Acton Institute Powerblog

The Right to Migrate

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Dr. Andrew Yuengert, the John and Francis Duggan Professor of Economics at Seaver College, Pepperdine University, discussed the various economic and moral dimensions of the critically important immigration issues facing America today. In an interview on The Jerry Bowyer Show yesterday, Dr. Yuengert discussed “The Right to Migrate” (MP3).

Dr. Yuengert argues, within the context of Catholic Social Teaching, that there is a “right to migrate,” but it is not an “absolute right.” This means that for policy discussions, “the purpose of rights-language is not to end public policy debates and disagreements, but to orient them toward the common good of all persons, natives of the host country and immigrants alike.”

In general, political arguments have been made in favor of limiting immigration, on the basis of the severe economic consequences to the U.S. Yuengert asserts instead that “the economic stakes of immigration policy are relatively small; if there are any real stakes, they are cultural,” and that “illegal immigration, with special emphasis on the qualifier ‘illegal’, as opposed to ‘undocumented’, is the source of our most severe immigration problems, and is our most urgent challenge.”

Related resources by Yuengert:

“What Is An American?,” National Meeting of The Philadelphia Society, April 30, 2005.

“The Stranger who Sojourns with You: Toward a Moral Immigration Policy,” Policyforum, no. 6 (Winter 2004).

Inhabiting the Land, no. 6, Christian Social Thought Series (Acton Institute, 2003).

On another note, Andrew Yuengert is also the author of The Boundaries of Technique: Ordering Positive and Normative Concerns in Economic Research (Lexington, 2004), part of the Studies in Ethics & Economics series, edited by Acton director of research Samuel Gregg. The Acton Institute has placed three books with Mind & Media, a blog book review service. If you have a blog and would like to review a free copy of Yuengert’s book, become a Mind & Media exclusive reviewer today.

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Jordan J. Ballor Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. He is also a postdoctoral researcher in theology and economics at the VU University Amsterdam as part of the "What Good Markets Are Good For" project. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary.