The moral community and immigration

Lawrence M. Mead

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In "Which American Dream Do You Mean?" David Stoll never justified his assumption that Guatemalans who want to immigrate to America have a moral claim on our attention. The "conversation" he describes really involves only Americans as only they are held responsible for immigration. Some advocates justify immigration on the basis of rights while others appeal to compassion, but both assign all responsibility to rich Americans and none to the sending societies. A huge moral asymmetry separates the West, which is assumed capable of achieving civic values from the non-West, which is not. Americans hunger for a more candid conversation about how to distribute the responsibility for immigration. That is essential to legitimizing immigration policy and preserving the civic character of American society.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)403-407
    Number of pages5
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - 2009


    • Compassion
    • Immigration
    • Moral responsibility
    • Rights

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • General Social Sciences


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