States are currently given the right to exert discretionary control over immigration, as long as they grant the right to seek asylum. The concept of refugee is thus crucial and several theorists aim at extending it, often overlapping the concept of forced migrant. The right of asylum, however, is meant to remain an exceptional measure. Therefore, some theorists argue that justice requires open borders and an equal right to migrate for all human beings. In such a perspective, the distinction between forced and voluntary migration seems to become useless. In this paper the author argues that this distinction would also apply in an open borders world and that it would still be normatively relevant, since freedom of movement does not only require the right to move, but also the opportunity to voluntarily choose whether to move or to stay.
Keywords: Ethics of immigration, forced migration, voluntary migration, refugees, open borders, freedom of movement