New York University Public Law and Legal Theory Working Papers

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If states have a right to exclude outsiders from their territory, does this right derive from rights that individuals or informally organized communities might have had in a state of nature? May individuals or informally organized communities use force to drive outsiders away from their vicinity, even when the outsiders are not posing a threat to them, physically, or to their property? This paper defends the usefulness of asking such Lockean questions, because negative answers to them will shrink the space available for real-world defenses of immigration restrictions. It examines possible cultural and economic arguments for the putative right of individuals and informally organized communities to drive outsiders away, and concludes that such arguments do not succeed in establishing any such right.

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borders, community, culture, immigration, Locke, property, sovereignty