Critical Essay on Michael Huemer's Article 'Is There a Right to Immigrate?'

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University of California, Santa Barbara
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In his article Is There a Right to Immigrate? Michael Huemer makes the argument that government has no right to exclude immigrants except for the situation where the immigrants are terrorists or fugitives. This is because there are common and noncriminal migrants, who flee their mother country for morally innocent reasons such as to escape economic hardship, persecution, or maybe to join the society that they would wish to live in for the latter part of their life. His primary point of the argument is that the government has no right to bar innocent migrants, and the thesis of Hummer’s article is that if the government could come up with ways of identifying the criminals, then the right of potential genuine immigrants could not be violated. This means that Hummer’s primary objective of the article is to develop an argument that addresses this particular issue. He intends to do this to negate the general belief held by most philosophers; associated with egalitarianism, utilitarianism, and contractarianism that are very controversial to form a secure basis of reasoning when it comes to a matter of immigrants (Huemer, 429-461). Huemer makes the assertion that immigrant is a violation of human rights and his argument is based on the following premises.

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The Premises

(Premise 1) The human rights agreement states that it is immoral to prevent human immigration. Immigration prevention is a prima facie rights violation. Preventing individuals to move to another country when they are running away from disasters such as economic hardship or persecution is a total violation of human rights.

(Premises 2) Reasons for restriction are given when it is possible to justify harmful coercion in order to defend an innocent individual from harm.

(Premises 3) Immigration and employment- Restricting immigrants from the nation to make sure the wage is not lowered are worse than making everyone have a job but receive certain lower wages.

(Premises 4) The State has a duty to its citizens and in this case, since Citizens have a right to migrate then the states should have clear policies that will allow it to accommodate immigrants.

(Premise 5) Since the government gives priority to the least advantaged members of the society, then it has to open its borders since the policy should apply internationally (Huemer 429-461).

(Premises 6) Though many argue that immigrants have to be thwarted to preserve the American culture, there is no clear evidence that allowing people to enter the country will erode their culture since American culture has shown to be real dominants worldwide.

(Premises 7) The belief that immigrants will flood America may not be true since many individuals are not willing to move away from their city or place of birth.

The Argumentative Steps: How to Prevent Immigration According to Huemer

Michael Huemer briefly surveys the scope of various philosophical debates over the righteousness of barring the immigrants as his first contentious step. He starts by laying a basis of how the other general arguments are controversial to be reliable as a platform for reasoning before putting down the reasons why these theories are invalid and then goes ahead to give reasons why immigration is a human right. Huemer does not negate the ideas of these philosophers, but he goes ahead to give a precise, intuitive evaluation of various actions that can be used to make a conclusion that preventing the immigrants from accessing their destination is a violation of human rights (Huemer, 429-461).

Huemer’s immigration argument is further developed in his second argumentative step where he recommends a new strategy to be adopted while dealing with immigrants. He orchestrates this, by first giving the reasons while thwarting one's movement while going to look for an essential commodity is a violation of human rights. He then tries to bring the point home by applying those ideas to see whether they are valid when applied to the issue of immigrants to conclude that preventing movements across different countries is a violation of human rights.

What is the third argument Huemer discusses? After laying down some reasons to justify that detaining individuals the right of movement across countries is a violation of human rights, his next step is to examine the benefits that these folks are denied. As a result of restricting movements across nations, genuine immigrants are denied an opportunity to access the basic commodities that they may have been searching for in their lives. According to him, some of the valuables that one is denied include security in case one was running away from prosecution and basic needs such as food in case one was running away from economic hardship (Huemer, 429-461).

Lastly, Hummers argues that the policies developed to prevent immigration; many people would agree with them but affects even those individuals who were not willing to support them in order to fit in the group. Additionally, restricted immigration is accepted to ensure there are adequate facilities that support the welfare of every individual who enters the nation.

The Conclusions of the Argument

(C1) In his contention, Hummers concludes that the traditional discourse, especially the academic literature, is intended to benefit the native-born citizens. The academic literature overlooks the rights of any potential immigrants and puts forward the interest of the native-born citizen.

(C2) Most of the citizens are against the opening of the border since a significant portion of the Western democratic country suffers from bias.

(C3) The immigration issue is one of today's outstanding issues since the way we feel bitter for our ancestor's biases during racism then the future generation might feel bitter for our actions of alienating the less advantaged.

Work Cited

Huemer, Michael. "Is There A Right To Immigrate? Social Theory and Practice 36.3 (2010): 429-461. Web.

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