Amnesty in Immigration: Forgetting, Forgiving, Freedom
Linda S. Bosniak
Rutgers University School of Law, Camden
January 30, 2013
Forthcoming, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy (CRISPP), Volume 16, No. 3 (2013) (Special Issue: The Margins of Citizenship)
Whether or not to grant “amnesty” has been a contentious policy issue in a variety of settings, from human rights violations to tax evasion, from draft avoidance to library fines and pitbull ownership. These days, the idea of amnesty has come to structure many of our debates over unauthorized immigration. In all of these settings, amnesty’s meaning is often treated as self-evident, but in fact, it signifies in a variety of directions. The idea of amnesty contains constitutive aspects linked to erasure, to pardon and to freedom. Talk of amnesty may be intended to invoke one or more of these frameworks, and may be perceived according to one or more of these understandings; confusions abound, though they are not often acknowledged. Always, arguments over amnesty implicate fundamental questions about accountability for some sort of social rupture or wrongdoing - questions about who is accountable, what accountability is for, and what accountability entails. Yet different conceptions of amnesty produce divergent approaches to these questions.
In this article, I employ amnesty as an optic to examine the accountability questions which structure normative debates in liberal states over irregular immigration. I distinguish among conceptions of amnesty emphasizing (what I term) forgiving-and-forgetting, administrative-reset, and vindication. The latter part of the essay examines the difficulties involved in developing an account of amnesty in which the irregular immigrant is vindicated rather than penalized, pardoned, or abided. I suggest that imagining such a vindicatory account is desirable, and try to begin to sketch out how it might be articulated.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 22
Keywords: Accountability, Immigration, Citizenship, Marginality, Apology, Vindication, Forgiveness, Ethical realism/idealismAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: February 1, 2013 ; Last revised: March 1, 2013
© 2013 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This page was processed by apollo2 in 1.094 seconds