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2003

Series

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Immigration

Political Economy

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The Immigration Paradox: Poverty, Distributive Justice, And Liberal Egalitarianism, Howard F. Chang Jan 2003

The Immigration Paradox: Poverty, Distributive Justice, And Liberal Egalitarianism, Howard F. Chang

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The immigration of unskilled workers poses a fundamental problem for liberals. While from the perspective of the economic welfare of natives, the optimal policy would be to admit these aliens as guest workers, this policy would violate liberal egalitarian ideals. These ideals would treat these resident workers as equals, entitled to access to citizenship and to the full set of public benefits provided to citizens. If the welfare of all incumbent residents determines admissions policies, however, and we anticipate the fiscal burden that the immigration of the poor would impose, then our welfare criterion would preclude the admission of unskilled ...