Open Borders? Closed Societies? The Ethical and Political Issues

Open Borders? Closed Societies? The Ethical and Political Issues

Open Borders? Closed Societies? The Ethical and Political Issues

Open Borders? Closed Societies? The Ethical and Political Issues

Synopsis

Immigration and refugee policies have traditionally been based on two assumptions: first, that national sovereignty implies absolute control of a country's borders and, second, that outsiders are to be admitted only when it serves the national interest. Moral or ethical concerns have not played a central role in policy formation anywhere in the world. This collection of essays challenges the traditional politically oriented position, analyzes the moral issues involved, and develops models for morally responsible immigration and refugee policies in a contemporary political setting.

Excerpt

Immigration issues have received a great deal of attention the past few years as the United States, like many other industrialized nations, has attempted to cope with what has been perceived as an "immigration problem." Most of the efforts in this country have involved the attempt to deal with the flow of illegal aliens crossing our national borders. Passage of the Simpson-Rodino bill late in 1986 culminated many years of struggle to reform U.S. immigration law. One of the two major provisions of the new law prohibits private employers from hiring those who have not been lawfully admitted to the United States. the other noteworthy feature of Simpson-Rodino is an amnesty provision for those who are in this country illegally, but whose long- term residence was thought to warrant legalization as members of the American community. (Agricultural workers with even a rather fleeting residence in the United States are deemed to have a sufficient tie.)

The United States, then, is embarking on what may or may not be a bold new experiment in the area of immigration policy. the driving force behind Simpson-Rodino was the sentiment--seemingly universally shared by policymakers--that this country had lost control of its borders. What seemed essential was to "do something," although there was apparently much less agreement on what policy prescriptives were needed, as evident from the . . .

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