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Is There a Human Right to Free Movement? Immigration and Original Ownership of the Earth


Michael Blake


University of Washington - Department of Philosophy & Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs

Mathias Risse


Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

July 2006

KSG Working Paper No. RWP06-012

Abstract:     
To what extent is a country allowed to regulate immigration into its territory, and thus to determine who lives there? Acts of immigration amount to changes in two distinct relationships. They amount to a change in political relationships, since the immigrant alters her political standing within one community and acquires a new political status in her country of admission. Immigration represents, however, also an alteration in physical relationship, since the individual acquires a relationship to a particular piece of territory, making a life for herself with the resources offered by a specific part of the earth. This last form of relationship, we contend, is worthy of independent examination from the standpoint of justice, and opening up that line of inquiry is what this study seeks to do. This inquiry begins from the relationship of people to property, and asks whether that relationship imposes independent moral constraints on immigration controls.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 47

Keywords: Ethics/Political Philosophy, Human Rights, International Affairs/Globalization, International Development, International Security, Political Science

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Date posted: September 13, 2006  

Suggested Citation

Blake, Michael and Risse, Mathias, Is There a Human Right to Free Movement? Immigration and Original Ownership of the Earth (July 2006). KSG Working Paper No. RWP06-012. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=902383 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.902383

Contact Information

Michael Blake
University of Washington - Department of Philosophy & Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs ( email )
Savery 331F, Box 353350
Seattle, WA 98195
United States
206-221-7859 (Phone)
206-685-8740 (Fax)
Mathias Risse (Contact Author)
Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-9811 (Phone)
617-495-4297 (Fax)
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