The Priority of Compatriots as a Challenge to Global Justice: The Case of Open Borders

  • Federico ArcosEmail author
Part of the Studies in Global Justice book series (JUST, volume 18)


One of the main arguments used to advocate in favor of the current model of closed borders is known as priority of compatriots. According to this argument, a state would be entitled to control and limit the entry of foreigners into its territory because otherwise it could not maintain the socioeconomic system that allows to devote special attention to the needs of its less advantaged members. If it were not true that opening would undermine rich countries’ redistributive efforts and their schemes of social and economic justice, such an argument would no longer make sense. Yet, criticism to the priority of compatriots as justification for the closure of borders does not have to rest on the empirical level. Without denying the practical conflict between patriotic loyalties and global distributive responsibilities, I develop a critique to this argument analyzing whether these are strong enough to withstand the weight of the intrinsic value of all human beings and their most basic and urgent needs.



This work has been supported by the R&D grant “Human rights and global justice in the context of international migrations” (FFI2013-42521-P) funded by the Spanish Program for the Promotion of Scientific and Technical Research for Excellence.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy of LawUniversity of AlmeríaAlmeríaSpain

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