Drew Thompson on Zero Tolerance Migration Policy
Graduate student Drew Thompson wrote an article for the Ethics and International Affairs Journal: “The Zero Tolerance Migration Policy: Two Moral Objections.” In the article, Thompson discusses the Trump administration’s policy that allows migrant children to be separated from their parents:
Ethical debates about migration concern a number of reasonable disagreements over whether—and the extent to which—political communities have the right to enforce their borders. What is hardly ever in doubt, even among those who support the “right to exclude” (at least those who defend the right on moral terms), is that there are limits to a political community’s exercise of this right: states cannot use force against those seeking asylum or basic human rights protection, and some means of policing borders are morally unacceptable.
Although I am skeptical of arguments in defense of the right to exclude, here, I will assume that a convincing argument can be given. On this assumption, I will evaluate the Trump administration’s current zero-tolerance migration policy, which entails the separation of migrant children from their parents. I raise two moral objections to the policy, though this is certainly not an exhaustive list. First, I argue that the policy interferes with the United States’ duties to foreigners suffering human rights deprivations. Secondly, I argue that the policy—subjecting children to trauma as a means of deterrence—is an impermissible means of enforcing what may be an otherwise legitimate goal. The ends do not always justify the means, especially when children are involved.
Read the entire article on the Ethics and International Affairs website.