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Immigration, Association, and the Family

Matthew J. Lister

University of Denver Sturm College of Law

July 16, 2010

Law and Philosophy, Vol. 29, pp. 717-745, 2010
U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 10-24

In this paper I provide a philosophical analysis of family-based immigration. This type of immigration is of great importance, yet has received relatively little attention from philosophers and others doing normative work on immigration. As family-based immigration poses significant challenges for those seeking a comprehensive normative account of the limits of discretion that states should have in setting their own immigration policies, it is a topic that must be dealt with if we are to have a comprehensive account. In what follows I use the idea of freedom of association to show what is distinctive about family-based immigration and why it ought to have a privileged place in our discussion of the topic. I further show why this style of argument neither allows states to limit nearly all immigration nor requires them to have almost no limits on immigration. I conclude by showing that all states must allow some degree of family-based immigration, and that this is a duty owed not to “outsiders” seeking to enter, but rather to current citizens.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 30

Keywords: Immigrants, Kinship group, Relatives, Law and Society, Philosophy, Public Policy, Constitutional Rights, Rawls, Membership, Global Justice

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Date posted: July 18, 2010 ; Last revised: April 29, 2011

Suggested Citation

Lister, Matthew J., Immigration, Association, and the Family (July 16, 2010). Law and Philosophy, Vol. 29, pp. 717-745, 2010; U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 10-24. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1641346

Contact Information

Matthew J. Lister (Contact Author)
University of Denver Sturm College of Law ( email )
2255 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.du.edu/index.php/profile/matthew-lister
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