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More open borders for those left behind

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-379
Issue number2
Early online date5 Aug 2019
Accepted/In press19 Jun 2019
E-pub ahead of print5 Aug 2019
Published1 Apr 2020


King's Authors


Including the interests of those migrants leave behind in debates about migration and justice is a strategy which theorists who are sceptical of open borders have made use of, most notably in brain drain critiques of emigration. In rejecting this view, and in invoking an epistemic conception of liberalism, I claim that not only can the interests of those left behind be appealed to by defenders of more open borders. For at least two reasons such interests should be included. First, more open borders have a unique role to play in addressing the interests of those left behind via the transformative economic effects of remittances and the state signalling mechanism that migrant and remittance flows provide, both for wealthier states as they dispense foreign aid and for poorer states as they implement national development programmes. Second, more open borders are also compelling for those who are sceptical of immigration insofar as they help them identify the obligations of justice they may owe to the world’s poor and how these are best discharged; obligations whose fulfilment lessens the pressure to migrate from poorer to wealthier states over the long term.

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