What Immigrants Owe

Authors: ,


Unlike natural-born citizens, many immigrants have agreed to undertake political obligations. Many have sworn oaths of allegiance. Many, when they entered their adopted country, promised to obey the law. This paper is about these agreements. First, it’s about their validity. Do they actually confer political obligations? Second, it’s about their justifiability. Is it permissible to get immigrants to undertake such political obligations? Our answers are ‘usually yes’ and ‘probably not’ respectively. We first argue that these agreements give immigrants political obligations. We then argue that getting immigrants to undertake such obligations is morally wrong. This is because it makes immigrants’ political obligations more burdensome than those of natural-born citizens. We conclude that the practice of getting immigrants to undertake such obligations should be abolished.

Keywords: immigration, political obligations, political authority, social contract theory, oaths of allegiance, promises

How to Cite: Lovett, A. & Sharp, D. (2022) “What Immigrants Owe”, Ergo. 8(0). doi: