Justice and Temporary Labor Migration

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Temporary labor migration programs have been among the most controversial topics in discussions of immigration reform. They have been opposed by many, perhaps most, academics writing on immigration, by immigration reform activists, and by organized labor. This opposition has not been without some good reasons, as many historical temporary labor migration programs have led to significant injustice and abuse. However, in this paper I argue that a well-crafted temporary labor migration program is both compatible with liberal principles of justice and likely to be an important part of a sensible immigration policy for the near future, at least. I show how the many injustices and high potential for abuse of earlier programs may be avoided. I also show good reason to favor a well-crafted temporary labor migration program over either the more likely alternative outcome of officially tight borders (which would almost certainly maintain our current dependence on large-scale unauthorized immigration) and the much less likely option of nearly open borders. As increased labor migration of all sorts is an intrinsic part of increased economic globalization, it is especially important to craft guidelines for just temporary labor migration programs if we are to both gain the advantages of globalization and protect the rights of workers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-123
Number of pages29
JournalGeorgetown Immigration Law Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


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