Saturday, March 11, 2006

Illegal immigrant's rights

Richard @ Philosophy Et cetera looks at illegal immigrants rights the right of countries like the USA to treat illegal immigrants with less "rights" than citizens.

She does lament a Border Patrol policy which "prioritizes successful border control over the lives of migrants" (by channeling crossing attempts into more dangerous terrain where apprehensions are easier). While I'm sympathetic to her conclusions, an argument here would have been nice. It is not enough to make a simplistic appeal to "human rights", because we are not typically obliged to ensure that people can carry out criminal activities safely. (An electric fence prioritizes security over the comfort of would-be trespassers -- but that's the whole point!)

and then going straight to the heart of many left winger's world view

So: is it legitimate for a state to restrict immigration? Most
left-wingers frown upon the Zionist "invasion" of Palestine. If we
respect Arabian sovereignty, how can we not do the same for the United
States when they're faced with an influx of unwelcome Mexican colonists?
Surely the Mexicans have no greater claim to need or asylum than did
early 20th century Jews!

As with Richard I am sympathetic towards the concept of open boarders (if everyone had them) BUT also see the illogicalness of saying that illegal immigrants must be treated equally to citizens or legal immigrants. After all that just means they wish to deny the right to make immigration illegal in which case they really need to come out and say it!

In general I think that open boarders is one of those things that benefit al countries if they exist (more efficient markets etc) but hurt the first countries to do it because (1) thy get all the people no one else will take and (2) if only a few countries do it their systems are almost certainly not harmonized. That is that why free travel works in the USA and a lesser extent in the EU is because their economies are relatively similar in terms of government policy, laws, economics and so forth.

So until that is the case it is quite rational for individual states to have restrictions on immigrating and surely if there are such restrictions they should be able to enforce them within reason.


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