At a time when the immigration debate has gained momentum, it has become imperative that nations determine the best way forward in regard to handling immigrants and protecting the interests of their citizens. Immigrants are usually victims of circumstances, having been born in regions ravaged by such issues as warfare, hunger, and disease, among other crises. While nations must protect the welfare of their citizens by keeping out potential terrorists, they also have a moral obligation to the human race thus must consider the interests of these victims of circumstances, in this case, immigrants. nations should align their policies with the egalitarian theory, which states that humans have the freedom to pursue their individual projects, insofar as doing so does not interfere with others’ similar freedom. one’s country of birth is a function of luck, thus citizenship ought not to inhibit people from accessing other countries where they could potentially find the conditions that are favorable to life.
The Egalitarianism theory that is based on the concept of social equality and is founded on the need to prioritize equality for all. The approach favors the idea of treating people as equals, relating as equals, and effecting equality of social status. Moreover, the concept suggests that all people, regardless of age, gender, or social status, have equal fundamental worth and dignity and should, therefore, be equally considered morally (Moss 5). Social egalitarianism is particularly relevant in discussions on the manner in which people relate within a particular society. Social egalitarians seek to promote the statuses of different individuals within a society in order to eradicate such vices as poverty and various forms of discriminative treatment that occur in unequal societies (Moss 7). Egalitarians are categorized into two major distinct groups – telic and deontic. Telic egalitarianism believe that it is unjust that some people are better off than others, while Deontic egalitarians value equality as a means to an end. In spite of the differences between these groups, the concept of social equality has significance among all egalitarians.
The moral issue in question relates to immigration and the morality of opening borders. On the one hand, nations have a moral obligation to all humans, including migrants who are pushed by dire need to escape their poor countries and immigrate into wealthier nations (Cole 125). As such, closing political borders potentially limits victims of dire circumstances the access to basic needs, thus is a violation of the fundamental human rights. On the other hand, states have an obligation to their citizens, who may not favor the idea of letting in immigrants (Cole 123). The idea of protecting the interests of citizens is particularly relevant if immigrants have the potential to undermine security and political stability, among other issues. In the case of poor countries, letting in immigrants might also strain the few available resources. Based on these opposing factors, the issue of immigration has become contentious in the modern day.
The ethical theory is relevant to the issue of immigration because any decision made by a prospective recipient country has the potential to impact the welfare of both the migrants and the country’s citizens. According to egalitarianism, all people ought to be accorded equal rights indiscriminately (Williams 4). Therefore, regardless of a country’s income status, it should willingly distribute available resources to all, including immigrants (Williams 4). If all countries accepted this ideal, then immigration would cease to be problematic, as immigrants would have multiple choices when it comes to potential destinations. At the same time, rich countries would be willing to help the poor countries to deal with the challenges that would come with hosting immigrants. It is unlikely that adopting an egalitarian framework would undermine political stability, as all people within a country would have the freedom of speech – something that would be protected at all costs. Because immigrants would hardly outnumber citizens, it is also unlikely that they influence decision-making in the recipient country at the expense of culture and tradition. As such, an egalitarian approach is worth considering as nations pursue a solution to the immigration crisis.
The immigration crisis demands the attention of the different stakeholders in positions of power. Immigrants find themselves being victims of circumstances, having been born in regions ravaged by such issues as warfare, hunger, and disease, among other crises. The egalitarian theory is based on the concept of social equality and is founded on the need to prioritize equality for all. It is the ideal theory in the pursuit of a solution for the immigration crisis. Although nations are mandated to protect the interests of their citizens, they also have a mandate to the human race, and immigrants should not be considered as lesser beings. Following egalitarianism, political leaders ought to open borders for immigrants and grant them equal rights as citizens.
Cole, Phillip. “Taking Moral Equality Seriously: Egalitarianism and Immigration Controls.” Journal of International Political Theory 8.1-2 (2012): 121-134.
Moss, Jeremy. “Egalitarianism and the Value of Equality.” Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy vol. 3, no. 3, 2009, pp. 1-7
Williams, Lewis. “Border Control and Relational Egalitarianism.” Rerum Causae vol. 10, no. 1, 2019