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Immigration, Emigration, and MigrationNOMOS LVII$
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Jack Knight

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781479860951

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479860951.001.0001

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Why Does the State Have the Right to Control Immigration?

Why Does the State Have the Right to Control Immigration?

Chapter:
(p.3) 1 Why Does the State Have the Right to Control Immigration?
Source:
Immigration, Emigration, and Migration
Author(s):

Sarah Song

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479860951.003.0001

Public debate about immigration proceeds on the assumption that each country has the right to control its own borders. But what, if anything, justifies the modern state’s power over borders? This chapter provides an answer in three parts. First, it examines the earliest immigration law cases in U.S. history and finds that the leading theorist they rely upon falls short of providing adequate normative justification of the state’s right to control immigration. In the second part, it turns to contemporary political theory and philosophy, critically assessing three leading arguments for the state’s right to control immigration: (1) national identity, (2) freedom of association, and (3) ownership/property. The third and final section offers an alternative argument based on the requirements of democracy.

Keywords:   immigration, borders, U.S. legal history, national identity, freedom of association, property, democracy

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