The moral dilemma of U.S. immigration policy: Open borders versus social justice?

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IMMIGRATION POLICY AS A MORAL DILEMMA How should we think about U.S. immigration policy from the standpoint of basic justice, especially distributive justice, which encompasses our obligations to the less well-off? Does a justifiable immigration policy take its bearings (in part) from the acknowledgment that we have special obligations to “our own” poor, our least well-off fellow citizens? Or, on the other hand, do our moral duties simply argue for attending to the interests of the least well-off persons in the world, giving no special weight to the interests of the least well-off Americans? As is clear from other chapters in this volume, there are reasons to believe that recent American immigration policy has had a deleterious impact on the distribution of income among American citizens. According to influential arguments – associated with George Borjas and others – by admitting large numbers of relatively poorly educated and low-skilled workers, we have increased competition for low-skilled jobs, lowering the wages of the poor and increasing the gap between rich and poor Americans. The high proportion of noncitizens among the poor may also lessen political support for social welfare policies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDebating Immigration
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780511804830
ISBN (Print)9780521875608
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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