The Ethics of Border Externalization: Migrant Rights and State Obligations

September 21, 2023
Center on Forced Displacement, Boston University

610 Commonwealth Avenue
United States

This event is available both online and in-person


  • The Mellon Foundation

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The shifting and expanding 21st-century border has raised new and complex questions about the ethics of migration, asylum, and border control: Is there any conceptually necessary connection between presence in a particular state’s territory and asylum protection? Does the exercise of migration control away from national borders impose unique responsibilities upon states and their agents? Is it morally permissible for affluent states to discharge their asylum obligations to poorer ones? Do border externalization practices subject people on the move to unique harms, and how should we understand those harms? This seminar seeks to address foundational normative questions — both ethical and legal — regarding contemporary border externalization practices.


David Owen (Univ. of Southampton) - “Border Externalization and the Paradoxes of Humanitarianism”
Patti Tamara Lenard (Univ. of Ottawa) - “Immigration ‘Fraud’ as Resistance”
Ayten Gündoğdu (Barnard College) - “On the Lawful Lawlessness of Borders: Rethinking Extraterritorialization as a Technique of Racialized Governance"


This seminar will be hosted in a hybrid format. Please register on Eventbrite ( to attend remotely via Zoom webinar. A passcode will be sent to all registrants shortly before the start of the event, which will be required to enter.

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