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This chapter seeks to rehabilitate the reputation of birthright citizenship. It explains why assigning citizenship on the basis of birth is not only an acceptable procedure but indeed one that is morally required in a liberal democratic state. It illustrates that the fundamental problem with respect to the relationship between citizenship on the one hand and international inequality and constraints on human freedom on the other is not that individuals are given an initial citizenship at birth, but rather that they are not free to change that citizenship later by moving to another state and taking up its citizenship if they wish to do so. The central claim here is that justice requires that contemporary liberal democratic states grant citizenship at birth to the descendants of settled immigrants.


Institute for Social Justice

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Book Chapter

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