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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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1112 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. On a mystery of immigration.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    This paper addresses a puzzle some people have about immigration. We are told that the immigrants we are taking in are talented, but then why don’t their own societies keep them?
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  3. Immigration and Equality.Adam Hosein & Adam Cox - manuscript
  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. Rethinking Liberal Multiculturalism: Foundations, Practices and Methodologies.François Boucher, Sophie Guérard de Latour & Esma Baycan-Herzog - forthcoming - Ethnicities.
    The article introduces a special issue on “Rethinking Liberal Multiculturalism: Foundations, Practices and Methodologies.” The contributions presented in this special issue were discussed during the conference « Multicultural Citizenship 25 Years Later », held in Paris in November 2021. Their aim is to take stock of the legacy of Kymlicka’s contribution and to highlight new developments in theories of liberal multiculturalism and minority rights. The contributions do not purport to challenge the legitimacy of theories of multiculturalism and minority rights, they (...)
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  9. Everyday immigration ethics: Colombia, Venezuela and the case for vernacular response.Dan Bulley - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy.
    In the last decade, Venezuelans have faced a range of challenges such that by 2023, nearly 7.2 million have fled, the vast majority hosted within the region. One country particularly stands out: Colombia has accepted over 2.5 million. Colombia’s behaviour does not appear motivated by legal obligations or universal ethical principles; it is hard to make sense of in terms of international ethical and political theory. Rather, Colombian state and society make reference to mundane, localised concepts of friendship, fraternity and (...)
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  10. 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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  11. Quelle politique de lutte contre l'immigration clandestine en Afrique au XX e siècle.Rufin Didzambou - forthcoming - Humanitas.
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  12. Saying ‘Criminality’, meaning ‘immigration’? Proxy discourses and public implicatures in the normalisation of the politics of exclusion.Hugo Ekström, Michał Krzyżanowski & David Johnson - forthcoming - Critical Discourse Studies.
    This article explores political discourse in the context of an online-mediated 2021 rapprochement between Swedish ‘mainstream’ and far-right parties paving the way for their eventual 2022 electoral success and later joint government coalition. The article analyses specifically how the above political accord on the Swedish right – often seen as breaking the long-term cordon sanitaire around Sweden’s far right – would be legitimised via discourses that carried significant elaboration and deepening of the ‘criminality’ and ‘immigration’ connection later recontextualised into the (...)
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  13. 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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  14. Immigration and the Right to Exclude.Sarah Fine - forthcoming - Oxford University Press.
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  15. Distributive Justice and Migration.Sarah Fine - forthcoming - In Serena Olsaretti (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Distributive Justice. Oxford University Press.
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  16. 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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  17. Does a State’s Right to Control Borders Justify Harming Refugees?Bradley Hillier-Smith - forthcoming - Moral Philosophy and Politics.
    Certain states in the Global North have responded to refugees seeking safety on their territories through harmful practices of border violence, detention, encampment and containment that serve to prevent and deter refugee arrivals. These practices are ostensibly justified through an appeal to a right to control borders. This paper therefore assesses whether these harmful practices can indeed be morally justified by a state’s right to control borders. It analyses whether Christopher Heath Wellman’s account of a state’s right to freedom of (...)
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  18. 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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  19. The Legend of 1900: Law, Space, and Immigration.Lung-Lung Hu - forthcoming - International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique:1-15.
    In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, more than 4 million Italians migrated to the United States of America (U.S.), which they regarded as a utopia. The film _The Legend of 1900_, which was inspired by Alessandro Baricco’s monologue _Nocecento_ and directed by Giuseppe Tornatore, tells the story about the genius pianist 1900, an orphan, who is fostered by Danny, a black coalman in the boiler room of an ocean liner, and whose parents are presumably Italian immigrants. Due to (...)
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  20. Immigration enforcement and justifications for causing harm.Kevin K. W. Ip - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy.
    States are not only claiming the right to grant or deny entry to their territories but also enforcing this right against non-citizens in ways that cause significant harm to these individuals. In this article, I argue that endorsing the presumptive right to restrict immigration does not settle the question of when or how it may permissibly inflict harm on individuals to enforce this right. I examine three distinct justifications for causing harm to individuals. First, the justification of defensive harm holds (...)
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  21. 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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  22. Citizens in Action Against Immigration Injustice.Patti Tamara Lenard - forthcoming - Philosophy and Public Issues - Filosofia E Questioni Pubbliche.
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  23. Clarifying our duties to resist.Chong-Ming Lim - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 1.
    According to a prominent argument, citizens in unjust societies have a duty to resist injustice. The moral and political principles that ground the duty to obey the law in just or nearly just conditions, also ground the duty to resist in unjust conditions. This argument is often applied to a variety of unjust conditions. In this essay, I critically examine this argument, focusing on conditions involving institutionally entrenched and socially normalised injustice. In such conditions, the issue of citizens’ duties to (...)
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  24. The “Generic” Unauthorized.Matthew Lister - forthcoming - Philosophy and Public Issues - Filosofia E Questioni Pubbliche 11 (1):91-110.
    How to respond to unauthorized migration and migrants is one of the most difficult questions in relation to migration theory and policy. In this commentary on Gillian Brock’s discussion of “irregular” migration, I do not attempt to give a fully satisfactory account of how to respond to unauthorized migration, but rather, using Brock’s discussion, try to highlight what I see as the most important difficulties in crafting an acceptable account, and raise some problems with the approach that Brock takes. In (...)
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  25. 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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  26. The Importance of Incorporating Religious, Cultural and Linguistic Evidence in UK Immigration Procedures: An Analysis of the Semiotic Codes of Asylum Seekers.Imranali Panjwani - forthcoming - International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique:1-18.
    Asylum seekers who claim asylum in the United Kingdom flee from a diverse range of threats of persecution, particularly in the MENA (Middle East & North African) region. These threats may comprise of war, tribal violence and trafficking to honour-killings, female genital mutilation and witchcraft. Some of these threats may be alien to Western immigration tribunals as they either do not occur in their respective countries or are not understood, particularly because of the intricate religious and cultural nature of the (...)
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  27. Citizens in Action Against Immigration Injustice.Gianfranco Pellegrino - forthcoming - Philosophy and Public Issues - Filosofia E Questioni Pubbliche.
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  28. 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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  29. Unsere Verantwortung gegenüber Flüchtlingen.Thomas Pölzler - forthcoming - In Lukas Meyer & Barbara Reiter (eds.), Wem gehört das Klima? Graz: Grazer Universitätsverlag.
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  30. Security, digital border technologies, and immigration admissions: Challenges of and to non-discrimination, liberty and equality.Natasha Saunders - forthcoming - European Journal of Political Theory.
    Normative debates on migration control, while characterised by profound disagreement, do appear to agree that the state has at least a prima facie right to prevent the entry of security threats. While concern is sometimes raised that this ‘security exception’ can be abused, there has been little focus by normative theorists on concrete practices of security, and how we can determine what a ‘principled’ use of the security exception would be. I argue that even if states have a right to (...)
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  31. 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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  32. 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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  33. Unger-2," Immigration: Who wins? Who Loses?".H. Stephen - forthcoming - Ends and Means.
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  34. 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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  35. 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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  36. 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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  37. 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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  38. The Race Question in American Immigration Statistics.Hans Zeisel - forthcoming - Social Research: An International Quarterly.
  39. Righting domestic wrongs with refugee policy.Matthew Lindauer - 2024 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 27 (2):206-223.
    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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  40. Race beyond Our Borders: Is Racial and Ethnic Immigration Selection Always Morally Wrong?Sahar Akhtar - 2023 - 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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  41. Immigration and freedom.Ugur Altundal - 2023 - Contemporary Political Theory 22 (4):141-144.
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  42. Immigration and Freedom.Edward Andrew - 2023 - The European Legacy 29 (1):109-112.
    Chandran Kukathas has written a thoughtfully provocative book on perhaps the major issue of our time, namely, mass migration versus the world-wide desire for border controls, which, he argues, unju...
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  43. ‘The jobs all go to foreigners’: a critical discourse analysis of the Labour Party's ‘left-wing’ case for immigration controls.David Bates - 2023 - Critical Discourse Studies 20 (2):183-199.
    This paper critically examines how senior figures in the UK Labour Party and wider labour movement discussed the topic of immigration in the immediate aftermath of the UK's vote to leave the European Union in 2016. Influenced by the Discourse Historical Approach, the paper is based on an analysis of 86 public interventions by Labour figures, over a 6-month period, delivered in speeches, articles and essays. The paper examines argumentative strategies adopted by Labour figures – including Members of Parliament, advisors (...)
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  44. Cities, Neighbourhoods, and the Challenges of Immigration.Matteo Bonotti - 2023 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 40 (3):417-429.
    This article critically examines four specific aspects of Avner de Shalit’s book Cities and Immigration. First, it argues that the influx of cosmopolitan migrants, which de Shalit considers unproblematic for destination cities, may in fact pose a challenge to some cities’ ethos, and to the ethos of specific neighbourhoods within cities. Second, it contends that gentrification, contrary to what de Shalit suggests, may sometimes hinder rather than promote social mixing and migrants' integration. Third, it claims that most of the examples (...)
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  45. Undocumented Prudent Immigrants: De-Centering Romans 13 and Rule of Law in Immigration Ethics.D. Glenn Butner - 2023 - Studies in Christian Ethics 36 (1):62-83.
    Romans 13:1-7, which commands subjection to governing authorities, can be given too much weight in the moral analysis of undocumented immigrants. This article considers Romans 13 in the broader context of Romans and of the biblical canon to show biblical reasons for permitting civil disobedience toward immigration law. Rather than viewing undocumented immigrants as universally immoral lawbreakers, these biblical factors combined with analysis of civil disobedience for the preservation of life, legal ambiguities arising from competing jurisdictions, and other socio-political factors (...)
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  46. Linking citizens’ anti-immigration attitudes to their digital user engagement and voting behavior.David De Coninck, Hajo G. Boomgaarden, Anne Maria Buiter & Leen D’Haenens - 2023 - Communications 48 (2):292-314.
    Societally salient issues, like migration, stimulate user engagement with political parties on social media. This user engagement, in turn, is associated with political behavior, such as voting. Nonetheless, few studies so far have investigated the interaction between these factors. We examine how anti-immigration attitudes are associated with user engagement with political parties on social media. In this study, user engagement is understood as following political parties on social media. Through online data that were collected in October 2019 among adults (N= (...)
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  47. Cities and Immigration: A Reply.Avner de Shalit - 2023 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 40 (3):430-440.
    In my book, Cities and Immigration, I suggest shifting responsibilities for the integration of immigrants from the state to the city level. The articles in this issue challenge some of my suggestions. I discuss these challenges with regard to three questions: should a city enjoy greater autonomy to decide who, and how many, immigrants should settle within its borders? Should immigrants enjoy local voting rights even before naturalization? And is there a morally preferable model for integrating immigrants into the city?
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  48. Abolir les passeports ? Les gouvernements contre l’opinion.Speranta Dumitru - 2023 - Cahiers D'Histoire 158:113-129.
    The international system of obligatory passports, as it exists today, was established at the beginning of the First World War. After the Armistice, the League of Nations tried to abolish it, but several governments delayed it. This article analyzes how the French press of the interwar period called for the abolition of passports. Seen as a "vexation", the passport was deemed "useless" after the war. So why wasn’t it abolished? Among the reasons for maintaining passports, we explore the hypothesis of (...)
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  49. L’abolition des passeports : une revendication de gauche ou de droite ?Speranta Dumitru - 2023 - Hommes and Migrations 2 (1341):168-176.
    This paper analyses the demands for abolishing passports after WWI. The international regime of obligatory passports, as it exists today, is a legacy of the Great War. After the Armistice, two Passport Conferences organized by the League of Nations considered its abolition. Before the second conference, a resolution of the Sixth Assembly of the League of Nations stated that "public opinion is certainly waiting for at least one step towards the most generalized abolition of the passport system ". Was this (...)
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  50. Resistance and the delivery of healthcare in Australian immigration detention centres.Ryan Essex & Michael Dudley - 2023 - Monash Bioethics Review 41 (1):82-95.
    There are few issues that have been as vexing for the Australian healthcare community as the Australian governments policy of mandatory, indefinite, immigration detention. While many concepts have been used to begin to describe the many dilemmas faced by healthcare professionals and their resolution, they are limited, perhaps most fundamentally by the fact that immigration detention is antithetical to health and wellbeing. Furthermore, and while most advice recognises that the abolition of detention is the only option in overcoming these issues, (...)
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