Being at Home in the World:
International Relocation (Not Open Borders)
by Sahar Akhtar
This paper explores the normative grounds for relocating to, or permanently
settling in, another state, and has two connected goals. First, it describes a
new way of understanding the moral significance of many common reasons for
international relocation by appealing to an underlying interest in pursuing a particular
way of life. Specifically, I argue that international relocation can often be
explained in terms of the direct or indirect pursuit of a set of norms, beliefs, and
values, in which particular opportunities (economic or otherwise) are embedded.
This interpretation builds off the work of some other migration rights proponents,
but argues that, in addition to the fact that the pursuit of one's choices can depend
on living in another state, the meaning and value of one's choices, along with
one's identity, can also depend on it. Though the research is nascent, I provide
empirical support for this understanding.