Cities and Immigration: Should Cities Have Borders?

Mar 7, 2018, 4:30 pm4:30 pm
Marx 101


Event Description

Recent events in Europe and the U.S. have led urban leaders to ask: should cities have the power to set their own immigration policies?

European urban leaders have pushed back against immigration as migrants have settled in, and sometimes strained the resources of, select cities. Despite the anti-immigrant rhetoric on the federal level, urban leaders in the U.S. have suggested a mechanism of 'city based visas' to increase declining city populations.

Based on interviews conducted in the U.S. and Europe, this talk will analyze arguments for and against the establishment of a city-based immigration policy. It will argue that the shift from 'thinking like a state' to 'thinking like a city' influences the morality of these arguments, making it difficult to either justify or reject this novel policy. It will also make the moral case for cities to have open borders.

Avner de Shalit

Avner is the Max Kampelman Professor of Democracy and Human Rights at the department of political science, the Hebrew University. Since his D.Phil. in Oxford (1990) he has been working on environmental philosophy, urban political theory, and issues of poverty and inequality. He is the author of 8 books, among them Why Posterity Matters (Routledge), The Environment: Between Theory and Practice (Oxford UP), Disadvantage (Oxford UP, co-authored with Jonathan Wolff), The Spirit of Cities (Princeton UP, co-authored with Daniel Bell), and most recently Cities and Immigration (forthcoming). In all these works he has been applying his method of doing political philosophy, which he calls 'Public Reflective Equilibrium' and which begins with dozens of discussions of the topic he studies with the general public. In 2014 Avner was awarded the Rothschild Prize in the Social Sciences. In 2013 his co-authored (with Daniel Bell) book The Spirit of Cities, which was translated to Chinese,  won a prize, sponsored by, for being one of the ten most influential non-fiction books in that year in China.