The goal of the article is to provide an analysis of the various argumentative strategies deployed in philosophical discussions about immigration and, in light of the results of the analysis, to develop a comprehensive argumentative strategy against the deportation of a particular type of so- called irregular migrants (see below). I distinguish between four types of arguments about immigration within the philosophical literature: moral, juridical, political-pragmatic, political-theoretical, and offer an account of how these interact with one another within the context of discussions of immigration issues in the United States. I argue both that for any morally committed person or community, moral considerations ought not be subservient to pragmatic or juridical ones, but that any view about immigration that is to have the rhetorical potential to influence policy, must engage the juridical and political-pragmatic issues through the corresponding types of arguments. In a second section, I offer a criticism for the “open borders frame” for philosophical discussions of immigration. I note that in addition to the distinction between types of argument, there is a number of distinctions to be drawn within ‘immigration related cases,’ and then suggest that while the “open borders frame” may be useful for clarifying the moral and political theoretical aspects of immigration related issues, those issues are also clarified by discussions that center around particular cases, while the latter had the added benefit that they afford the opportunity for fine-grained discussion of juridical and political-pragmatic considerations in tandem with the political-theoretical and moral ones. Finally, I take the case of irregular migrants in the USA, and offer a moral and a pragmatic argument, as well as the rudiments of a juridical, statutes-of-limitation-based argument, against the ‘deportation’ of people who have entered US territories as dependents of their guardians and who have spent any ‘significant portion’ of their ‘formative years’ on US soil.
Arguing Against Deportation: The Case of Forced Unregistered Inhabitants of the United States