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Right to Immigration?

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Andrew Knoll

on 7 March 2018

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Transcript of Right to Immigration?

Right to Immigration?
Freedom of Movement
Right not to be restrained
Not a right to go anywhere you want
Neighbor's Pool?

Right to Exit
Not right to exit anywhere you want
cf. Right to Marry

Equal Opportunity
Doesn't entail right to immigrate
bring the mountain to Muhammad
Why Limit Immigration?
Preserve Public Culture?
Maintain national language
Political Values

Justification to kick people out, too?

Population Growth?
Preserve Wildlife
Maintain Quality of Life
How to Discriminate?
Hair Color?
Race, sex?
Cultural Values?
Skills, talents?
Special Duty to fellow citizens
Duty to all people
Aren't national borders just as morally arbitrary as sex, race, and hair color?
Or do we have a special duty to our fellow citizens?
A Special Duty to Fellow Citizens
1. Shared Governance
Our political decisions affect one another

2. Obligation of Rectification
If our society has wronged someone, we owe them redress
Macedo-- Immigration in U.S.
Special Duty to fellow citizens
Duty to all people
1. maintain high wages
2. redress racism
3. maintain low prices
1. alleviate poverty
2. maintain cultural exchange
1. Border Control

2. "Self-Deportation"
Labor prices skyrocket- good or bad?

3. "Guest Workers"
Visas held by workers-- not employers
Guest Worker Program
Special Duty to fellow citizens
Duty to all people
1. maintain high wages
2. redress racism
3. maintain low prices
1. alleviate poverty
2. maintain cultural exchange
In what sense are guest workers NOT our fellow citizens?
1. Shared Governance

2. Historical Connections
Liberal Egalitarianism

1. Freedom
2. Equal Opportunity
3. Equal Condition

Maybe we don't have a
to migrate. But, you must have good justification to restrict the freedom to do so.
Possible Justifications
Medieval Europe: Born a serf, stay a serf

Today: Born a migrant worker, stay a migrant worker?
Freedom of Exit

Freedom of Entry

But Freedom of Exit doesn’t help serfs if there’s no where for them to go to!

If people are free to move within countries, why not between countries?

Protect Liberal Egalitarianism!
Expel non-liberals?

Public Order: lifeboat

Beyond that, take as many as possible!

1. “Backlash”
Prejudice within liberal society causes it to collapse

2. “Brain Drain”
Immigration will undermine liberal society in countries immigrants leave

Unclear making them stay will help

Practical Concerns
Criteria on Immigration

Grandparents’ birthplace

Parents birthplace

Own birthplace

Ethnic Origin



Freedom of Association
Right to

Against Egalitarianism (Carens)
Right to Equal Opportunity gives Right to Immigration (when equality is not otherwise respected)
What sort of Equal Opportunity is Best?
equality of opportunity

But, the world's poor are
Problem is not inequality, but poverty!

But, we're all interconnected
Maybe that's true
But, citizenship may be one important relation
e.g. inequality within a family may be worse than inequality between families.
Libertarian Case
Negative Rights:

1. Not to have guests to my property restricted

Why should U.S. choice NOT to associated trump my choice to associate?!

If State can't control who's part of it, then might as well be anarchy
Imposes duties on others: we must make guest workers citizens

2. Not to be restricted in my movement
Freedom of movement not freedom to go
Criteria (Again!)
1. OK!
After all, shouldn't be forced to marry people not of the race, religion, sex you want!

2. Not OK!
Insults Immigrants. (Miller)

3. Not OK!
Insults your own citizens (Wellman)

4. Not OK!
A country is not intimate, expressive, or trivial (Fine)
Sarah Fine
Right to Association
as long as it doesn't harm anyone else.
Booz Allen buys up Greenbelt park for its employees

Teachers' union won't let you teach unless you're a member

State harms you by exclusion..... how?
But it's ok to harm people by excluding them sometimes!
Marriage: Intimate Association

Religion: Expressive Association
A State (country) is neither an intimate nor an expressive association
But neither is a golf club-- and it has a right to exclude
But maybe golf clubs can exclude because they're so unimportant
So, it's ok to exclude people from associations that are:

Denying limits on immigration doesn't completely eliminate group autonomy
Group can still make democratic decisions

We already control ability of country to limit group membership

No limits on who can birth new citizens
Who Is a Citizen?
Anyone who is a member of a country's culture (Miller)

Whoever best balances your duty to your fellow citizens and your duty to people generally (Macedo)

Whoever a Country decides they want to include-- as long as they don't insult their current members (Wellman)

Anyone who would be harmed by not being allowed citizenship (Fine)
Full transcript