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Can States Resist Migration Blackmail while Protecting Migrants?

Dr. Daniel Sharp
Thursday, February 16, 2023, 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm

This seminar is planned as a hybrid event.  Registration is required for non-CEU members.

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Abstract | Migration blackmail occurs when one state threatens to ‘flood’ another state or states with migrants unless political or economic concessions are made. States may have legitimate interests in resisting migration blackmail. Migrants have interests in accessing international protection and avoiding harm. In some cases of blackmail, these goals seem to stand in tension. The conflict may thus generate an apparent dilemma for target states. The dilemma is that it seems there is no way for target states to effectively resist blackmail while respecting migrants’ legitimate interests in accessing protection. This paper explores how states may permissibly navigate this dilemma. After outlining the dilemma, I distinguish between preventative and reactive solutions. I suggest that states have reasons to build migration governance systems that minimize the threat of blackmail and minimal moral constraints rule out externalization and border fortification as preventative responses. I then argue that, since migrants’ interests in international protection generally trump states’ interest in blackmail avoidance, states are not permitted to adopt a ‘closed-border’ response to migration blackmail. I show, however, that this constraint leaves states more discretion for responding to migration blackmail than it might initially appear. I conclude by considering some objections and noting some important caveats. 


Bio | Daniel Sharp is a wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter (postdoc) at LMU at the Chair for Philosophy and Political Theory. His recent research concerns migration and citizenship. One project explores how current practices of governing migration and distributing citizenship create problematically inegalitarian social relationships. A second project is to offer a pluralist account of citizenship that is sensitive to the inegalitarian nature of actual citizenship regimes and explore how citizenship must be transformed to achieve its central normative functions. A third project concerns the ethics of migration diplomacy. This project explores how migration impacts interstate relations. His work has appeared in publications such as EthicsErgo, Pacific Philosophical QuarterlyCRISSPJournal of Applied Philosophy


Zoom Link:…

Meeting ID: 942 5206 2740
Passcode: 451148