Does Europe's history of migration and colonialism oblige states to open their borders to migrants today?

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Introduction This paper will attempt to define the current ethical and moral dilemmas posed by European immigration, scrutinise the historical factors that had led to the present situation and conclude whether European states have an ethical obligation to open their borders to migrants. In the first section of my essay, I give a brief historical overview on European colonialism to define the factors which had contributed to the formation of the present-day political landscape. In addition, I address the key questions of migration in Europe and compare various ethical arguments and theories. By taking a non-state centric egalitarian approach, I will argue for the moral obligation to keep borders open to immigrants. The consequences of European colonialism Colonialism is defined as the expansion of a nation’s sovereignty to the territory of other nations. Colonies are dominated through the establishment of administrational, financial and economical dependence and the imposement of socio-cultural structures on indigenous population. European colonialism began in the Age of discovery in the fifteenth century with European maritime powers exploring Africa, the Americas, Asia and Oceania in search of alternative trade routes. Spain and Portugal have both discovered and conquered new lands, building colonies through the massacre or subjugation of indigenous population. In the seventeenth century, England, France and the Netherlands had also established their colonial empires. This overseas expansion had given rise to the Columbian Exchange, the transportation products, goods and people (including slaves) between the „old” and the „new world”. These trade routes, as well as the new territories and labour force have largely contributed ... ... middle of paper ... ... and Hammar, T. (1999) Mechanisms of immigration control: a comparative analysis of European regulation policies. Berg 3PL • Düvell, F. (2006) Illegal immigration in Europe: beyond control? Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan • Geddes, A. (2000) Immigration and European integration: towards fortress Europe? Manchester University Press • Hopkinson, N. (1992) Migration into western Europe. London: HMSO • Ireland, P. R. (2004) Becoming Europe: immigration, intergration and the welfare state. University of Bittsburgh Press • Kerr, W. R. and Kerr, S. P. (2011) Economic impacts of immigration: a survey. Harvard Business School • Koopmans, R. (2005) Contested citizenship: immigration and cultural diversity in Europe. University of Minnesota Press • Vink, M. P. (2005) Limits of European citizenship: European integration and domestic immigration. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

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