Freedom of Association is Not the Answer
In her study, Fine (2010) analyzes the premises underlying the concept of liberal principles of exclusion. The author bases her article on the investigation of Christopher Heath Wellman’s article, “Immigration and Freedom of Association.” Fine (2010) has summarized Wellman’s arguments on the states’ freedom to associate as the basis for their right to exclude. Further, Fine (2010) suggests a critique of Wellman’s claims and, finally, rejects the idea that the right to exclude others from the state’s territory cannot be justified only by the appeal to freedom of association.
Fine (2010) notes that Wellman has based the conclusion about the right to exclude potential immigrants on two ideas. Firstly, Wellman argues that there is a “prima facie case” for the state’s exclusion right (as cited in Fine, 2010, p. 340). Secondly, Wellman considers that the potentially contradictory “egalitarian” and “libertarian” considerations cannot dominate the possible right to exclude (as cited in Fine, 2010, p. 340). Fine (2010) offers three ways to renounce Wellman’s position on the states’ right to exclude. The first objection concerns the abuse of others, the second is related to the state’s distinctiveness, and the third is contingent on the lack of justification for the territorial rights of the state.
Overall, it is possible to summarize Wellman’s opinion as follows: states possess the right to exclude potential immigrants due to their freedom of association. However, Fine (2010) argues that such an argument is not valid or fair. The scholar is convinced that there cannot possibly exist a clear presumption in the approval of the state’s freedom to associate. Fine (2010) grounds her argument on the position that the exclusion of a person from the state already presumes the possibility of harming the interests and rights of others.
In his article, Miller (2015) outlines three major causes of the difficulty of controlling immigration. The first reason is the growing number of individuals from developing states who want to enter the democratic ones to enhance their material condition or avoid civil war or poverty in their native country. The second rationale is the unwillingness of citizens from democratic countries to welcome large waves of new immigrants. Finally, the third explanation is that the governments’ ability to control the progress of immigration is reduced (Miller, 2015). Hence, the scholar argues that it is of utmost importance to settle a defensive policy for choosing which of the people who want to enter the country can be admitted and under what circumstances.
Miller (2015) singles out three premises for the suggested policy. The first assumption is that there is no such human right as the right to immigrate. Hence, when an individual is not allowed to enter some state, his or her human rights are not breached. The second explanation is that democratic states can legally frame their immigration policies contingent on their national priorities and purposes, including environmental, economic, humanitarian, and cultural ones. Thirdly, according to Miller (2015), every person is restricted by the so-called “weak cosmopolitan premise” (p. 3). This premise presupposes that each potential immigrant is characterized by equal moral consideration when states or people are deciding whether to accept them or not. Miller (2015) is convinced that people from the category of refugees should have priority over those from the economic migrant group. Also, the scholar argues that particularity claimants should have priority over all the other potential immigrants within each of the categories. The author suggests that whereas any state can refuse one from immigrating, they still should analyze each claimant’s story carefully to make a valid decision.
Miller, D. (2015). Selecting immigrants. Web.
Fine, S. (2010). Freedom of association is not the answer. Ethics, 120, 338-356.