February 15, 2013
Immigration Article of the Day: Amnesty in Immigration: Forgetting, Forgiving, Freedom by Linda S. Bosniak
Amnesty in Immigration: Forgetting, Forgiving, Freedom by Linda S. Bosniak , Rutgers University School of Law, Camden January 30, 2013 Forthcoming, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy (CRISPP), Volume 16, No. 3 (2013) (Special Issue: The Margins of Citizenship)
Abstract: In many national settings, the politics of immigration are fought out by way of debates over `amnesty.’ Amnesty disputes are not confined to the immigration setting, of course; amnesty has been a contentious policy issue in a variety of contexts, from draft avoidance to tax evasion to massive human rights violations. In this article, I approach amnesty arguments as arguments about social accountability — about who is accountable, what accountability is for, and what accountability entails. Employing amnesty as an optic, I examine accountability questions which structure normative debates in liberal states over irregular immigration, with special attention to conceptions of collective and individual culpability embedded in the debates. Though substantially diagnostic, the paper concludes with a critical examination of the main strategy that liberal political and legal theorists have taken in advocating immigration amnesty or legalization: the argument that "time and ties" justify amnesty. I argue that this strategy is powerfully protective in some respects, but that it also condones and reproduces some of national citizenship’s marginalizing elements. As part of the discussion, I consider attendant debates over ethically realistic and idealistic approaches to political analysis.
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