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Social Theory and Practice

Volume 41, Issue 1, January 2015

Joseph Lampert
Pages 51-76

Democratic Inclusion and the Governance of Immigration

The standard view that democratic governance of immigration amounts to the self-rule of citizens to the exclusion of migrants stands in tension with the democratic logic of political inclusion suggested by the all-affected interests principle. However, while all who are affected by immigration and border control must be included in their governance, such inclusion claims must be differentiated according to the kinds of interests at stake if this principle is to preserve the democratic ideal of self-rule. In contrast to those who argue that the principle either requires a global demos or threatens to undermine stable democratic states, this article argues that the principle requires recognizing the interest people have in a viable democratic political order, and that territorial states are the contingent vehicle for this interest in contemporary circumstances. This insight provides a principled basis for differentiating the inclusion claims of citizens and potential immigrants. As members of democratic states, citizens are responsible for the decisions and actions of their state and hence for authorizing policies on immigration and border control, but they must do so via institutions that ensure accountability to potential immigrants on the basis of their affected interests.

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