There is currently a hot political and legal debate on whether and why immigrants should be allowed to stay in the United States. But putting partisan politics and legal considerations aside for a moment: What is the right moral criterion to decide whether an immigrant should be allowed to stay in a liberal democratic country? Recently, many scholars have argued that legal citizenship cannot be the sole source of rights, and hence they have advocated for place-specific rights for immigrants. Should physical presence in a territory confer social and political rights on all those present? In this presentation, I propose that we take place seriously, rather than letting identity decide who has rights to stay. The talk shows that there are place-specific rights and duties. These comprise a level of morality that most of us intuitively recognize, but theorists routinely overlook. The talk then shows that if citizens want to do what is right, they need the cooperation of their neighbors. For this reason, the right thing to do to is to give legal rights to those who are present in a place.
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