Can liberals defend a right to family migration?


Although states have often accorded privileges to family migration, some have argued that this is not consistent with liberal egalitarianism as it reflects a perfectionist bias in favour of a particular conception of the good and because it may involve citizens imposing unchosen costs on their compatriots. The latter concern has been behind the public justification offered by some governments for restricting the right to family migration to citizens with a moderately high income. Conditional on the assumption that states have the right to regulate migration policy, an assumption advanced here for the sake of argument, we argue that liberals can consistently endorse a right to family migration and that this extends to many families and relationships that states are currently reluctant to recognize.

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