Do states have the right to exclude immigrants?

Public and policy debates about immigration in most parts of the world are pursued on the assumption that states have the right to exclude immigrants, if they so wish, perhaps with the exception of refugees. The main questions are how states can manage migration – who and how many immigrants a state should let in. But do states really have this right, morally, to exclude others from settling on their territory? In his new book, Do States Have the Right to Exclude Immigrants?, Christopher Bertram, Professor in Social and Political Philosophy at the University of Bristol, argues that in most cases states do not have such a right. Instead, Bertram suggests, migration should be governed globally and states would have to justify to this global governance entity any restrictions they wanted to place on movement.

In this episode, Bertram discusses his book, its methodology and central argument. He has also developed some of these arguments here and a short summary here.

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