The Dilemmas of Transnational Mobility
Irregular migration occurs because states make rules about who can legally cross their borders. Under conditions of globalisation, these rules promote transnational economic activity, but limit who can work and stay. In this ﬁnal chapter, we turn to the justiﬁcation of these restrictions, and ask which migration controls are consistent with principles of justice. Political philosophy has not been much concerned with issues of migration; theories of distributive justice have been mainly about relationships among members of political societies, or sometimes between societies. Exceptions to this rule are Barry and Goodin (1992) and Cole (2000). Our research study of irregular migrants in the UK raised a number of questions about the justice of migration rules. Polish interviewees argued that the only fair principle was open borders, or at least an extension of the EU rules of free movement to include themselves. Migrants from Turkey said that the controls on their migration were part of a transnational system of economic and political oppression that could be countered only by transnational trade unions and political movements. Both views implied that issues of justice were at stake, and that irregular migration challenged unjust rules. In the ﬁrst chapter of this book, we identiﬁed a paradox of the kind of economic analysis we were undertaking. From the perspective of welfare economics, questions about distributions concerned the members of a polity. Thus, for instance, using either the Pareto or Kaldor–Hicks criteria of distributive optimality, decisions about whether to allow inward migration to...
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