Journal of Applied Ethics and Philosophy;vol. 4


A Compromise Solution to the Immigration Problem : A Response to Michael Boylan

Kirsch, Julie E.

Permalink :
JaLCDOI : 10.14943/jaep.4.38


In Morality and Global Justice, Michael Boylan presents us with a set of solutions to some of the world’s most pressing moral issues. Boylan claims that his solutions are not utopian; instead, they are practical, workable policy recommendations that governments and other organizations should adopt. For the most part, Boylan is correct; there are no obviously insurmountable obstacles to implementing many of his recommendations. But, as he himself admits, his position on immigrants and refugees borders on the utopian (Boylan 2011, 204). In what follows, I will discuss two concerns that I have about his position. The first concern (1) is consequentialist: I fear that implementing a policy of open borders may lead to economic, environmental, and political consequences that are on balance undesirable. The second (2) is practical: even if American citizens have moral reasons for supporting a policy of open borders, they may have reasons of self-interest for rejecting it. If this is correct, then Boylan may have a difficult time garnering the support necessary to make the policy a reality.