Would you reject or support David Miller’s grounds for limiting immigration?
In his 2005 “Immigration: The Case of Limits” paper, David Miller argues in favor of the right for countries to limit immigration. He replies to defenders of open borders and gives conditions for morally acceptable immigration policies.
Most importantly, he offers two reasons for nation-states to limit the flux of incoming long-term residents (refugees are thus not part of our discussion) to their territories. The first one is related to the need for nation-states to control their public culture and the second one to the need to control the population size, both globally and nationally.
I argue in this paper that states are indeed justified…show more content… On the global level, Miller argues that
“a viable population policy at the global level requires each state to be responsible for stabilizing, or even possibly reducing, its population over time, and this is going to be impossible to achieve if there are no restrictions on the movement of people between states” (Miller 2005: 201).
He takes the example of China and its famous “one child per household” policy: if China could, in Miller’s own words, “export” its population, there would be no point for China to implement such a policy. So other countries should be able to close their borders to Chinese citizens so that China has an incentive to pursue its policy. Therefore, the possibility for countries to restrict immigration is necessary to be able to control the size of the global population, which is obviously of interest since the resources of the Earth are limited. What I find problematic with this argument is that it puts the burden of controlling the population growth of country A on the shoulders of country B. It is strange to argue that all possible countries of destinations for potential Chinese immigrants should close their borders so that China implements a policy that eventually benefits the global interest of reducing world…show more content… Therefore, public cultures have to be protected. Now, since immigrants enter a society with their own values, absorb part of the existing values and change the public culture in various ways, the issue of immigration is relevant to the protection of public culture. A country may thus limit the flow of immigration, so that the new comers and the public culture can appropriately adapt to the new changes. Note that a country may not stop immigration, because public culture’s change is a natural phenomenon, cultures always change anyway. The point is that the nation-state has an interest in controlling its public culture, without being rigid about it, to keep a form of continuity in it. The political judgment made by the state as to what policy of immigration is appropriate to the public culture depends on empirical cases, but it could be to limit