Legitimate Exclusion of Would-Be Immigrants: A View from Global Ethics and the Ethics of International Relations

Social Sciences 8 (8):238 (2019)
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The debate about justice in immigration seems somehow stagnated given that it seems justice requires both further exclusion and more porous borders. In the face of this, I propose to take a step back and to realize that the general problem of borders—to determine what kind of borders liberal democracies ought to have—gives rise to two particular problems: first, to justify exclusive control over the administration of borders (the problem of legitimacy of borders) and, second, to specify how this control ought to be exercised (the problem of justice of borders). The literature has explored the second but ignored the first. Therefore, I propose a different approach to the ethics of immigration by focusing on concerns of legitimacy in a three-step framework: first, identifying the kind of authority or power that immigration controls exercise; second, redefining borders as international and domestic institutions that issue that kind of power; and finally, considering supranational institutions that redistribute the right to exclude among legitimate borders.
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