How should Western democracies respond to the many millions of people who want to settle in their societies? Economists and human rights advocates tend to downplay the considerable cultural and demographic impact of immigration on host societies. Seeking to balance the rights of immigrants with the legitimate concerns of citizens, Strangers in Our Midst brings a bracing dose of realism to this debate. David Miller defends the right of democratic states to control their borders and decide upon the future size, shape, and cultural make-up of their populations.
“A cool dissection of some of the main moral issues surrounding immigration and worth reading for its introductory chapter alone. Moreover, unlike many progressive intellectuals, Miller gives due weight to the rights and preferences of existing citizens and does not believe an immigrant has an automatic right to enter a country…Full of balanced judgments and tragic dilemmas.”
—David Goodhart, Evening Standard
“A lean and judicious defense of national interest…In Miller’s view, controlling immigration is one way for a country to control its public expenditures, and such control is essential to democracy.”
—Kelefa Sanneh, New Yorker
This is a polished and carefully wrought argument—really, an extended series of arguments—on an urgent topic by one of the best political theorists in the world.
David Miller is one of the world’s leading political philosophers and an expert on immigration. Strangers in Our Midst is a lucid, succinct, and accessible statement of his views on this important topic.
A cool dissection of some of the main moral issues surrounding immigration and worth reading for its introductory chapter alone. Moreover, unlike many progressive intellectuals, Miller gives due weight to the rights and preferences of existing citizens and does not believe an immigrant has an automatic right to enter a country…Full of balanced judgments and tragic dilemmas.
[Miller’s] timely book Strangers in Our Midst: The Political Philosophy of Immigration may not be the first treatise of its kind, but it aims to be the first to combine such an abstract approach to the topic with such a strong dose of realism.
A lean and judicious defense of national interest…In Miller’s view, controlling immigration is one way for a country to control its public expenditures, and such control is essential to democracy.
Much like the title, this book proves to be provocative in its discussion of the philosophy of immigration. Miller provides a broad and deep inquiry into immigration issues found in the current political, social, and global culture that will likely stimulate thought and discourse around this important topic. Miller challenges readers to question the current systems that people are familiar with, examine values, and take a humanistic approach to the question of what is right. He then shepherds readers through analyzing such difficult questions as what is national identity, who should be allowed to leave, where should they be allowed to go, and under what conditions? Once they arrive, what are their rights, and how should they be treated? The author thoroughly examines these questions while thoughtfully considering legal theory, ethics, political philosophy, human rights issues, and economic considerations. Immigration, emigration, and refugee status continue to be hot topics in world news and national politics, and Miller’s book is successful in presenting differing views followed by careful analysis and thought-provoking arguments about immigration from a global perspective.
Miller is generous about refugees but makes a strong case for limiting migrant numbers. It is clear to him that refusing migrants entry on the basis of race is immoral and illegal, but he stoutly denies that capping numbers is inherently unjust…One of the strengths of his extremely lucid book is that it manages to state a strong moral and philosophical case against maximal cosmopolitanism and open borders without using this as any kind of excuse to ignore humanitarian catastrophe.
Strangers in Our Midst is not a handbook of political solutions, nor a roadmap to equitable immigration policies. Rather, it is a work of political and moral theory…Miller is most useful not in proposing answers to which everyone will subscribe, but in proposing questions in such a way and within such a context that there can be common moral ground among those who disagree on specifics, and thus an improved prospect of progress toward workable and effective solutions.
- 240 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
From this author
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