Political theorists have long debated the question of open borders. Do states have a right to exclude migrants from their territory? Is there a human right to immigrate? The focus has been on the external borders of states. Yet, in the forthcoming book Immigration and Freedom, Professor Chandran Kukathas, Chair in Political Theory and Head of the Department of Government at the London School of Economics, argues that political theorists must also consider internal border controls, such as restrictions on employers, landlords and universities. According to Kukathas, these internal controls do not just restrict the freedom of migrants, but of current citizens and residents too.
Kukathas has also written about border controls and freedom here. He has also written extensively on immigration, multiculturalism and freedom, for example in his book The Liberal Archipelago.
Italy is one of the key destinations for migrants coming to Europe, with many coming by boat from Libya. Now Italy is threatening to close its ports to stem the inflow of migrants and refugees. Italy wants more support from the rest of the EU and EU ministers met earlier this month to discuss. But what would it actually mean for Italy to close its ports? Are these threats a result of a country becoming overwhelmed, or is it mainly a change of politics? And what is the role of NGOs operating search and rescue to save people’s lives at sea?
We’re joined in this episode by Dr Simon McMahon, who is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University, and who has been part of a large project research migration to Europe over the Mediterranean, MEDMIG. Two previous episodes discuss the findings of that project: episodes 6 and 2. Simon McMahon’s research has looked at the situation in Italy and he has written a blog on ‘Italy’s bluff to close its ports‘. You can read more about his research here.