Immigration

Some preliminary thoughts I have about our current immigration system:

We are a nation of immigrants.

It is not wrong for our country to enforce immigration laws.

Occasionally I hear that Americans have no right to enforce our immigration laws because we are living on land stolen from Native Americans.  The history of how this country was formed is indeed filled with horrible, bloody tales of murder, pillage, theft and the like.  However, it would be wrong to single out America as if it was the only country guilty of this crime when pretty much the map of the whole world is what it is because of the wars that our ancestors waged and they are set the way that they are because of the treaties we made with one another.

Even among the Native American tribes themselves, they waged war against one another before Europeans came for control of territory.

It is difficult to give out justice for the crimes made by our ancestors, and so I feel it would be much more helpful and productive if we were to just work with the system that we have now.  Treaties and the rule of law help provide moral constraint of our violent instincts, and I would wish we would default to moral diplomacy and conversation as much as possible.

Sometimes I hear we should not respect the rule of law in this case because the law is being used to justify dehumanizing people.

Bear in mind: laws are codified ideas. Behind every law is an idea.

Behind the Fugitive Slave Act is the concept of slavery: humans can be treated as property.

Behind our Immigration laws is the concept of legal and illegal immigrants: we will accept immigrants if they are willing to respect the laws, customs, and process we have in place, although there is room for change to our system if need be.

To say that identifying an individual as an undocumented immigrant is the same moral equivalent of calling someone a slave in terms of dehumanization is just wrong.

Consider our concept of private property.

If a stranger comes to your front door, asking for food, water, and shelter, you have the right to accept or reject the stranger’s claim.  You can get to know the stranger a little better, especially since the person kindly asked at the front door of your house, and you are more likely to welcome them into your house.  As a guest in your house, they are willing to submit to your house rules as you treat them with hospitality.  Ideally this is how legal immigration should operate.

However, illegal/undocumented immigration are those strangers who do not come at the front door of your house, they jump over the fence into your backyard demanding that you give them food, water, and shelter.  This would be extremely discourteous to you the homeowner, and this unwelcome guest would be acting like a thief in the night.

In other words, saying that calling someone an undocumented immigrant is essentially the same as saying that they are unwelcome guests which is a far cry from dehumanizing their human dignity which is what slavery did.

Now of course with our current immigration laws on the books, the status of undocumented immigrants has a lot of grey areas.

Undocumented immigrants can include the following (not a comprehensive list):
-immigrants who have no documents in their possession but still cross the borders into our country
-immigrants who have a tourist visa and overstay their visit in this country (sometimes accidental and sometimes intentional)
-immigrants who are applying for legal immigration but have not obtained news about the outcome of their application

Personally, I am open to immigration reform, there can always be ways to change our immigration laws to make the process more accessible and humane for people seeking to live in our country.   Some examples I have in mind for now: families should be kept together, there should be more courts to handle immigration applications, greater education to potential applicants for the naturalization process, etc.