Sunday, July 27, 2014

Now, as Then, Immigrants are Individuals With Inalienable Rights

In a New Jersey Star-Ledger letter published July 25, 2014, Diane B. Barry argued that US immigration today cannot be compared to the past. Responding to a Star-Ledger column by Tom Moran, Barry wrote:

In 1886, America needed immigrants. In 2014, the situation has changed.

. . . Absorbing 55,000 children, adults, pregnant women and teens today presents a financial burden and potential health crisis. Who will pay for the education, food, clothing, medical care and judicial hearings Moran says these people are “entitled” to?

I left these comments:

“In 1886, America needed immigrants. In 2014, the situation has changed.”

Translation: America is a tribal collective that decides which individuals are “needed” and which are not.

Nothing could be further from the truth. America is just the opposite; a country of individual rights and limited, rights-protecting government in which the value and sovereignty of the individual is the ruling principle. Immigrants came to America in the 19th Century because they had a right to come and make a life for themselves in freedom, not to be fodder for other people’s purposes. The same is true today.

However, today as then, Americans should not be taxed to support immigrants, violating American taxpayers’ rights to use their own money as they judge best. Any immigrant who is not self-supporting, or who does not have a U.S sponsor willing to voluntarily take them in at his or her own expense, should be deported [or not allowed in]. Otherwise, in the absence of a threat to Americans’ rights and safety—such as a violent criminal history, infectious disease or similar health risk, or national security risk—the Land of Liberty has a moral obligation to let immigrants stay and make a life for themselves and their families.

As to today’s child immigrant crisis, some 90% of the children have relatives or family friends already living in the U.S. who were willing to and have taken them in. It is also important to keep in mind that most of these children are trying to escape drug-related gang violence, which America is indirectly responsible for. The emergence and growth of these Latin American gangs is fueled by drug prohibition in the U.S., just as America’s alcohol prohibition in the 1920s fueled domestic organized crime.

Slamming the door on legitimate immigration—i.e., rights-respecting, self-supporting individuals, whatever their numbers—is immoral and un-American.

Related Reading:

Immigration and Individual Rights—Craig Biddle

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