Immigration and Original Ownership of the Earth
This chapter examines the relationship between immigration and collective ownership of the earth, and whether the physical aspect of immigration provides constraints on immigration policy. The fact that the earth is originally collectively owned must affect how communities can regulate access to what they occupy. The chapter first considers an account of relative over- and underuse of original resources before discussing illegal immigration in the United States, using a parallel to the civil law notion of “adverse possession” to argue that, under certain conditions, illegal immigration is morally unobjectionable. It then formulates conditions under which it would be reasonable for co-owners to refrain from entering certain regions, even though they would violate no duties of justice by doing so. This proposal is part of the overall approach to global justice that pluralist internationalism develops.
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