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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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Three Mistakes in Open Borders Debates

Three Mistakes in Open Borders Debates

(p.51) 2 Three Mistakes in Open Borders Debates
Immigration, Emigration, and Migration

Adam B. Cox

NYU Press

What might justify laws that restrict the free movement of people across international borders? This chapter corrects three common mistakes made by those who try to answer this question. First, debates about open borders often conflate three quite distinct questions—about whether border restrictions are permissible, when they are permissible, and who gets to decide. Second, the early American immigration jurisprudence often cited by legal scholars was not about open borders arguments as many have supposed. Third, it will be very difficult to make a persuasive argument in favor of border restrictions without simultaneously tackling the question of what principles of equality require for those who are admitted into a state’s territory. These twin questions are typically segregated in philosophical work on immigration, but they are tied together in ways that are too often overlooked.

Keywords:   immigration, borders, permissibility, U.S. legal history, equality, territory

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