On the Morality of Immigration

13 Pages Posted: 13 May 2008

See all articles by Mathias Risse

Mathias Risse

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: February 2008


My goal here is twofold: First, I wish to make a plea for the relevance of moral considerations in debates about immigration. Too often, immigration debates are conducted solely from the standpoint of "what is good for us," without regard for the justifiability of immigration policies to those excluded. Second, I wish to offer a standpoint that demonstrates why one should think of immigration as a moral problem that must be considered in the context of global justice. More specifically, I will argue that the earth belongs to humanity in common and that this matters for assessing immigration policy. The case I will be particularly interested in is immigration into the United States, where immigration policy continues to be a hotly debated topic. The approach of this paper implies that illegal immigrants should be naturalized and more widespread immigration should be permitted. However, that discussion takes the form of a case study: the relevant considerations apply generally.

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

Suggested Citation

Risse, Mathias, On the Morality of Immigration (February 2008). HKS Working Paper No. RWP08-007, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1124296 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1124296

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)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics