The Rights of Irregular Migrants [Abstract]

Ethics & International Affairs, Volume 22.2 (Summer 2008)

Ethics & International Affairs

This article considers the question of what legal rights should be possessed by those who reside and work in a democratic state without the legal authorization of the state, given the background assumption that the state is morally entitled to exclude such migrants. I argue that irregular migrants are morally entitled to a wide range of legal rights, including basic human and civil rights, but also rights to wages, workplace protections, and even rights to public education for their children. In order for these rights to be realized in practice, I argue, states ought to create a firewall between those charged with protecting and enforcing these rights and those charged with enforcing immigration laws.

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