‘Illegal’ Migrants and Access to Public Health: A Human Rights Approach<sup>1</sup>

Cole Phillip

in Health Inequalities and Global Justice

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780748646920
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780748676682 | DOI:
‘Illegal’ Migrants and Access to Public Health: A Human Rights Approach1

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This chapter argues that obligations of global justice reach out not just beyond the borders of the nation state, but also within it. Undocumented migrants pose legal and ethical challenges to the liberal welfare state, in terms of their access to public provided welfare, particularly health care. The legal challenge arises because a human right to health is embodied in international law, and I argue that states are in breach of their legal obligations if they withhold public health care from undocumented migrants. The ethical challenge arises because human rights are grounded on a conception of human flourishing, and the right to health is crucial not only to that flourishing but also to basic capabilities. To deny irregular migrants access to healthcare is to do them a fundamental moral wrong.

Keywords: Migration; Healthcare; Social Justice; Human rights; Capabilities

Chapter.  6925 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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