Latinx Philosophy and the Ethics of Migration

Mendoza, José Jorge. “Latinx Philosophy and the Ethics of Migration.” In Latin American and Latinx Philosophy: A Collaborative Introduction, edited by Robert Eli Sanchez, 198-219. New York, NY: Routledge, 2019.

This essay argues that Latinx philosophers are not only already providing important and original contributions to standard open-borders debates, but also changing the very nature of the ethics of migration. In making this case, the essay is divided into two parts. The first summarizes some of the important and original contributions of Latinx philosophers to the standard open-borders debate. Among the highlights are Jorge M. Valadez’s “conditional legitimacy of states” argument; José-Antonio Orosco’s communitarian-based argument for a more liberalized admissions policy; Javier S. Hidalgo’s claim that people have a moral right (and often an obligation) to disobey immigration laws; J. Angelo Corlett’s defense of immigration restrictions on grounds that such restrictions serve to protect Indigenous people’s sovereignty and rightful claims to territory; and Amy Reed-Sandoval’s freedom of movement argument based on the collective right of trans-border communities. The second section outlines four ways Latinx philosophers have pushed discussions within the ethics of migration beyond the standard open-borders debate. First, they have made persuasive arguments about why we ought to reject, or at least be suspicious of, approaches to migration justice that begin by assuming the legitimacy of states. Second, they argue that the issue of enforcement has been overlooked in standard open-borders debates. Third, they argue that philosophers must not avoid dealing with the social (as opposed to merely juridical) implications of labeling people “illegal” or “anchor babies.” Fourth, they show how current debates over the ethics of migration are too Euro- or Anglo-centric and therefore could benefit from the inclusion of non-European and non-Anglo voices.

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