For Whom Would the Undocumented Vote?

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4 Responses

  1. Carrie Meadow says:

    Hi Jaya:

    Great blog and tough issue (my husband is a Democratic pollster trying to figure this out) and welcome to concurring opinions. I look forward to reading you!!


    Carrie MM

  2. RH says:

    Ironically, the ‘undocumented worker”/”illegal alien” would like laws passed to suit their best interests while at the same time breaking the law by entering this country without following the proper procedures. Ironically for me; I support the notion that America needs to be able to control who comes across its’ borders while at the same time acknowledging that I too would cross illegally if it meant a better life for my family.

  3. Matt Lister says:

    I’m glad to see this post and think it’s an interesting topic. I would caution, however, the application of Rawls’s ideas to this particular case, at least in this way, since it’s not at all clear to me that they are applicable. This is mostly so because this is obviously a case of non-ideal theory and it’s not at all clear that Rawlsian machinery can be straight-forwardly applied in non-ideal theory. At the very least it has to be done with great caution and care. Secondly (though in a complicated mix with the first point) it’s not obvious as who counts as in the relevant society for consideration for applying Rawlsian machinery. It certainly can’t be _assumed_ that aliens (perhaps especially illegal aliens, though I’m unsure on that) count as part of the relevant community for applying the original position method. You can’t, clearly, make a full argument for this in a short blog post but it’s clearly a big problem (one most people don’t face up to.) I think that Rawls’s theory has a lot of very interesting and important implications for thinking about immigration (as you can see if you look at my SSRN page) but that it has to be done very carefully if it’s going to be useful at all.

  4. Jaya Ramji-Nogales says:

    Thanks for your thoughts, Matt, which are well taken. I agree that my application of Rawls’s theory to this particular set of problems in a very short blog post takes some liberties, and look forward to reading your piece on how to apply his thoughts to immigration. And absolutely, the starting point of what constitutes the relevant community is crucial — I would argue that immigrants, both documented and undocumented, should (and would elaborate further if I had more space) but recognize that there are valid arguments on the other side.