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

47 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2006  

Michael Blake

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

Mathias Risse

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: July 2006

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.

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

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: https://ssrn.com/abstract=902383 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.902383

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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