Date of Award

Spring 5-4-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)



First Advisor

Christie J Hartley


This discussion looks at immigration through philosophical debates of democracy, coercion, and autonomy. There seems to be a fundamental contradiction between democratic state's border control and democratic legitimacy. First, I discuss the democratic legitimacy and the need for democratic justifications with the invasion of autonomy.Then, I discuss Arash Abizadeh's argument that border control is coercive and invades personal autonomy, and David Miller's response that border control does not amount to coercion, but is prevention. I conclude border control invades autonomy even if it is not coercive, and thus, democratic justifications are needed. Ultimately, I suggest that open borders should be encouraged because it is the better alternative to what is required of democratic justification for close borders.