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Print Price: $58.50

416 pp.
6.125" x 9.25"


Publication date:
October 2013

Imprint: OUP US

The Ethics of Immigration

Joseph Carens

Series : Oxford Political Theory

In The Ethics of Immigration, Joseph Carens synthesizes a lifetime of work to explore and illuminates one of the most pressing issues of our time. Immigration poses practical problems for western democracies and also challenges the ways in which people in democracies think about citizenship and belonging, about rights and responsibilities, and about freedom and equality.

Carens begins by focusing on current immigration controversies in North America and Europe about access to citizenship, the integration of immigrants, temporary workers, irregular migrants and the admission of family members and refugees. Working within the moral framework provided by liberal democratic values, he argues that some of the practices of democratic states in these areas are morally defensible, while others need to be reformed. In the last part of the book he moves beyond the currently feasible to ask questions about immigration from a more fundamental perspective. He argues that democratic values of freedom and equality ultimately entail a commitment to open borders. Only in a world of open borders, he contends, will we live up to our most basic principles.

Many will not agree with some of Carens' claims, especially his controversial conclusion, but none will be able to dismiss his views lightly. Powerfully argued by one of the world's leading political philosophers on the issue, The Ethics of Immigration is a landmark work on one of the most important global social trends of our era.

Readership : Suitable for students and scholars of political theory, political community, and immigration policy.

1. Introduction: Mapping the Ethics of Immigration
Part I: Who Belongs?
2. Birthright Citizenship
3. Naturalization
4. Beyond Legal Citizenship to Inclusion
5. Permanent Residents
6. Temporary Workers
7. Irregular Migrants
8. The Theory of Social Membership
Part II: Who Should Get In?
9. Ordinary Admissions
10. Refugees
11. The Case for Open Borders
12. The Claims of Community
13. Conclusion
Appendix: Presuppositions and Political Theory

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Joseph H. Carens, Ph.D., is Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Culture, Citizenship, and Community, which won the 2002 C. B. Macpherson Award, and of Equality, Moral Incentives and the Market. He has written for the Boston Review, Political Theory, Journal of Political Philosophy, and many other journals.

Making Sense in the Social Sciences - Margot Northey, Lorne Tepperman and Patrizia Albanese
Debating the Ethics of Immigration - Christopher Heath Wellman and Phillip Cole
Americans in Waiting - Hiroshi Motomura

Special Features

  • Combines timely discussion of a hot-button issue with broader ethical considerations around justice and equality.