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Immigration Justice in closed and open borders in globalizing world

Social justice is not only limited to humanitarianism. Social justice provides basic principles of equity, equality, rights to each and every individual living in a society irrespective of any form of discrimination. It focuses on equitable distribution of resources independent on the status of a person. It refers to equal protection and improvement of the rich as well as the downtrodden sections of society. All living beings share the same planet without any discrimination and the borders are created by the people for their convenience which however cannot take away the basic rights of the individual.

Migration is the movement of people from one place to another in search of work or for better living conditions. Some people are of the opinion that migration has led to the end of globalisation whereas some believe it as a new beginning for the migrants to setup their new life.

Migration can be practiced in four kinds:
first is when a migrant moves from one state to another voluntarily, second is when the migrants are forced to move from one state to another, thirdly when a migrant voluntarily moves within the state and fourthly when the migrants are forced to move within the state. It has been observed that once a person becomes migrant he generally prefers to be a migrant.

The term ‘migrant worker’ has been defined in the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers act[1] which means a person who is or who has or has to be engaged in an activity remunerated by the state and the person is not a national of that state. Migrants move from one place to another majorly to live with their families, to do a job for their livelihood, sometimes migration also takes place due to the abuse of the rights of the migrants or due to the hostile environment which has been recently witnessed when India amended its Citizenship Act to protect the immigrants whose rights have been abused in their native states.

Another recent example which we have witnessed is during this pandemic which the world is facing where thousands of labours who had left home and migrated to earn their livelihood were seen migrating back to their native place due to the lockdown, lack of work and resources.

Pursuant to the existing circumstances States do have rights to keep away the migrants from entering to their state but for the states to restrict the migrants they need to have reasonable and justifiable reasons as also mentioned in the Universal Declaration of human rights[2] that all the human beings are born free with equal rights and duties to live with dignity having harmony and brotherhood towards each other.

Every individual of any State irrespective of nationality possess basic rights which includes right to life, liberty, freedom from inhuman behaviour, freedom against all forms of discrimination and exploitation, freedom from slavery, arbitrary arrest and detention. Though States have right to keep away the migrants from entering but it is required by the state to follow the international human rights obligation to protect the rights of migrants.

In a situation where the State does not allow immigrants from entering their state they will become forced stateless persons having no recognition, no family, no money and no religion which will definitely hamper the fundamental rights of these individuals. In ancient times emigration was a tough task than immigration, immigration was unhampered but today as the time changed emigration has turned out to be facile than immigration. Immigration is beneficial for both immigrants and the people of the native state and for national as well as international societies. Confining an individual and not letting it explore will limit the opportunities of that individual.

States do have the right to restrict the migrants entering on to their state but the reasons then needs to be just, like when the states find that the population of the migrants will outpace the land and the resources which is available and required for the defined number of population. The states try to keep away the migrants where it seems that it will adversely affect the culture of the inhabitants of that place or for the purpose of social security.

It can refrain migration of any citizen in its state. The states have a right to exclude the irregular migrants who perform arbitrary actions or ill-treatments like trafficking or smuggling. It is therefore suggested that each individual case of a minor must be seen individually in determining its status to improve the fate of the underprivileged.

One of the reasons as expressed by jurist Immanuel Kant and Hugo Grotius is that the prosperous countries are obliged to support the migrants for the proper distribution of justice so that the people in a state where resources are not adequate could avail the resources from the states where the resources are available in surplus. Some states consider the problem of immigration as more threat than the problems of poverty, climate change, hostile environment which are some major reasons because of which immigration occurs.

Immigration brings people from different cultures together through which new talent, technology, economic prosperity, diverse culture could be perceived which leads to better international cooperation where people of different states help the other state people to reside and to perform their activities with reasonable restrictions. The International covenant of civil and political rights [3]mentions that every individual has a right of self-determination where the people can determine their political, social, economic rights and cultural developments.

The international labour standards on migrant labour provides for fundamental principles for the protection of the migrant labours in employment internationally. The (UNCLOS) Laws of the sea assist the person who is lost or found in the sea to be rescued by a state even if the person is from other nationality.

Social security of the people internationally depends on the treaties ratified between the states. Immigration justice betwixt the global pandemic. has been another rampant crisis of the immigrants visible in the US whereby the immigrants were refrained from entering the US borders on the basis of decade old statute which states that for the concern of public health entry in the state could be restricted. Some of the other countries like Canada, European countries have also suspended the asylum applications.

Open border migration is the migration where the borders of the states are open and a person can conveniently migrate from one state to another whereas in close border migrations the states limit the migration of its people with some or no exceptions.

Open border justice:
Open border migration promotes cosmopolitan utilitarianism where states contract with each other and where the movements between the states are not restricted. Open border help the states to increase its economic prosperity through the contract of service between the states. For example when a labour contracts for service in another state he earns his money in that state and also pay a part of his earning as tax in the same state.

Open borders lead to utilitarianism which states about the greatest good of the greatest number of people. The restriction imposed on freedom of an individual to move freely creates disorganisation. It will become burdensome to the state to restrict the people in their boundaries.

The states like India, China where the population of the people living is more than the resources required for the living and in these circumstances if an obstacle is created in the migration of the individuals it would generate trouble for these states to fulfil even the basic requirements of its citizens. Through open borders as some population of the state gets migrated it becomes easier for the states to govern the reduced population.

For example when a labour of one state is hired in another state the labour has a right to move to the hired state and the state cannot control the individual’s right. Theorist Roathboard has stated that people will have rights of immigration where the migrants can enter the property of the native people if the private owners of the property are willing to accept them. It basically gives freedom to people to have consensual activities between the people of different states which lead to rise in the economy of the state.

When the borders of the states are open there exist a need of equality not only within the people of a state but equality even for the migrants. Equality is a right which every individual who is a citizen or not possess. It is through this principle that the migrants have confidence in the working of a state. Equality amongst people will help in the overall development of the economy.

Living in a democracy we have the people’s right. In a democratic state the will of the people is respected. In open borders a state cannot go against any migrant with states free will. A state cannot impose any random law on the migrants. In democracy we can observe how the rights of individuals are interlink in open borders.

Closed border justice:
In closed borders the states restrict migration of people. Miller expressed that close borders are appreciated if it provides for sufficient decent life to its people. The states in immigration fails to distinguish between the private rights of the people and the territorial rights of the state. The justifiability behind close border is that some states do not want to form association sometimes to preserve their culture. It has been many times seen that when large number of people migrate from one state to another there is a risk that the state in which they migrate may lose its own culture due to the large population of migrants. Safeguarding the traditional culture is one of the major reasons that people choose close borders.

Close borders are also supported due to the reason that the economy of the immigrating state might suffer economic losses as more people immigrate in a state the competition in working will increase also the labour will become cheap due to increase in the population with unchanged working opportunities. These measures could further lead to downfall of the morals of the native state and the economy. It also leads to distribution of the state benefits amongst the migrants.

The states should allow the immigrant state to make certain policies for the immigrants otherwise the prosperous states might soon lose its prosperity if large groups of people migrate to that state. States provide welfare schemes, insurance schemes to its citizens and so for proper and adequate distribution of resources to all the individual’s restrictions are necessary and so the state need to make policies in respect of payment of taxes by the immigrants and procedure to be followed by them. This can be said as one of the justification for close borders.

Close borders is also considered where there is political functioning as the citizen of a state elect those whom they have their confidence. Immigrants are the people who are newcomers to the state who doesn’t know the governing of the state and so there is no confidence or trust from either of the sides in initial period. Hence the liberal nationalist opines that the borders should be closed.

One of the vital reasons for having close border is the security of the state. There has been instance in the past like 9/11. In open border people are free to enter the states but it also raises the risk of security of the state. It is difficult to examine an illegal migrant as many people visit the states with different objects. The chances of terrorist attacks cannot be completely stopped but can be eradicated by controlling the number of immigrants in the state.

Migrants also possess the same human right like the citizens of a state, just because the migrants don’t have a specified residence they cannot be excluded by a state other than on a reasonable ground. They share the same land with the other people on this planet and any discrimination on the basis of race, caste, creed, sex, gender is strictly prohibited. Most of the migrants all their life contribute to the society by performing their work without violating any laws of the state.

States should try to accept the stateless legal migrants and protect their basic rights, being a migrant cannot become a punishment for an individual as sometimes it is not a choice but necessity to move from one place to another to earn a living. John Kennedy has also said that:
Everywhere immigrants have strengthened and enriched the fabric of American life.

A state provides individuals to safeguard the interest of its citizens in the same manner there are other universal rights which are applicable to all the individuals irrespective of their nationality like the convention of United Nations which are signed by various states to promote and propagate justice, fairness, equality, harmony amongst all the people living in a state.

  1. International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
  2. Universal Declaration of human rights
  3. International covenant of civil and political rights

    Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Mitisha Santosh Kotecha

    Awarded certificate of Excellence
    Authentication No: FB32775604765-02-0221

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