Human rights and liberal values : Can religion-targeted immigration bans be justified?
Paytas, Tyler. (2021). Human rights and liberal values : Can religion-targeted immigration bans be justified? Ethics & Global Politics. 14(2), pp. 65-74. https://doi.org/10.1080/16544951.2021.1926085
In Justice for People on the Move (2020), Gillian Brock argues that immigration bans targeting religions run afoul of international human rights agreements and practices concerning equal protection under the law, freedom of conscience, and freedom of religion. Religion-targeted bans are also said to violate ethical requirements for legitimacy by not treating immigration applicants fairly and signalling the acceptability of hatred and intolerance. Brock centres her discussion around the example of the Trump administration’s 2017 Muslim ban, for which she notes additional problems such as the ban’s being motivated by dubious empirical assumptions about the risk of terrorism. I raise two challenges for Brock’s argument. I begin by asking whether banning the immigration of individuals from certain Muslim majority countries could be justified on the grounds that a large portion of the population in those countries appear to reject core liberal values such as the equal rights of women and homosexuals. This leads to my primary challenge, which concerns the practice of treating religion as a morally protected category such that discrimination based on religion is inherently impermissible. I argue that religions should be viewed as more akin to political ideologies than to morally arbitrary categories like race and sex, and that if a given religion is genuinely harmful to liberal values, an immigration ban could in principle be compatible with respect for human rights.
|Keywords||immigration ban; human rights; Islam; Trump|
|Journal||Ethics & Global Politics|
|Journal citation||14 (2), pp. 65-74|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||https://doi.org/10.1080/16544951.2021.1926085|
|Open access||Published as ‘gold’ (paid) open access|
|Research or scholarly||Research|
File Access Level
|Online||27 May 2021|
|Publication process dates|
|Accepted||01 May 2021|
|Deposited||25 May 2022|
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