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Border-crossing: immigration law, racism and justified resistance

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posted on 18.06.2021, 13:55 by Guy AitchisonGuy Aitchison
Aside from the case of refugees under international law, are non-citizen outsiders morally justified in unlawfully entering another state? Recent answers to this question, based on a purported right of necessity or civil disobedience, exclude many cases of justified border-crossing and fail to account for its distinctive political character. I argue that in certain non-humanitarian cases, unlawful border-crossing involves the exercise of a remedial moral right to resist the illegitimate exercise of coercive power. The case accepts, for the sake of argument, two conventional assumptions among defenders of immigration restrictions: that states have a ‘right to exclude’ and that migrants have a prima facie duty to respect borders. Nonetheless, where immigration law is racist or otherwise discriminatory, it violates the egalitarian standards at the core of any authority it can plausibly claim over outsiders. In such cases, it may be resisted even where the law is facially non-discriminatory.

History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • International Relations, Politics and History

Published in

Political Studies

Publisher

SAGE Publications

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Author

Publisher statement

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by SAGE Publications under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0). Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Acceptance date

17/06/2021

Publication date

2021-08-12

Copyright date

2021

ISSN

0032-3217

eISSN

1467-9248

Language

en

Depositor

Dr Guy Aitchison Cornish. Deposit date: 18 June 2021

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