Immigration and Social Justice

One aspect of the debate about immigration, which I am sympathetic with, is the topic of social justice. Should a person be considered different, better or worse, because of which country they were born in? My answer to this is, no they should not. I believe that we should do what we can to bring up the quality of life of all people in the world.

On the surface, this appears to be an argument in favor of opening all borders, allowing all comers to enter the country and to become citizens. However, I believe this would ultimately have the effect of lowering the United States down to the quality of life the rest of the world has, rather than raising the other countries. There are simply too many people in the world for the US economy to swallow them up.

This then raises the question of whether it is morally correct to lower the quality of life of some people in order to equalize them with others. My answer to that is I believe taking away what people have is wrong. It don’t see the difference between taking from the rich to give to the poor, and stealing.

There is another choice, although it involves a longer process where people have to pull together to build society, and individuals have to work for what they get. This other choice is helping other countries form healthy, stable economies. Some will say this is too slow, others will say it is impractical. But I believe that history teaches it is the only approach that has ever worked.

The social justice issue however has some dubious wrinkles to discuss. One such wrinkle, is what about the children of illegals? Some who were born here, others who came so young they know no other country. This tactic of focusing on the children of law breakers is interesting, but really just creative obfuscation. What would happen if we treated violation of other crimes the same way? We could not convict tax evaders, mobsters, or bank robbers on the basis they needed the money for their children. We would not return children kidnapped for long period of times because they will be distressed to meet their real families.

Another dubious wrinkle in the social justice argument is, how do we determine that illegals who have been here for a certain length of time are more deserving of privileges than the ones that will cross tomorrow? If it is really social justice for some, than it must be for all. Yes this means we have a large contingency of people here who do not qualify for these privileges. Our president speaks of the impossibility of finding these people to deport them, and that in the meantime they are forced to hide in the shadows. But we did not choose that for them, they or their parents made that choice.

One other dubious wrinkle, speaking of shadows, is something we cannot see, but still ought to anticipate. Do you remember how last spring we suddenly had massive numbers of illegal, unaccompanied minors crossing in the US? Why did that activity suddenly increase and why did it suddenly decrease to more normal levels? I don’t know the answer to that in specifics, but it had to be because something communicated to the people in desperate situations, that their best hope was to send their kids to the US. We should expect the president’s actions will also be a signal which causes the migration of many more people towards American borders.

Ultimately this is my strongest reason to oppose blanket changes of policy that affect millions. It gives a false hope to millions more who will be our next wave of illegal immigrants.

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