The Politics of Immigration and Membership

The Politics of Immigration and Membership

Seyla Benhabib’s The Rights of Others

The Rights of Others: Aliens, Residents and Citizens
by Seyla Benhabib
Cambridge University Press, 2004, 251 pp., $23.99 paper
 

“We are like travelers navigating an unknown terrain with the help of old maps, drawn at a different time and in response to different needs,” Seyla Benhabib writes in her new book, The Rights of Others. Transnational migrations and global interdependence are the unknown terrain, state sovereignty and patrolled frontiers the old maps. Contemporary migrations are not an isolated phenomenon explicable in terms of a free choice that immigrants make when they leave their countries of origin and host states make when they receive them.

These are epochal transformations that are literally changing the face of entire continents, the social conventions of millions of people. The friction between this new terrain and the ...