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Immigration Justice

Peter Higgins

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The first book-length examination of immigrant admissions from a feminist philosophical perspective

What moral standards ought nation-states abide by when selecting immigration policies? Peter Higgins argues that immigration policies can only be judged by considering the inequalities that are produced by the institutions – such as gender, race and class – that constitute our social world.

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1. The Philosophical and Empirical Context
2. Nationalist Approaches to Immigration Justice
3. Cosmopolitan Approaches to Immigration Justice
4. The Priority of Disadvantage Principle
5. Immigration Justice: In Defense of the Priority of Disadvantage Principle
6. Admission, Exclusion, and Beyond: Which Immigration Policies Are Just?

About the Author

Peter Higgins is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Department Member in Women’s and Gender Studies at Eastern Michigan University. His research applies a feminist perspective to issues of global justice.


Immigration Justice contains an assortment of virtues. It offers a terrific overview of key positions in contemporary immigration philosophy. Higgins's picture of immigration justice is certainly innovative; he gives a circumscribed defense of closed borders that aims to respond to the needs of the most disadvantaged as opposed to the philosophically shaky claims of prescriptive nationalism. The PDP [Priority of Disadvantage Principle] is not only philosophically rich but also potentially useful for crafting a range of forward-looking immigration policies.

- Amy Reed-Sandoval, University of Texas at El Paso, Hypatia Reviews Online

Higgins urges us to consider the justice of immigration admissions policies from the perspective of those already unjustly disadvantaged. This offers an angle of vision on this issue that plays an important role in ordinary discussions but that has been unduly neglected in philosophical debates. The discussion is clear and lucid. This is an important contribution to contemporary debates about immigration admissions.

- Joseph H. Carens, University of Toronto

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