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.


Clinton, Obama, and Political Mantras

Hillary Clinton did an interview for The Atlantic magazine in which the former secretary of state criticized President Obama’s foreign policy. She reduced his foreign policy down to a mantras, specifically the phrase “don’t do stupid stuff”. Although, we are told that in the Obama version the word stuff was actually a cruder word.

Politics is often a harsh arena, where loyalties are for convenience only and truth is spun in whatever direction the speaker wants to exert influence. It’s a bummer for President Obama that someone so close to his administration is already turning against him. Chances are her statements are a simplification to accentuate the president’s weaknesses. She is likely taking this action in order to make it appear she was hindered by the president during her role as our top diplomat, and therefore cannot be held accountable for the problems that occurred during her tenure.

I would like to make a couple of observations here.

First, reducing Obama’s foreign policy to a mantra is likely unfair, but it probably has a degree of truth to it. If you think of the coverage of almost every policy change  we have seen come from the Obama administration we only hear the overarching principle. In regards to the economy, ‘some agencies are too big to fail.’ But he wasn’t the least bit wary of how this would contradict free market principles. In regards to health care, ‘America is great enough to provide every person with coverage.’ But when it comes to working out the implications he is seemingly caught off guard as each new problem comes to light. In regards to immigration, ‘children brought here by their parents are not at fault.’ But again he didn’t  foresee or deal with the problems these policies generated.

Second, if Clinton was aware Obama’s administration was headed in the wrong direction, and if she was not allowed input or action to improve the situation, then she should have resigned. If she remained in such a position she must have believed she was doing some good, either for the world or for her own career.

Immigration Revenge

The failure of the US Government in regards to dealing with illegal immigrants is appalling. America does not want an open border policy, but neither should we allow the manipulation and mistreatment of immigrants for political purposes.

A new situation is just beginning to come to light as Phoenix and other locations around Arizona are receiving multitudes of illegal aliens dumped there by the government. The stated reason for this action is Texas officials have been overwhelmed with the number of illegal aliens entering that region of the country. If they had been Mexican they would have been simply returned across the border, but these individuals are from other places and only passed through Mexico with the goal of reaching the United States. In the original groups there were men, women and children, but in the last couple of days, it has been only women and children.

Part of what makes me call this a failure is the fact the individuals are simply released to the streets. They are given orders to appear at hearings which would likely result in their deportation, first, but they are in charge of themselves until that time. Of course many of them are not prepared to be in charge of themselves, nor are they of a mindset to appear for deportation.

Media coverage has made it clear the only assistance they receive when they hit the ground here is from compassionate citizens. In many cases the people were assisted in getting bus transportation to other U.S. Cities where they had relatives. I assume these individuals have no intention of coming back for their hearings. Others have said they will begin looking for work. Another distressing aspect of the situation is that some of the people have been unaccompanied minors. Reports on supervision of these kids has been inconsistent, some saying they were always given supervision others saying they were treated the same as adults.

Two things worth saying. If we had closed the borders we would not have this problem. But second, dumping these individuals here, in a way in which hundreds or maybe thousands per week will become the responsibility of Arizona appears to be revenge. Arizona is made to be the bad guy in the national discussion of illegal immigration. (Even though every action we have taken has also been taken by other states.) And now we are being punished by being inundated with illegals.

But notice the process of taking this revenge included treating these immigrants as pawns, or worse like cattle. Also notice the compassion of Arizonans of all kinds have stepped up to assist these immigrants.

I bet there will be more to revelations on this story in the weeks to come.


One of the great challenges for our country is what to do about immigration. From my perspective the entire debate is missing the mark.

There is immigration law defining who can come into our country, who is allowed to work, and who is allowed to seek citizenship. We spent remarkably little energy discussing these laws, and we are gutting our ability to enforce these laws, even though they are at the heart of the issue.

Instead we spend a lot of time discussing peripheral issues. For example, here in Arizona there has been a major discussion about who is allowed to enforce the law. Many would like to convince us that immigration law can only be enforced by immigration officers.

I wonder what it would be like if we used this kind of rule for other categories of crime.  Only the DEA could enforce drug laws.  Only the ATF could enforce gun laws. Only the Commerce Department is allowed to ‘notice’ if a person is smuggling.

That idea is ludicrous. If a local law enforcement officer finds a meth house, a grenade launcher, or a secret pocket full of diamonds we would all expect them to respond, make arrests, report and pass the criminals on to the correct department. So why do we claim immigration laws have to be handled differently?

Another example is we spend a lot of time discussing the plight of long term illegal families. Returning family members to country of origination splits up families, ruins careers, and derails education.

But again, what would it look like if we used similar logic on other forms of law breaking. The meth house would argue it cannot be shut down because there are too many dealers on the street who would be put out of work. The illegal arms dealer would point to his children who would be harmed if he went to jail. The diamond smuggler would claim law enforcement was racially profiling him.

We would be better off if our primary focus was on the immigration laws. Making excuses for those who break the laws is counterproductive, and harassing those who enforce the laws is silly.

As a Christian I would like to see more people able to come to America and make a new life for themselves. But also as a Christian, I would like to see them do it the right and legal way.