Border-crossing: immigration law, racism and justified resistance
journal contributionposted 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.
- Social Sciences and Humanities
- International Relations, Politics and History