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date: 05 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter analyzes the debate between advocates of open borders and defenders of the state’s right to control immigration. It examines four arguments for the former view. (1) As common owners of the earth, everyone has the right to enter any part of it. (2) Equality of opportunity at global level requires that people should be free to move between countries. (3) There is a human right to immigrate to any country one chooses. (4) States cannot coercively exclude immigrants unless they also allow them to participate democratically in the making of immigration policy. It then considers four arguments that can be used to justify border controls. (1) Citizens have a right to freedom of association that includes the right not to associate with unwanted others. (2) Distributive justice presupposes a cultural community, the protection of which requires selective admission. (3) Stronger forms of democracy demand a high level of trust among citizens, which increased diversity may threaten. (4) Members of a political community have ownership rights over its collective assets, access to which requires their permission. It concludes by noting areas of convergence between the two sides in this apparently polarized debate.

Keywords: democracy, equality of opportunity, freedom of association, human right, open border, ownership

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