Skip to main content

The Ethics of Migration Policy Dilemmas

Migration policymaking sometimes involves hard ethical dilemmas: conflicts between two moral goals that cannot be easily resolved. In this article cluster, we bring together expert authors to investigate such hard ethical dilemmas. The aim is twofold: First, to describe empirically issues that pose true ethical dilemmas that cannot be easily resolved and that are not just a product of political feasibility constraints. Second, to analyze these dilemmas theoretically, from the perspective of normative political theory, providing action-guiding input that can be useful to policymakers and other stakeholders in the field.

This cluster thus aims to expand the focus of existing normative research on migration and immigration by adopting a ‘bottom-up’ approach that identifies specific policy challenges and dilemmas that migration policymakers and civil society actors in the migration field face but that have not yet been considered by mainstream normative political theorizing. The point of pursuing this research agenda is to counter the tendency to look for and implement easy but overly simplified political solutions to the complex challenges arising in domestic, inter- and transnational contexts of border and migration governance.

Accordingly, this cluster’s authors present ambitious and carefully argued interventions that discuss hard dilemmas in various areas of migration policymaking facing various actors and propose ways of dealing with them. The questions discussed range from the accommodation, integration, or removal of irregular migrants and failed asylum-seekers to fundamental tensions between migration justice and democratic stability.

More extensive discussion of further dilemmas can be found on the website of the “Ethics of Migration Policy Dilemmas” project:

Edited by Rainer Bauböck, Julia Mourão Permoser, Martin Ruhs and Lukas Schmid