Do States Have the Right to Exclude Immigrants?
Do States Have the Right to Exclude Immigrants?

States claim the right to pick and choose who can come to their country to live and work. They put up barriers and expose migrants to deadly journeys. Those who are lucky enough to survive are labelled as 'illegal' and find themselves vulnerable and unrepresented. Meanwhile, the international state system advantages people lucky enough to be born in rich countries and locks others into poor and often repressive ones.

In this book, Christopher Bertram skilfully weaves a lucid exposition of the debates in political philosophy with original insights to argue that measures that control human movement across borders must be justifiable to everyone. If states are to claim legitimacy, they need to work with other states and migrants themselves to create a migration regime that is fair not only to democratic electorates at home, but also to would-be and actual immigrants. Until justice prevails, states have no credible right to exclude and no-one has a duty to obey their immigration rules.

Bertram's analysis powerfully cuts through the unhelpful fog of political rhetoric that surrounds this most controversial of topics to clarify the moral and political issues at stake. It will be essential reading for students, scholars and general readers interested in the politics and ethics of migration.

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  • May 2018
  • 140 pages
  • 138 x 216 mm / 5 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $45.00
  • 9781509521951
  • Paperback $12.95
  • 9781509521968
  • Open eBook $12.95
  • 9781509521975
Table of Contents
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Migration Today and in History
  • Chapter 2: Justifying a Migration Regime from an Impartial Perspective
  • Chapter 3: Obligations of Individuals and States in an Unjust World
  • Concluding Thoughts
  • References
  • Notes
About the Author
Christopher Bertram is Professor of Social and Political Philosophy at the University of Bristol
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'Bertram's excellent book provides a lucid and succinct overview of the contemporary philosophical debates about immigration. Its length, accessible style, and real world examples will make it appealing to undergraduates and the educated public, and its distinctive perspective will make it a "must read" for anyone working in the field.'
Joseph H. Carens, University of Toronto

'This is a distinctive and immensely accessible contribution to the philosophical debate about immigration. Clearly articulated and punchily argued, Bertram builds the case against the status quo while highlighting the moral and political costs of the current global migration regime of (near) unilateral state discretion.' 
David Owen, University of Southampton
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