Reconsidering the claim to family reunification in migration

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Title: Reconsidering the claim to family reunification in migration
Authors: Honohan, Iseult
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Date: Dec-2009
Abstract: At a time when entrance to and residence in western states is a scarce resource, a high proportion of legal immigration is based on family reunion. It has recently been suggested that, rather than giving priority to family members, the claims of refugees should be given at least equal consideration by discriminating among family applicants by restricting admission to the immediate or nuclear family. In this paper I focus on the question why we might or might not give family reunification a high priority in admission. I first review the arguments for giving priority in admission to family members from the point of view of citizens and denizens, the state, and incomers. These include: the intrinsic value of, and right to, family life, the possibility of integration, and the agent-specific nature of the obligation. I next examine some arguments we might consider for reducing family priority in migration, namely: the inheritance of privilege, the anachronistic nature of the family, the contemporary prevalence of transnational family relationships, and the multiplier effect of family reunification. I next address the questions whether and how it might be justifiable to discriminate among family members, and if so, on what basis? I ask if restricting family reunification to immediate family is culturally discriminatory, or may run counter to the reasons we respect family life. Finally I outline some sorts of changes in current family reunification policies that may be justified on the basis of these considerations.
Funding Details: Not applicable
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Political Studies Association
Copyright (published version): 2008 The author
Keywords: MigrationFamily
Subject LCSH: Emigration and immigration law
Refugees--Legal status, laws, etc.
Immigrant families
Refugee families
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9248.2008.00761.x
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Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Politics and International Relations Research Collection

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