Three perspectives on the ethics of immigration: utilitarian, liberal egalitarian and libertarian
Todea, Virginia Diana
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The focal point of this dissertation is the recent discussion on the ethics of immigration. The main question considered is: “Should a state promote immigration?” Promoting immigration means allowing immigrants to enter inside and also offering them rights in view of treating them properly in the course of integration within the host communities. In answering this question, three perspectives are critically examined: utilitarian, liberal egalitarian and libertarian. In the first chapter I assess the utilitarian arguments on immigration and weigh the objections related to them. The core of this chapter represents the analysis of the consequences of immigration on the following categories: immigrants, native workers, home and host countries, with implications on issues such as national culture, labor market, entrepreneurship, capital flight, remittances and brain drain. In the second chapter, I discuss the liberal egalitarian arguments concerning immigration, the difficulties met in promoting the symmetry between the right of exit and right of entry. Issues discussed in this chapter include freedom of movement, asymmetry between exit and entry, and the cosmopolitan account of open borders. In the third chapter I present the libertarian position on immigration, reveal the gaps in the argumentation and the inconsistency of promoting closed borders within this framework. The main problems reveal a discussion on self-ownership and freedom maximization, the conflict between the collective consent and the individual’s decision in the case of immigration. The final conclusion argues that the moral principles presented so far for each framework can make us sustain open borders and promote immigration, even in the real world situations where immigration may have some negative effects.