Caught Between Rights and Restrictions: An Ethical Analysis of the Rights and Capabilities of Undocumented Immigrants in the Netherlands

Nina van Egmond
University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Ingår i: Proceedings from The 49th Societas Ethica Annual Conference 2012; Theme: Ethics and Migration; August 23-26; 2012; Lucian Blaga University Sibiu; Romania

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 97:8, s. 79-95

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Publicerad: 2014-04-24

ISBN: 978-91-7519-297-0

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


Using the capabilities space of Martha Nussbaum as a measure of quality of life; this articles analyzes what undocumented immigrants are actually able to do or to be within the rights and capability space made available to them by the Dutch immigration policy. It inquires into the practical implications of this policy by examining available quantitative data; supplemented with the testimony of one man; living illegally in the Netherlands. This article strives to answer the question whether the Dutch policy on illegal residents can ensure a life worthy of a human being; not a life of merely surviving. At the same time; it aims to urge the capability paradigm of Martha Nussbaum to address the issue of immigration; an ethical dilemma of human justice that is waiting at the sidelines of the theory.


Human rights; irregular immigrants; Dutch immigration policy; capabilities approach; Martha Nussbaum


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