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Helping Refugees Where They Are

Gerver, Mollie (2021) 'Helping Refugees Where They Are.' Ethics and International Affairs, 35 (4). pp. 563-580. ISSN 0892-6794

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Some policies are not politically feasible. In the context of refugees, many claim it is not politically feasible to start admitting significantly more refugees into wealthy countries. In particular, it is not feasible for advocates of refugees to successfully persuade policymakers to adopt such a policy. A recent book by Alexander Betts argues that advocates should instead focus on developing the economies of lower-income countries where most refugees reside. This review essay argues that current data does not yet establish whether Betts's approach is more feasible than increasing refugee admissions to wealthy states. There are good reasons to suppose increasing refugees’ admissions to wealthy states is politically feasible, if we account for the ways citizens in wealthy states are harmed when refugees are not admitted, and for the ways citizens are harmed when immigration enforcement prevents refugees from arriving. Drawing on recent books on immigration, this essay demonstrates that enforcement against refugees constrains citizens’ freedom, well-being, and ability to hold their government to account. Further research can establish if citizens’ interest in reducing enforcement can be translated into policy changes that significantly increase the number of refugees admitted. Such research is necessary before concluding that only helping refugees in lower-income countries is feasible.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: development; refugees; aid; immigration enforcement; migration
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2022 12:09
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 12:10

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