San Diego Law Review


Michael Blake

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



The act of immigration alters several forms of human relationship simultaneously. It represents a change in physical location and so alters the relationship between persons represented by geographic concepts such as territory and property. In immigrating, immigrants acquire a new place in the world that they may understand, in some sense of the word, as their own. Immigration also alters a political relationship insofar as the immigrant acquires a new political status in virtue of that new home in the world. The immigrant ought to be understood as creating through the act of immigration a new set of relationships to other persons who share the immigrant's liability to the coercive institutions of a political state. Finally, immigration represents a change in social relationships, insofar as the individual joins not simply a political society but a social world constituted by the norms and practices of a culture and a civil society. Immigrants are both entitled and obligated to engage in the practices constitutive of membership in the society that they have joined.

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