Immigration is frequently identified as a danger to western liberal democracies because it threatens to undermine fundamental values, most notably freedom and self-determination. I argue that the greater danger is not immigration but immigration control. Controlling outsiders—immigrants or would-be immigrants—necessarily requires regulating, monitoring and sanctioning insiders—citizens and residents—who would otherwise hire, house, enrol, trade with or generally associate with outsiders. The more seriously immigration control is pursued, the more closely do citizens and residents come to be controlled and the more is freedom diminished.
Chandran Kukathas is Dean and Lee Kong Chian Chair Professor of Political Science in the School of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University. Before joining SMU, Kukathas was Professor of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) during which time he occupied various roles including Head of the Department of Government, Chair of Political Theory, and Warden of High Holborn and Grosvenor House Halls of Residence. Kukathas is best known for his numerous contributions to multiculturalism and to the understanding and assessment of Hayek’s political philosophy. His books include The Liberal Archipelago: A Theory of Diversity and Freedom; Rawls: A Theory of Justice and Its Critics (with Philip Pettit); Hayek and Modern Liberalism; The Australian Political System (with David Lovell, William Maley and Ian McAllister) and The Theory of Politics, an Australian Perspective (with David Lovell and William Maley).