This article challenges Kieran Oberman’s derivation of a right to immigrate from the right to internal movement, residence, and employment. His argument depends on a cantilever strategy, which finds it illogical to recognize one right without recognizing an analogous second right. This differs from a direct argument, which derives a right directly from an essential human interest, and an instrumental argument, which identifies one right as a means to protecting another right. The strength of a cantilever argument depends on the direct or instrumental foundations of the initial right and the aptness of the analogy between it and the new right that one seeks to establish. Oberman’s argument fails on both accounts. First, his defense of the initial right to internal movement, residence, and employment, although portrayed as a direct argument, actually rests on inapt cantilever analogies with other rights, such as freedom of speech or religion. Second, the overall cantilever argument for deriving the right to immigrate fails, because immigration across fiscally separate states is not analogous to movement, residence, and employment within a single, fiscally unified state. Instead, a right to travel and visit is the proper outcome of Oberman’s argument.
Ethics & Global Politics
Michael Rabinder James (2019) Can the right to internal movement, residence, and employment ground a right to immigrate?, Ethics & Global Politics, 12:2, 1571359, DOI: 10.1080/16544951.2019.1571359