consideration to outweigh it. If someone could not enjoy sufficient protection of her human rights unless she moved to Canada, for instance, then this vulnerable person may be entitled to immigrate without permission even though this move will saddle Canadian citizens with moral duties to which they did not consent. But if someone whose rights are adequately respected elsewhere sought to move to Canada merely because she thinks she would be happier there, Canadians would be well within their rights to forcibly exclude her if they would prefer not to be responsible for protecting her human rights. Those who think that there is a natural duty to support just institutions may question the pivotal premise in this approach: that we should be skeptical of political obligations to which we have not consented. After all, if each of us was really immune from political duties to which we did not consent, then many of us would not have duties to protect the human rights of our compatriots. But if we must do our part of the collective chore of protecting the human rights of our fellow citizens despite the fact that we never agreed to do so, why think that there is anything distinctively problematic about our similarly having such duties to newcomers who have recently immigrated? Indeed, given that we are already morally encumbered with duties to protect the human rights of those within our state’s territorial boundaries, an influx of newcomers does not create any new types of duties, at most it creates additional tokens which would make fulfilling these responsibilities more costly (Kates and Pevnick 2014). In response, an advocate of the jurisdictional approach might counter that prospective immigrants have no right to unilaterally act in ways that make our natural duties more demanding. But retreating to this position raises new questions. Given that immigrants also contribute to the state’s performance of its political functions, it is not obvious why an influx of prospective immigrants would necessarily make it more difficult for those already present to fulfill their political obligations. (Indeed, given economies of scale, the newcomers may often lighten the load of the native population.) And even if there are instances in which the arrival of immigrants would create net costs for a state’s existing population, this fact would generate a right to forcibly exclude outsiders only if the increased demands upon those already present should be given moral precedence over the costs imposed upon prospective immigrants who are denied entry. Because prospective immigrants often have pressing interests in entering a country (even if their human rights are satisfactorily protected), however, there may be many cases in which the interests of those who want to enter would prevail over a native population’s desire to avoid more costly political responsibilities (Kates and Pevnick 2014). 1.9 Realism Though less popular than it once was, international relations was once dominated by realists who argued that political states are not constrained by morality in their dealings with foreign states and individuals. The basic idea motivating this approach was most often the Hobbesian presumption that morality consists solely of contracts which are binding only in the presence of a sovereign who could enforce them. And since there is no world sovereign capable of punishing states, the latter cannot be morally bound by any putative contracts which purport to apply to them. As a consequence, realists have traditionally supposed that states will and should orient their dealings with foreigners in whatever fashion maximally suits their national interests. And if this is correct, there can be no duties of any kind owed to foreign states or individuals, and thus no duty to open one’s borders to foreigners. Many are reluctant today to endorse realism, in part because they reject the Hobbesian approach to morality, but also because they believe that states can be held accountable even in the absence of a single, global sovereign. Given this, theorists typically feel no need to defeat the realist case for closed borders. It is worth noting, however, that the permissibility of closed borders does not automatically follow from realism, because (more) open borders may be in a country’s national interest. It is not just that any given country might stand to benefit in various ways from immigration, it may also be that a country’s own citizens have rights which require the state’s borders to be porous. If individuals have property rights which entitle them to invite foreigners onto their land or rights to freedom of association which entitle them to associate domestically with foreigners, for instance, then a country may well be duty-bound to allow open immigration even if it owes no moral duties to outsiders. 1.10 Indirect Cosmopolitanism Because cosmopolitans value all people equally, they often argue in favor of (more) open borders. Given that the life of a Western European is no more valuable than that of a sub-Saharan African, for instance, how can we justify a geo-political arrangement in which people are effectively forced to remain in their country of birth when sorting humans according to this (morally arbitrary) criterion has such a profound effect upon their chances of living a minimally decent life? After all, it is a matter of brute luck where one is born, so neither the Europeans nor the Africans can plausibly be said to deserve their relatively good/bad life prospects. It is important to recognize, however, that embracing cosmopolitanism does not necessarily require one to endorse open borders, because one might develop an ‘indirect cosmopolitan’ defense for protecting a state’s right to exclude outsiders. Such an account might take any number of forms, but one particularly interesting version is to suggest that wealthy liberal democratic states must be allowed to exclude foreigners (for the time being, at least) so as to be better able (and more willing) to build the international institutions which are most likely to put the world’s poor in a better position to live minimally decent lives (Christiano, 2008). This approach begins with the plausible premise that people like those currently enduring absolute poverty in sub-Saharan Africa will likely continue to be vulnerable to horrifically corrupt and incompetent domestic governance until the larger geo-political context is dramatically improved via the construction of international institutions, like the International Criminal Court. And if these international institutions are going to be created/reformed/made more effective in the foreseeable future, it will be predominantly by wealthy, liberal democracies. These states will be able and willing to undertake this task, however, only if their domestic economies, cultures and political environments are relatively safe and secure, and this requires that they be free from worries about massive unwanted immigration. Thus, for the indefinite future we should grant states the right to design and enforce their own immigration policies, not because the constituents of wealthy liberal democratic countries are necessarily morally entitled to their current high levels of wealth and security, but because denying states such a right will almost surely undermine the prospects that these regimes will be able and willing to construct the larger, international mechanisms which, in turn, will provide the best long term chances of substantially improving the lot of the world’s poorest denizens. An argument as elaborate as this one obviously depends upon a number of controversial premises about the best, most realistic way to help the world’s poor and the likely future conduct of wealthy liberal democracies. It is also important to recognize that, even if each of these claims is accurate, this argument does not establish the type of conclusion that many defenders of closed borders might want. This is for two reasons. First, rather than establish a state’s moral right to exclude outsiders, it would seem to show at most that we should treat states as if they had this moral right by, for instance, respecting their international legal right to design and enforce their own immigration policies. Second, this argument’s conclusion would not hold indefinitely; rather, the argument would apply only until the desired international institutions were constructed. Once the geo-political environment was suitably repaired, this particular argument would no longer provide any reasons to resist open borders. Of course, most cosmopolitans will regret neither of these features of this argument, but many who seek to defend a state’s right to exclude outsiders may well be considerably less sanguine about such limitations. 2. Arguments for Open Borders 2.1 Cosmopolitan Egalitarianism The cosmopolitan egalitarian case for open borders combines the core moral insight that all human beings, whether they are compatriots or foreigners, are equally deserving of moral consideration with the central empirical observation that one’s country of birth often has a profound impact upon one’s life prospects. The staggering levels of international inequality would not be so objectionable if the typical Swede had done something to deserve a better life than the typical Chadian, for instance, but the truth, of course, is that Swedes were merely lucky to have been born in Sweden rather than Chad. And given this, what justification could the Swedes have for putting guns at their borders to deter Chadians from trying to move north and take advantage of the preferable social, political and economic environment? In the eyes of cosmopolitan egalitarians, they have none. As Joseph Carens puts it, “Citizenship in Western liberal democracies is the modern equivalent to feudal privilege—an inherited status that greatly enhances one’s life chances. Like feudal birthrights privileges, restrictive citizenship is hard to justify when one thinks about it closely.” (Carens 1987: 252) In other words, egalitarians regard open borders as the requisite response to the enormous economic inequalities which currently exist between countries. This case for open borders presumes a specific, highly contentious version of cosmopolitan egalitarianism. Thus, if one were not an egalitarian (or, more specifically, if one were not a so-called “luck” egalitarian who believes that justice requires that we correct for all inequalities which stem merely from luck), or if one denied that egalitarian (or at least luck egalitarian) considerations extend beyond one’s political borders, then one would be unmoved by this argument. More importantly, even if one accepts all of the cosmopolitan egalitarian’s moral premises, it is not clear that the desired conclusion follows. This is because wealthy states seem to have other ways to fulfill their duties of distributive justice. Even if Sweden has demanding duties of distributive justice to Chad, for instance, why may Sweden not keep its borders closed as long as it transfers the requisite amount to Chad? That is certainly how we handle duties of distributive justice in the domestic realm. Consider Jeff Bezos, for instance. While there are various accounts of Bezos’s duties to share his wealth with those who are less fortunate, no one supposes that he must remarry, adopt or otherwise open his family to a poor person. Rather, whatever he must transfer to others, everyone agrees that he can exclude others from his home life as long as he fulfills his duties of distributive justice. And if duties of distributive justice do not undermine an individual’s right to freedom of association in the domestic realm, why need they do so for a state in the international arena? If Jeff Bezos need not open his home to those who are less fortunate, then why must Sweden welcome poor foreigners into their political community? 2.2 Libertarianism When one thinks of the individual rights which conflict with a state’s control over immigration, an outsider’s right to freedom of movement is likely to come to mind. As Joseph Carens reminds us, though, the rights of insiders are also limited when the political community as a whole has dominion over immigration. As he explains, “Suppose a farmer from the United States wanted to hire workers from Mexico. The government would have no right to prohibit him from doing this. To prevent the Mexicans from coming would violate the rights of both the American farmer and the Mexican workers to engage in voluntary transactions.” (Carens 1987: 253) Thus, a state’s exclusive immigration policy is doubly disrespectful of individual rights, because it interferes with both an outsider’s freedom of movement and an insider’s property right to unilaterally invite foreigners onto her land. The libertarian is right to suggest that a state’s dominion over immigration is inconsistent with individuals having unlimited rights in this domain, but it is not clear why we should presume that the individual’s right must always prevail. Certainly the state’s right would be over-ridden if individual rights were always perfectly general and absolute, but this construal of moral rights is implausible. A person’s right to freedom of movement does not give her the right to enter my house without my permission, for instance, so why must we assume that it gives her a right to enter my country’s territory without first getting the permission of the political community as a whole? One could make a similar point about a property owner’s rights over her land. A property owner would have the right to unilaterally invite foreigners onto her land if property rights were general and absolute, but most eschew this account of property. Few would say that each property owner has a right to unilaterally enforce the criminal law on her own land, for instance, and if property owners must defer to the state as a whole when it comes to the enforcement of criminal law, why must it be any different for the immigration of foreigners? 2.3 Democracy As was explained above, Phillip Cole has offered reasons to question the view that democratic governance depends upon there being closed borders. More recently, though, Arash Abizadeh (2008) has extended this reasoning to argue that democratic principles are actually incompatible with a state’s right to unilaterally exclude outsiders. As he puts it, “anyone who accepts a genuinely democratic theory of political legitimation domestically is thereby committed to rejecting the unilateral domestic right to control and close the state’s boundaries…” (Abizadeh 2008: 38) His argument involves two core premises, one moral and the second descriptive. The moral premise is his construal of the democratic justification thesis, which stipulates that a state’s coercive presence is illegitimate unless it is democratically justified to everyone coerced. The second premise is merely the descriptive observation that a state coerces foreigners when it forcibly prevents unwelcome immigrants from entering the state’s territory. In light of these two points, Abizadeh concludes that a state may not unilaterally exclude outsiders; it can permissibly adopt an exclusive immigration policy only if it democratically justifies this practice to outsiders. In other words, it would be impermissible for a state to forcibly restrict outsiders without first giving these outsiders a vote in the referendum which decided whether or not to adopt this restrictive immigration policy. Corresponding to the two central premises, there are two ways to contest this line of reasoning. First and most obviously, one might follow David Miller’s lead and deny that forcibly restricting immigration actually coerces outsiders in the morally relevant sense (Miller 2010). Even if one concedes that potential immigrants are coerced, though, one might doubt that coercion cannot be permissible in the absence of democratic justification. To appreciate the appeal of this second strategy, imagine that two criminals want to enter my house and help themselves to my copy of Michael Walzer’s Spheres of Justice. It seems crazy to think that I may not take proportionate steps to coercively repel them without first putting my planned resistance up to a vote among the three of us. And if I do not need to democratically justify my coercively protecting my right to keep strangers out of my house, why think that a state must democratically justify its attempts to keep uninvited foreigners out of its political community? Of course, a defender of this type of democratic case for open borders might counter that, unlike a legitimate owner of private property, the constituents of a state have no dominion over the state’s territory, but this response would be available only if it could be shown that a state’s constituents lack the relevant moral standing over the political territory in question. 2.4 Utilitarianism Finally, the utilitarian case for open borders stresses that restricting freedom of movement leads to obvious inefficiencies and is therefore impermissible. There are any

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