Moving beyond settlement: on the need for normative reflection on the global management of movement through data

Natasha Saunders*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Normative theorists of migration are beginning to shift their focus away from an earlier obsession with whether the ‘liberal' or ‘legitimate’ state should have a right to exclude, and toward evaluation of how states engage in immigration control. However, with some notable exceptions – such as work of Rebecca Buxton, David Owen, Serena Parekh, and Alex Sager – this work tends not to focus on the global coordination of such control, and is still largely concerned with issues of membership. In this paper I aim to show the value of shifting normative attention to the fundamentally interdependent nature of state control of migration, and the management of all forms of movement – not just settlement. This global management is greatly facilitated by the rapid digitisation of border controls. As such, I outline three aspects of the way digital border controls work – profiling, biometric identification, and the data sharing practices upon which they rest – and highlight ethical challenges of accountability, consent and the reach of the state, and entrenching global inequalities in access to movement. Ultimately, I hope to show that the globally interconnected nature of migration management is a combination of practices that normative theorists of migration should turn their attention to.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Global Ethics
VolumeLatest Articles
Early online date9 Nov 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Nov 2023

Keywords

  • Digital borders
  • Migration
  • Ethics
  • AI

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