Volume 30, Issue 1, Spring 2016
Oaxacan Transborder Communities and the Political Philosophy of Immigration
In this paper I argue that members of Oaxacan Indigenous “transborder communities” of Mexico and the United States are entitled to a freedom of movement right between these two countries. First, I explore the vital role that migration across the U.S.-Mexico border plays in maintaining Oaxacan transborder societal culture. Second, I explore the implications of Will Kymlicka’s views on collective rights for this phenomenon. On the one hand, Kymlicka’s argument that just states must protect the societal cultures of minority groups within their territories would seem to support such a right for Oaxacan “transmigrants.” On the other hand, his categorical distinction between “national minorities” and “voluntary migrants” cannot, as it stands, capture the lived experiences of Oaxacan transborder communities and similar transnational groups. However, I argue that there is a reasonable extension of Kymlicka’s view that can, indeed, account for the phenomenon of Oaxacan transborder communities by allowing for this freedom of movement right.