This Article employs the cosmopolitan political theory of Seyla Benhabib as a framework for understanding the U.S. government’s shifting decisions about family detention and immigration policy more generally. Although Benhabib is a leading political theorist, few have used her work to analyze particular immigration policies or laws. This Article begins to fill that gap. Benhabib has much to offer scholars and advocates who envision a world of expanded opportunities for immigrants seeking to enter and for those already here. She calls for increasingly porous, but not open, borders, providing a middle-ground between utopian open-border positions and the exclusionary bent of liberal communitarianism. Benhabib’s embrace of periodic amnesty for undocumented immigrants, her critique of strong insider/outsider claims and her optimism that liberal democracies are becoming more cosmopolitan supply an architecture for ambitious pro-immigrant politics.



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