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Summary

Immigration began to receive attention as a major topic in applied ethics and applied social and in political philosophy in the mid-1980s. Much of the early work concentrated on questions surrounding states’ use of coercion to prevent people from immigrating, especially in a world of vast inequalities between territories. The initial debates opposed freedom of movement and freedom of opportunity against communities’ right to self-determination, shared culture, and security. Perhaps surprisingly, theorists of both open and closed-borders presented interpretations of distributive justice to support their positions. As the debate has evolved, theorists have given more attention to the obligations towards special classes of immigrants such as refugees, temporary workers, family-class immigrants, and undocumented residents. They have also turned their attention to topics such as the economics of skilled migration, human smuggling and trafficking, immigrant detention and deportation, and sustainability. Recent work has examined the implications of racism and sexism for migration, the moral significance of globalization and transnationalism, and the challenges that critical scholarship on borders and mobility poses for normative theory.

Key works Joseph Carens played a major role in defining discussions of immigration in philosophy with his seminal article "Aliens and Citizens: The Case for Open Borders" (1987). Carens synthesizes many of his contributions in The Ethics of Immigration (2013) which includes subtle discussions of temporary migration, refugee policy, irregular migration, citizenship and much else. Two other important interventions advocating open borders are Phillip Cole’s Philosophies of Exclusion (2000) and Abizadeh 2008. Influential justifications for border controls include Walzer 1984 and Miller 2005.  Hosein 2019 provides a valuable overview of the debates to date. Gibney 2004 is a sophisticated and comprehensive account of the ethics of refugee policy and Morgan 2020, Owen 2020, and Parekh 2016 push the discussion in new directions. Lenard & Straehle 2012 and Ruhs 2015 explore the justice of temporary labor migration programs. Brock & Blake 2014 examines the “brain drain” debate – the question of whether states can restrict the migration of skilled workers for reasons of distributive justice. Mendoza 2014 grapples with questions of race and Wilcox 2005 explores how gender affects the justice of admissions. Bauböck 1994 is an important early exploration of the implications of transnationalism for immigration and citizenship. Recent scholarship that develops insights about shifting borders, externalized migration controls, overlapping jurisdictions, and mobility and nomadism includes Longo 2017, Nail 2015, Sager 2018, and Shachar 2020
Introductions Bertram 2018 Higgins 2013 Hosein 2019 Mendoza 2016 Wilcox 2009
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1028 found
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  1. Open Borders Without Open Access (Conference Version July 2019).Dan Demetriou - manuscript
    What are libertarian open borders advocates even advocating for? Is it, as the title to Michael Huemer’s influential essay suggests, a prima facie “right to immigrate”? Or is it, as the branding connotes, literal open borders, or a strong prima facie moral right to free movement across borders that entails a right to immigrate? In this paper, I peel apart the view that people have a strong moral right to freely cross international borders, or "open access," from the view that (...)
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  2. Immigration and Equality.Adam Hosein & Adam Cox - manuscript
  3. Neighborhoods and States: Why Collective Self-Determination is Not Always Valuable.Torsten Menge - manuscript
    Collective self-determination is considered to be an important political value. Many liberal political philosophers appeal to it to defend the right of states to exclude would-be newcomers. In this paper, I challenge the value of collective self-determination in the case of countries like the US, former colonial powers with a history of white supremacist immigration and citizenship policies. I argue for my claim by way of an analogy: There is no value to white neighborhoods in the US, which are the (...)
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  4. Asylum, Credible Fear Tests, and Colonial Violence.Elena Ruíz & Ezgi Sertler - manuscript
    A credible fear test is an in-depth interview process given to undocumented people of any age arriving at a U.S. port of entry to determine qualification for asylum-seeking. Credible fear tests as a typical immigration procedure demonstrate not only what structural epistemic violence looks like but also how this violence lives in and through the design of asylum policy. Key terms of credible fear tests such as “significant possibility,” “evidence,” “consistency,” and “credibility” can never be neutral in the context of (...)
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  5. Should Refugees Govern Refugee Camps?Felix Bender - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 1:1-24.
    Should refugees govern refugee camps? This paper argues that they should. It draws on normative political thought in consulting the all-subjected principle and an instrumental defense of democratic rule. The former holds that all those subjected to rule in a political unit should have a say in such rule. Through analyzing the conditions that pertain in refugee camps, the paper demonstrates that the all-subjected principle applies there, too. Refugee camps have developed as near distinct entities from their host states. They (...)
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  6. Enfranchising the Disenfranchised: Should Refugees Receive Political Rights in Liberal Democracies?Felix Bender - forthcoming - Citizenship Studies.
    Should refugees receive political rights in liberal democracies? I argue that they should. Refugees are special – at least when it comes to claims towards democratic inclusion. They lack exit options and are significantly impacted by decisions made in liberal democracies. Enfranchisement is a matter of urgency to them and should occur on a national level. But what justifies the democratic inclusion of refugees? I draw on the all-subjected principle in arguing that all those subjected to rule in a political (...)
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  7. Cities, Neighbourhoods, and the Challenges of Immigration.Matteo Bonotti - forthcoming - Journal of Applied Philosophy.
    Journal of Applied Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  8. In Defense of Birthright Citizenship.Joseph H. Carens - forthcoming - In Sarah Fine & Lea Ypi (eds.), Migration in Political Theory. Oxford University Press.
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  9. Quelle Politique de Lutte Contre l'Immigration Clandestine En Afrique au XX E Siècle.Rufin Didzambou - forthcoming - Humanitas.
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  10. Immigration and Discrimination.Sarah Fine - forthcoming - In Sarah Fine & Lea Ypi (eds.), Migration in Political Theory: The Ethics of Movement and Membership. Oxford University Press.
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  11. Immigration and the Right to Exclude.Sarah Fine - forthcoming - Oxford University Press.
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  12. Distributive Justice and Migration.Sarah Fine - forthcoming - In Serena Olsaretti (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Distributive Justice. Oxford University Press.
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  13. The Ethics of Movement and Membership: An Introduction.Sarah Fine & Lea Ypi - forthcoming - In Sarah Fine & Lea Ypi (eds.), Migration in Political Theory: The Ethics of Movement and Membership. Oxford University Press.
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  14. Religion, Ethnicity and Transnational Migration Between West Africa and EuropeEdited by Stanisław Grodź and Gina Gertrud Smith.Amber Gemmeke - forthcoming - Journal of Islamic Studies:etv049.
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  15. Lotteries and Immigration.Rufaida Al Hashmi - forthcoming - Journal of Applied Philosophy.
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  16. Illusions of Control.Adam Hosein - forthcoming - Oxford Journal of Practical Ethics.
    This paper examines the 'taking back control' over immigration arguments offered for Brexit and for reinforcing the Southern border of the United States. According to these arguments, Brexit and increased border enforcement were needed to ensure collective self-governance for the peoples of Britain and the United States. I argue that 1. In fact these policies did little to enhance collective self-governance properly understood, and 2. They actually thwarted collective self-governance due their racially exclusionary effects on people of color in Britain (...)
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  17. Health, Migration and Human Rights.Johannes Kniess - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-19.
    Doctors, nurses and midwifes from developing countries migrate to affluent countries in large numbers, often leaving behind severely understaffed healthcare systems. One way to limit this ‘brain drain’ is to restrict the freedom of movement of healthcare workers. Yet this seems to give rise to a conflict of human rights: on the one hand rights to freedom of movement, on the other hand rights to health. By motivating its own account of human rights, this paper argues that the conflict is (...)
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  18. Are Refugees Special?Chandran Kukathas - forthcoming - In Sarah Fine & Lea Ypi (eds.), Migration in Political Theory: The Ethics of Movement and Membership. Oxford University Press.
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  19. Low-Skilled Migrants and the Historical Reproduction of Immigration Injustice.Desiree Lim - forthcoming - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-16.
    Low-skilled migrants in wealthy receiving states are routinely subordinated across a range of social contexts. There is a rich philosophical literature on the inferiorizing effects of “crimmigration”—that is, the growing criminalization of unauthorized migrants and the state’s use of uniquely harsh law enforcement methods against them. Yet there is less interest in the existing racialized division of migrant labor. Low-skilled Latino/a/x migrants disproportionately perform “dirty” and “difficult” work that citizens do not wish to perform. Theoretically, this division of labor is (...)
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  20. Why Are Muslim Bans Wrong? Diagnosing Discriminatory Immigration Policies with Brock’s Human Rights Framework.Matthew Lindauer - forthcoming - Res Publica:1-12.
    In the course of presenting a compelling and comprehensive framework for immigration justice, Brock (2020) addresses discriminatory immigration policies, focusing on recent attempts by the Trump administration to exclude Muslims from the U.S. (the ‘Muslim ban’). This essay critically assesses Brock’s treatment of the issue, and in particular the question of what made the Muslim ban and similar policies unjust. Through examining these issues, further questions regarding the immigration justice framework on offer arise.
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  21. Righting Domestic Wrongs with Refugee Policy.Matthew Lindauer - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-18.
    Discriminatory attitudes towards Muslim refugees are common in liberal democracies, and Muslim citizens of these countries experience high rates of discrimination and social exclusion. Uniting these two facts is the well-known phenomenon of Islamophobia. But the implications of overlapping discrimination against citizens and non-citizens have not been given sustained attention in the ethics of immigration literature. In this paper, I argue that liberal societies have not only duties to discontinue refugee policies that discriminate against social groups like Muslims, but remedial (...)
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  22. What Immigrants Owe.Adam Lovett & Daniel Sharp - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    Unlike natural-born citizens, many immigrants have agreed to undertake political obligations. Many have sworn oaths of allegiance. Many, when they entered their adopted country, promised to obey the law. This paper is about these agreements. First, it’s about their validity. Do they actually confer political obligations? Second, it’s about their justifiability. Is it permissible to get immigrants to undertake such political obligations? Our answers are ‘usually yes’ and ‘probably not’ respectively. We first argue that these agreements give immigrants political obligations. (...)
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  23. Should Cities Control Immigration Policy?David Miller - forthcoming - Journal of Applied Philosophy.
    Journal of Applied Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  24. In Loco Civitatis: On the Normative Basis of the Institution of Refugeehood and Responsibilities for Refugees.David Owen - forthcoming - In Sarah Fine & Lea Ypi (eds.), Migration in Political Theory: The Ethics of Movement and Membership. Oxford University Press.
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  25. Realism in the Ethics of Immigration.James S. Pearson - forthcoming - Philosophy and Social Criticism.
    The ethics of immigration is currently marked by a division between realists and idealists. The idealists generally focus on formulating morally ideal immigration policies. The realists, however, tend to dismiss these ideals as far-fetched and infeasible. In contrast to the idealists, the realists seek to resolve pressing practical issues relating to immigration, principally by advancing what they consider to be actionable policy-recommendations. In this article, I take issue with this conception of realism. I begin by surveying the way in which (...)
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  26. Lastenteilung in der europäischen Asylpolitik.Thomas Pölzler - forthcoming - In Lukas Meyer & Barbara Reiter (eds.), Wem gehört das Klima? Graz: Grazer Universitätsverlag.
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  27. Unsere Verantwortung gegenüber Flüchtlingen.Thomas Pölzler - forthcoming - In Lukas Meyer & Barbara Reiter (eds.), Wem gehört das Klima? Graz: Grazer Universitätsverlag.
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  28. Selecting By Merit: The Brave New World of Stratified Mobility.Ayelet Shachar - forthcoming - In Sarah Fine & Lea Ypi (eds.), Migration in Political Theory: The Ethics of Movement and Membership. Oxford University Press.
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  29. Cities and Immigration: A Reply.Avner Shalit - forthcoming - Journal of Applied Philosophy.
    Journal of Applied Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  30. The Significance of Territorial Presence and the Rights of Immigrants.Sarah Song - forthcoming - In Sarah Fine & Lea Ypi (eds.), Migration in Political Theory: The Ethics of Movement and Membership. Oxford University Press.
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  31. Unger-2," Immigration: Who Wins? Who Loses?".H. Stephen - forthcoming - Ends and Means.
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  32. Is There an Unqualified Right to Leave?Anna Stilz - forthcoming - In Sarah Fine & Lea Ypi (eds.), Migration in Political Theory: The Ethics of Movement and Membership. Oxford University Press.
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  33. Colonial Genealogies of Immigration Controls, Self-Determination, and the Nation-State. [REVIEW]Menge Torsten - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-17.
    Political philosophy has long treated the nation-state as the starting point for normative inquiry, while paying little attention to the ongoing legacies of colonialism and imperialism. But given how most modern states emerged, normative discussions about migration, for example, need to engage with the colonial and imperial history of state immigration controls, citizenship practices, and the nation-state more generally. This article critically reviews three historical studies by Adom Getachew, Radhika Mongia, and Nandita Sharma that engage in depth with this history. (...)
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  34. Freedom of Movement and the Rights to Enter and Exit.Christopher Heath Wellman - forthcoming - In Sarah Fine & Lea Ypi (eds.), Migration in Political Theory: The Ethics of Movement and Membership. Oxford University Press.
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  35. Taking Workers as a Class: The Moral Dilemmas of Guestworker Programmes.Lea Ypi - forthcoming - In Sarah Fine & Lea Ypi (eds.), Migration in Political Theory: The Ethics of Movement and Membership. Oxford University Press.
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  36. The Race Question in American Immigration Statistics.Hans Zeisel - forthcoming - Social Research: An International Quarterly.
  37. Whatever Happened to the Canaanites? Principles of a Christian Ethic of Mass Immigration.Nigel Biggar - 2022 - Studies in Christian Ethics 35 (1):127-139.
    This article aims to articulate a set of general principles of a Christian ethic of mass immigration. Toward this end, it considers: biblical and theological grounds for cosmopolitanism ; biblical and theological caveats against cosmopolitanism; elements of a Christian ethic of the treatment of near and distant neighbours; what Francisco de Vitoria’s ‘On the American Indians’ has to contribute; what lessons should be learned from the history of European colonialism; and the nature of mass immigration into twenty-first-century Europe and the (...)
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  38. Why Citizenship Tests Are Necessary Illiberal: A Reply to Blake.Daniel Sharp - 2022 - Ethics and Global Politics 15 (1):1-7.
    In ‘Are Citizenship Tests Necessarily Illiberal?’, Michael Blake argues that difficult citizenship tests are not necessarily illiberal, so long as they test for the right things. In this paper, I argue that Blake’s attempt to square citizenship tests with liberalism fails. Blake underestimates the burdens citizenship tests impose on immigrants, ignoring in particular the egalitarian claims immigrants have on equal social membership. Moreover, Blake’s positive justification of citizenship tests – that they help justify immigrants’ coercive voting power – both neglects (...)
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  39. Race Beyond Our Borders: Is Racial and Ethnic Immigration Selection Always Morally Wrong?Sahar Akhtar - 2021 - Ethics 132 (2):322-351.
    Despite the seemingly widespread agreement that racial and ethnic immigration criteria are always wrong, some cases seem potentially permissible and, in particular, do not seem to wrong either disfavored members or nonmembers. I demonstrate that an “antidiscrimination” approach to understanding when and why discrimination is wrong provides a compelling general explanation for this. The explanation’s key ingredient is the concept of global social status: many groups sharing a race or ethnicity have a social status beyond, and that can differ from, (...)
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  40. A Very British Domination Contract? Charles W. Mills's Theoretical Framework and Understanding Social Justice in Britain.Zara Bain - 2021 - In Daniel Newman & Faith Gordon (eds.), Leading Works in Law and Social Justice. London:
    Chapter 3 looks at the work of Charles Mills, taking in a range of his scholarship including his most famous work – The Racial Contract – and his latest work, Black Rights, White Wrongs. Zara Bain applies Mills to consider how social justice applies in the UK. She looks at the interactions and co-constitutions of racism, classism, and ableism, and the role they play in the production of poverty. The chapter argues that Mills offers us a non-ideal contractarian analysis that (...)
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  41. Migration, Mobility, and Spatial Segregation.Michael Ball-Blakely - 2021 - Essays in Philosophy 22 (1-2):66-84.
    Many supporters of open borders argue that restrictions on immigration are unjust in part because they undermine equal opportunity. Borders prevent the globally least-advantaged from pursuing desirable opportunities abroad, cementing arbitrary facts about birth and citizenship. In this paper I advance an argument from equal opportunity to global freedom of movement. In addition to preventing people from pursuing desirable opportunities, borders also create a prone, segregated population that can be dominated and exploited. Restrictions on mobility do not just trap people (...)
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  42. Refugees, Development and Autocracies: On What Repairs the State System's Legitimacy.Felix Bender - 2021 - Ethical Perspectives 28 (3):356-361.
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  43. Building Bridges, Not Barriers: The Case for Reforming the Uk's Citizenship Test.Thom Brooks - 2021 - Bristol: Bristol University Press.
    How many questions could you answer in a pub quiz about British values? Designed to ensure new migrants have accepted British values and integrated, the UK's citizenship test is often portrayed as a bad pub quiz with answers few citizens know. With the launch of a new post-Brexit immigration system, this is a critical time to change the test. Thom Brooks draws on first-hand experience of taking the test, and interviews with key figures including past Home Secretaries, to expose the (...)
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  44. The Importance of Cultural Preservation.Rafael De Clercq - 2021 - In T. Allan Hillman & Tully Borland (eds.), Dissident Philosophers : Voices Against the Political Current of the Academy. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 107-121.
    In this chapter, I explain why cultural preservation is important, and in particular, why it is important enough to justify immigration restrictions. I also attempt to explain why one rarely encounters this type of argument in philosophy.
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  45. The ”Foreign” Virus?Magnus Egan & Attila Tanyi - 2021 - Etikk I Praksis - Nordic Journal of Applied Ethics 15 (2):29-47.
    In response to the Covid pandemic the Norwegian government put in place the strictest border closures in Norwegian modern history, restricting entry to most foreign nationals. The Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, justified these restrictions with reference to the rise of new Covid variants, and the need to limit visitors to Norway as much as possible. In this paper we critically examine both the justification given for the border closure, and explore the possible adverse effects this closure might bring about. We (...)
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  46. Migration und Armut.Podschwadek Frodo - 2021 - In Gottfried Schweiger & Clemens Sedmak (eds.), Handbuch Philosophie und Armut. J.B.Metzler. pp. 354-362.
    Book chapter about migration and poverty in Handbuch Philosophie und Armut [Companion to Philosophy and Poverty].
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  47. State Crime and Immigration Control in Australia: Jock Serong’s On the Java Ridge.Dolores Herrero - 2021 - The European Legacy 26 (7-8):735-749.
    This article discusses the Australian government’s immigration policies in the context of the global refugee crisis in the years 2015–2016, as reflected and dramatised through the polemical novel b...
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  48. An Institutional Right of Refugee Return.Andy Lamey - 2021 - European Journal of Philosophy 29 (4):948-964.
    Calls to recognize a right of return are a recurring feature of refugee crises. Particularly when such crises become long-term, advocates of displaced people insist that they be allowed to return to their country of origin. I argue that this right is best understood as the right of refugees to return, not to a prior territory, but to a prior political status. This status is one that sees not just any state, but a refugee's state of origin, take responsibility for (...)
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  49. Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern: The New American Farmer: Immigration, Race, and the Struggle for Sustainability: Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. 2019. 195 Inclusive Pages. ISBN: 978-0-262-53783-4. [REVIEW]Todd LeVasseur - 2021 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 34 (4):1-4.
  50. Entry by Birth Alone?Matthew Lindauer - 2021 - Social Theory and Practice 47 (2):331-349.
    This article argues that citizens have a basic right to invite family members and spouses into their society on the basis of Rawlsian egalitarian premises. This right is argued to be just as basic as other recognized basic rights, such as freedom of speech. The argument suggests further that we must treat immigration and family reunification, in particular, as central issues of domestic justice. The article also examines the implications of these points for the importance of immigration in liberal domestic (...)
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