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Center for Practical and Professional Ethics

Fall Ethics Symposium

The Ethics of Immigration
The Symposium will be a full day event, scheduled for Monday, October 23rd, 2006. It will be held at Sacramento State University, in the Hinde Auditorium of the University Union. All specified room locations are in the University Union.

Official Program 
The Ethics of Immigration
Monday, October 23 rd , 2006 
8:00-8:30am Pre-conference refreshments, Lobby Suite
8:30-9:00am Hinde Auditorium (Overflow room with live CCTV feed, Orchard Suite)
Opening Welcome
CPPE Director Christina Bellon
Sacramento State President Alexander Gonzalez
Cosumnes River College President Francisco Rodriguez
Dr. Richard Schubert, Philosophy Cosumnes River College, Institutional Co-Sponsor 

9:00-12:00 Hinde Auditorium (Overflow room with live CCTV feed, Orchard Suite)
First Session: 

1. Speaker: Kevin Johnson, Associate Dean and Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law and Chicana/o Studies, University of California , Davis 
"The End of Borders: Why America Needs to Eliminate Its Borders and Rethink Immigration Law" 
Commentator: Sharon Barrios, Political Science, California State University Chico 
2. Speaker: Howard F. Chang, University of Pennsylvania Law School 
"Cultural Communities in a Global Labor Market: Immigration Restrictions as Residential Segregation"
Commentator: Bill Hing, Asian American Studies and School of Law, University of California, Davis. 

12:00-1:30pm Lunch Break 

1:30-4:30pm Hinde Auditorium (Overflow room with live CCTV feed, Orchard Suite)
Second Session: 

3. Speaker: James Sobredo, Ethnic Studies, Sacramento State University 
"Restricting “Injuns” and “Orientals”: Racializing Immigrants and Colonial Subjects in the Rising American Empire"
Commentator: Carlos Sanchez, Philosophy, San Jose State University 
4. Speaker: Shelley Wilcox, Philosophy, Temple University 
" Immigrant Admissions and Globalized Relations of Harm"
Commentator: Troy Jollimore, Philosophy, California State University Chico 

4:30-6:30pm Reception, Redwood Room 

Speakers List (including abstracts) 
Howard F. Chang 
Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School 
Title Cultural Communities in a Global Labor Market: Immigration Restrictions as Residential Segregation 
Abstract Economists recognize that nations can gain from trade through not only the free movement of goods across national boundaries but also the free movement of services, capital, and labor across national boundaries. Despite the presumption that economic theory raises in favor of international labor mobility, the nations of the world maintain restrictions on immigration and show little inclination to liberalize these barriers significantly. Michael Walzer defends immigration restrictions as policies necessary to maintain distinct cultural communities and rejects the alternative of voluntary residential segregation at the local level. I argue that we should instead prefer voluntary segregation at the local level over segregation mandated by the government at the national level. Segregation at the local level allows individuals to enjoy the benefits of living in a community matching their preferences while still enjoying access to labor markets in other communities nearby. The type of segregation that Walzer defends, enforced at the national level through immigration restrictions, cuts workers off from valuable employment opportunities. First, I present a critique of Walzer's claims from an economic perspective. I take the maximization of global economic welfare to be the appropriate objective, then explore whether the value of distinctive cultural communities can justify immigration restrictions. Second, I present a moral critique from a liberal perspective. I argue that even if immigration restrictions satisfy the preferences of incumbent residents for more extensive segregation than voluntary segregation can provide, this effect cannot justify immigration restrictions in a society committed to liberal ideals. 

Kevin Johnson
Associate Dean and Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law and Chicana/o Studies 
University of California , Davis 
Title The End of Borders: Why America Needs to Eliminate Its Borders and Rethink Immigration Law 
Abstract U.S. immigration law is founded on the idea that it is permissible, desirable, and necessary to restrict immigration into the United States and to treat a border as a barrier to entry rather than as a port of entry. Seeking to re-imagine the meaning and significance of the international border, my presentation, based on a forthcoming book, attempts to articulate arguments for eliminating the border as a legal construct that impedes the movement of people into this country.  Any serious mention of the taboo subject of "open borders" long has been the political kiss of death for serious immigration reformers.  Policymakers (1) readily accept without serious question the idea that the United States can restrict immigration; and (2) fail to consider whether immigration restrictions can be effectively enforced.   More open migration policies deserve fuller analysis. Looking beyond borders in considering the treatment of immigrants, this talk offers an alternative vision of how the U.S. borders might be reconfigured.  This talk outlines the moral, economic, and policy arguments for open borders. Importantly, liberalizing migration through an open borders policy would recognize that the enforcement of closed borders cannot stifle the strong, perhaps irresistible, economic, social, and political pressures that fuel international migration.  The talk also addresses the concern that open borders will result in a flood of immigrants to the United States .   Importantly, free movement within the United States generally has not led to mass migrations, although significant economic, political, and social disparities exist between the various states. Finally, open borders are entirely consistent with efforts to prevent terrorism that have dominated immigration enforcement since the events of September 11, 2001.  More liberal migration would allow for full attention to be paid to the true dangers to public safety and national security. 

James Sobredo
Associate Professor, Ethnic Studies
Sacramento State University
Title "Restricting “Injuns” and “Orientals”: Racializing Immigrants and Colonial Subjects in the Rising American Empire" 
Abstract America's entrance into the ranks of world superpower occurred just over 100 years ago when Commodore George Dewey acted on the secret orders of President William McKinley to attack the Philippines...should war breakout between the United States and Spain. Ironically, it was events in Cuba—a place halfway around the world from the Philippines—that precipitated the 1898 Spanish-American War. The strategic goal of the surprise attack on the Philippines was to secure ports and markets in Asia. Defeating Spain was fairly easy militarily, thanks to a modernized US military, but defeating the Filipino “insurrectos” who waged a guerilla war against American occupational forces proved more costly and longer than the war against Spain. When it came time for the US government to decide the legal status of the Philippines, in 1902 the US Supreme Court decided that Filipinos had the same legal status as American Indians. Furthermore, the Court introduced the category “national” to apply to the newly acquired people of the Philippines. This presentation examines the legal and philosophical issues in the construction of the category “national.” I shall critically analyze and discuss some of the legal and ethical arguments against the category “national”—for example, four Supreme Court Justices dissented strongly against the majority opinion.  I shall also argue that race placed a crucial role in the construction of national. Granting Filipinos the legal status of national led to an unforeseen consequence of unrestricted immigration from the Philippines, which alarmed the moral and social sensibilities of white Americans in the early 1930s. I shall argue that changing the legal status of Filipinos from being like “Injuns” to being “Orientals” proved the convenient legal solution in stopping the “third Asiatic invasion.” 

Shelley Wilcox 
Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy 
Temple University 
Title Immigrant Admissions and Globalized Relations of Harm 
Abstract  Proponents of the “open borders” position on immigration typically defend it with a version of the “freedom of movement” argument. According to this argument, freedom of international movement is a basic human right. The argument concludes that since the right to freedom of international movement includes the right to immigrate to the country of one's choosing, states may not legitimately prohibit immigration. This paper rejects the freedom of movement argument on the grounds that it fails to provide adequate normative guidance concerning immigration in the non-ideal world. Presently, many more needy immigrants desperately seek entry into affluent, Western states than those societies could reasonably admit, and a principled means for determining which prospective immigrants have the strongest moral claims to admission is urgently needed. Yet the freedom of movement argument cannot provide a means for establishing admissions priorities because it construes the right to immigrate strictly as a universal human right. Moreover, by focusing solely on the right to freedom of international movement, the argument ignores alternative grounds for admission, grounds that may entail particularly strong moral claims. This paper develops an alternative admissions-guiding principle that assigns strong moral claims to admission to certain prospective immigrants based on a global extension of the harm principle. According to this admissions principle, a society must admit prospective immigrants if admission is necessary either to prevent the society from harming those immigrants or to compensate immigrants whom the society has already harmed. States must fulfill these duties before they may legitimately use immigrant admissions policy in service of other national goals, including the advancement of economic interests. Thus, my proposed principle provides a plausible means for establishing admissions priorities in the non-ideal world.