Jose Antonio Vargas and the Politics of Compassion

Jose Antonio Vargas’s riveting story about life as an undocumented immigrant has been taking the Internet by storm. It powerfully illustrates the contrast between our nation’s professed ideals of equality and opportunity and the actual, shameful results of the laws we have allowed our government to enact.

As I’ve written before, I think the fundamental problem is that most American voters don’t understand our own immigration system. Though few undocumented immigrants succeed as spectacularly as Vargas has, there are millions of undocumented Americans who, like him, have been hampered in their pursuit of freedom and opportunity by our immigration laws. Many American voters angrily demand that immigrants “get in line” for their green cards, ignoring the fact that for many undocumented immigrants, there is no line they could wait in that will get them a green card in the foreseeable future.

It’s interesting that Vargas mentions coming out of the closet because I think many immigration advocates could learn from success of the gay rights movement. Ignorant anti-immigrant beliefs are driven by the same kind of intellectual laziness people always display when thinking about people different from themselves. Go back to the 1970s and you’ll find millions of people who didn’t consider themselves to be bigots but harbored fundamentally bigoted beliefs about gay people. Go a little further back and you’ll find millions of whites who didn’t consider themselves racists but who would readily repeat crude stereotypes about blacks and tacitly supported America’s system of racial apartheid.

The same basic dynamic is at work in modern immigration debate. Hardly anyone considers himself an anti-immigrant bigot, but a large majority of Americans tacitly endorse ridiculous, discriminatory immigration laws that make it virtually impossible for people like Jose Antonio Vargas to become full-fledged members of our society. They demand a level of law abidingness from undocumented immigrants (even those who have been here since childhood) that they would never tolerate if applied to themselves.

Eradicating racism from polite society wasn’t simply a matter of evidence and argument. Rather, it was accomplished through a consciously ideological project to stigmatize bigotry. Making prejudicial comments about black people doesn’t just get you a strong counter-argument, it can lose you friends and even your job. A similar ideological project, typified by Seinfeld‘s “not that there’s anything wrong with that,” is making rapid progress on the gay rights front.

People don’t really think about immigration debates in these terms. Even most liberals talk about immigration in terms of economic efficiency and citizen self-interest. During the 2007 immigration debate, my friend Ezra Klein actually complained that business interests were trying to weaken “employer verification” laws that would have made it even harder for people like Jose Antonio Vargas to find a job. Whatever else you might say about this position, it’s not one that treats undocumented immigrants as human beings deserving compassion and fair treatment.

More to the point, this kind of transactional politics—give us a guest worker program and we’ll support beefing up the surveillance state—isn’t going to work. Once established, an “employer verification” system will be with us forever, whereas the next Congress can easily scale back or cancel the guest worker program. At the same time, advocacy for such a bargain reinforces the basic restrictionist worldview that the interests of Americans and immigrants are fundamentally opposed.

What’s needed, instead, is a serious effort to get people to think of immigrants as human beings who deserve to be treated fairly. You don’t have to be an open-borders zealot to think that we’ve been terribly unfair to Vargas and Eric Balderas. We should change the law to allow people like them earn a living not because doing so would be good for the American economy (though it would) but because we’re a country founded on the proposition that all men are created equal.

Congress is poised to pass “e-verify” legislation that will make life much worse for people like Vargas, as well as seriously inconveniencing a bunch of citizens. Libertarians like my friend Jim Harper have been beating the drum about this issue for years, and the ACLU has also been active in opposing it. But it hasn’t gotten much focus on the left more generally. And the few critiques I’ve seen have focused either on the system’s poor accuracy or the losses it would inflict on the agriculture sector.

These are both valid arguments. But I’d like to see more people—and especially more liberals—questioning the whole concept of constructing a massive surveillance system so the government can more effectively prevent people like Jose Antonio Vargas from earning a living.

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33 Responses to Jose Antonio Vargas and the Politics of Compassion

  1. PJ Doland says:

    What about the immigrants who follow the rules and deal with the legal bureaucracy? Are they being treated fairly by the line-jumpers?

  2. Kyle says:

    Hmm.

    Laws prevent Vargas from just coming into the USA without any documentation and doing as he pleases.

    So he and his grandfather knowingly commit forgery, insurance fraud, and mail fraud. Because they’re “hampered” by laws.

    Awesome! The same logic sovereign citizens and survivalists use to refuse to pay taxes.

    If you don’t like the laws, lobby to change them. Don’t commit more laws to go around them. How hard is that?

  3. jamie says:

    I tend to agree when you say “we’ve been terribly unfair to Vargas.” But I don’t see a principled line to draw between “we should let people who want to come to the United States for a better life come here” and “open borders zealot.” Maybe I’m missing something, but where does compassion draw the line?

  4. Dan Miller says:

    “If you don’t like the laws, lobby to change them. Don’t commit more laws to go around them. How hard is that?”

    Actually, it’s really damn hard. To volunteer, at age 16, to be deported (remember, Vargas didn’t even know he was an illegal immigrant when he came to California at age 12) is a gigantic ask. And how realistic is it for one non-citizen to change US immigration law?

    The question I’d have for Tim, though, is whether or not you think it’s possible to be in favor of limited levels of immigration, without being an anti-immigrant bigot. I agree, the parallel with gay rights is striking–but it might be a little extreme. The logical end point of “not that there’s anything wrong with that” is gay marriage and complete civil equality; wouldn’t the logical end point of the same argument for illegal immigrants be an open border–i.e. no numerical limits on legal immigration? If so, that might explain people’s reluctance to use that argument, especially on the left–either because open-borders are something they legitimately don’t support, or because they think it wouldn’t be feasible politically. I would disagree, but people’s mileage may vary.

  5. Jim Rodovich says:

    @PJ Doland, I don’t think immigrants who go through all the legal hoops are in any way affected by those like Vargas who do not. The “line-jumping” metaphor is a bit misleading: true, Vargas didn’t step into the back of the line before coming to America, but he didn’t cut in front of anyone, either. He isn’t documented; he isn’t counting against any immigration quotas; he isn’t depriving or delaying anyone else from getting a green card.

    Legal immigrants and would-be immigrants may hear his story and say, “Darn, I could’ve gotten in years ago if I’d just said I was going to Disney World! That’s not fair!” They’d be right. It is unfair that the official, recommended, legal way to attempt to enter this country is so far from being the most effective. But I don’t see how that unfairness could be put at the feet of Vargas or other “line-jumpers.”

  6. x.trapnel says:

    whether or not you think it’s possible to be in favor of limited levels of immigration, without being an anti-immigrant bigot

    I’m not Tim, but when you think about it, there’s a huge space of potential policy responses to those who immigrate without legal permission, and most of them are far more humane than our current system. Similarly, one can be against theft, and in favor of laws against theft, without thinking that maiming is the appropriate punishment.

  7. PJ Doland says:

    I think it’s a little disingenuous to say that it’s not a case of line-jumping.

    If there weren’t 11-million undocumented workers in this country, then you can bet there would be higher quotas for legal immigration. We would probably also have better legal immigration opportunities for unskilled workers.

  8. Dan Miller says:

    Good point–but what would be a suitable punishment that is humane, yet strong enough to actually deter immigration to the point where it sinks to our desired level? If deportation isn’t (and I agree, it’s not), then doesn’t that kind of quash the notion that we actually limit the number of people arriving?

  9. Jim Rodovich says:

    As far as I’m aware, immigration quotas are set by a largely political process, not a formula based on estimates of the number of undocumented immigrants already here. But you make a good point in that the political will for increased (legal) immigration quotas might be higher if there were fewer illegal immigrants.

    But unless we supposed that the quotas would rise to a point where there’s no longer a multiple-year (or multiple-decade!) backlog of applicants, I’d still say that our laws were being unfair to those who attempted to come here legally. I just don’t see a moral basis for telling someone, “No, you can’t live or work on this side of this imaginary line — check back in 10 or 20 years.”

  10. x.trapnel says:

    but what would be a suitable punishment that is humane, yet strong enough to actually deter immigration to the point where it sinks to our desired level?

    I don’t think such a thing exists. But the question was limited immigration, not immigration limited to a certain level X. Legal limits with fines and other sanctions, even when deportation is off the table or mostly so, will have some deterrant effect; an equilibrium will be reached, one considerably lower than an “anyone can come, work, and immediately become a citizen”; it simply won’t be an equilibrium with only legal immigrants. That’s just life. It doesn’t mean that it’s the same as an open-borders policy.

  11. Kyle says:

    Jim: The “moral basis” for denying just anyone to immigrate is that some people living in this country (including citizens, foreign nationals, and undocumented aliens alike) are a net negative on our government’s balance – they use more resources than they produce. That’s not a judgment, just a fact. My cousin is one such person – she is severely retarded but otherwise healthy. She is on Medicaid and will be for the rest of her life, and she will never be a productive (in the economic sense) member of society. This could be more innocuous, too – a woman making minimum wage with no benefits and 4 children is probably break even at best from an economic perspective. To suggest that our current citizenry’s (incuding the woman making minimum wage and my cousin) economic prosperity and livelihood should be diminished in order for an immigrant to come over and be a similar resource drain (and I’m not talking about that stereotypical “welfare queen”) is on its face immoral. You are robbing Peter to pay Paul in that case.

    This is why we have an immigration process. Before we had Medicare, Social Security, SCHIP, free lunch programs, we had a much more lax process, because any given immigrant’s maximum negative economic value to the country was limited. Now that the dynamics have changed, we have to weigh the economic value of our immigrants more carefully. Imagine if every immigrant was like my cousin – unable to work and requiring legitimate but extravagant medical care and social services. Why would you let them into the country, without any economic incentive to do so?

    This is the “political process” you decry – we simply cannot let every single person who wants to come over to come over. We have to make larger economic decisions about immigration, and then apply the findings of those decisions to the individuals wishing to immigrate here.

    Just because Mr. Vargas turned out to be industrious and successful is no excuse for his grandparents’ actions (and later his own.) What if he’d been hit by a car and suffered permanent brain damage when he was 17? (We have deported uninsured foreign nationals, but only to Mexico, because it’s a short drive and we have a little faith in the Mexican health care system.) Was he insured? (Would it matter once his claim was denied for insurance fraud?) Who would pick up the tab?

    Now his story doesn’t sound so inspiring.

    We have rules for a reason; they may be tough, even overly so, but they’re not arbitrary.

    And yes, clearly most undocumented immigrants are hard workers and pay their taxes and I’m sure many if not most of them are net positives on the GDP bottom line. But we don’t know (because they’re undocumented, natch) – this is why we need a process. And to simply grant them all blanket amnesty is, again, an immoral action because of its diminishing effect on my cousin, the minimum wage working mom, you, me, and every legal immigrant.

  12. Jess says:

    Wow Tim you’re overrun with a pack of heartless bastards.

    The reason it’s so much harder to immigrate than it was in years past is the same as that it’s so much harder to smoke pot, raise your kids free of nannystate interference, run a business, and indeed walk out your front door in the morning without breaking half a dozen capriciously-applied laws and regulations. The only way to quintuple judicial spending for an aging population, with dramatically falling actual crime, is to invent more crime. Which our lords and masters in the legislative-judicial-penal complex have done, remorselessly. The actual reason they’re interested in restricting immigration (unlike the racist useful idiots we always hear) is because immigration is maintained by powerful economic incentives, and it didn’t wither away as soon as they started cracking down. Immigration restriction is destined to be a long-term profit center, like their popular Wars on Drugs and Terror and Other Nouns. As soon as they come up with a more felicitous aegis than “War on Voluntary Americans”, they’ll be golden.

  13. Sara Mayeux says:

    It’s interesting that Vargas mentions coming out of the closet because I think many immigration advocates could learn from success of the gay rights movement.

    They already have — DREAM Act activists and organizers have been “coming out” publicly as “undocumented and unafraid” for the past year or so. In the article, Vargas mentions those students as part of his inspiration for telling his story.

    You can Google “undocumented unafraid” for a bunch of links but the main organizing group I know of is the Immigrant Youth Justice League:
    http://www.iyjl.org/

  14. Andrew. says:

    Re: getting people to think about immigrants as human beings deserving of respect and fair treatment, you might be interested in this tv show that was screened here in Australia (we have a terrible anti-immigration political culture here) a few nights ago: http://bit.ly/io3sm6

  15. Todd says:

    The answer could not be simpler. Introduce a proper skilled migration visa. When a potential immigrant realises that all they have to do to find a better life in the US is go to school or learn a trade first, I cannot imagine that they would opt instead for a life of pathetically-paid sporadic manual labour and drug dealing across the Rio Grande. Doubly if you cut down on the incredible porousness of the US-Mexico border. Whilst you’re crying foul murder about the concept of ‘immigration reform’, all the skilled migrants that you could be using to get out of your economic slump are instead going to Canada and Australia.

    When you have eleven million undocumented foreigners residing in the US, excluded from education, work, or even learning your language – sure, some small percentage will, despite the odds, succeed and make something of themselves. Imagine having an equally strong, entirely legal, highly educated, skilled labour force instead.

  16. Lucas Lazor says:

    Jess: “The only way to quintuple judicial spending for an aging population, with dramatically falling actual crime, is to invent more crime. “

    There is more truth and insight in this single statement than most Americans can handle. The prison industrial complex, including the dramatic militarization of our civilian police entities, blossomed as we ramped up the war on drugs. Could it be that millions of Latin Americans fled their countries to avoid the bloodshed, corruption, and violence heaped upon them by the cartels enabled by our failed foreign policy?

    I cannot harbor ill will against those desperate humans who, with almost no hope of making a life in this world, scratch their way to our land of freedom. My great-great grandparents entered America (legally or not we’ll never know), leaving poverty, corruption, violence, and religious persecution in Bavaria, Austria-Hungary, Italy, and even Ireland. Who among us would not do exactly the same thing?

    That said, the beef seems to be a “free lunch”. Why not allow non-citizen visitors to register, work within the system (by submitting payroll taxes), and use that revenue to support the basic social safety net of education and healthcare?

  17. perlhaqr says:

    Kyle: This is why we have an immigration process. Before we had Medicare, Social Security, SCHIP, free lunch programs, we had a much more lax process, because any given immigrant’s maximum negative economic value to the country was limited.

    So, get rid of all of those programs which immorally transfer wealth, and then you can get rid of the laws that immorally restrict the ability of people to travel and work as they see fit to contract.

    Sounds like a double win to me.

  18. Marty says:

    fantastic article- we need to put the focus onto individuals and allowing people to pursue their dreams and happiness. As an exercise, I posed as a 22 yo Mexican man and tried to immigrate to the US. Impossible. I talked to the guy who owns a Mexican diner up the street- it took him years to get his paperwork in order and he used an attorney and is from a wealthy family.
    Again, good job!

  19. Mike T says:

    I’d like to see you address the arguments made by Vox Day. In fact, it would be interesting to see what would happen if you were to challenge him to a debate on immigration. Both of you are libertarians, but Vox Day rejects the argument that there exists a moral imperative on a community to let outsiders join it, even if they’re terribly oppressed. He also bases his opposition to large scale immigration on history which shows that any large scale movement of one people into the borders of another invariably results in cultural and political changes which are, in the long run, to the disadvantage of the original population.

  20. goober1223 says:

    “PJ Doland says:
    June 22, 2011 at 17:29

    What about the immigrants who follow the rules and deal with the legal bureaucracy? Are they being treated fairly by the line-jumpers?”

    It wouldn’t matter. My policy would be to allow all of them immediate work visas. All of them. If they don’t take it and they report for work then deport them. If they haven’t committed a felony before their work visa is up, give them citizenship. This way 90% or more of immigrants would start paying taxes right away and they would be free to work for whoever would hire them. Plus, they would have legal protection from exploitation. The only downside from an economic point of view is that prices would rise because these people would now at least be making minimum wage, which many don’t.

  21. ceanf says:

    not only will an e-verify system cause problems of illegal immigrant workers, it will also cause problems for many legal citizen workers as well. the error rate of an e-verify system has been estimate at around 10%. with the system being applied to millions of people, thousands of completely innocent, law abiding american citizens will have to fight a bureaucratic mess when the system rejects them even though they are clean. the worker, after losing a chance at a job due to being wrongly rejected, will then have to fight to clear their name in order to get a job at all. and getting off a government black list is extremely difficult… look at what it takes to get a child off of a no-fly list. the e-verify black list will be no different. the fact is a system such as is being proposed in congress will do much more harm than it would ‘good’

  22. Deoxy says:

    “Both of you are libertarians, but Vox Day rejects the argument that there exists a moral imperative on a community to let outsiders join it, even if they’re terribly oppressed.”

    That’s exactly the problem I have with the whole “open borders” crowd, or even the “compassion for our fellow human beings” crowd, which inevitably carries water for the former (even if they intentionally try not to).

    The “imaginary line” is the one that delineates WHO PAYS for stuff, WHO IS IN CHARGE of stuff, etc. It’s NOT “imaginary” at all – try committing a crime in Mexico and getting the police to do anything for you, for instance (not that US police are remotely perfect, mind you).

    A country has membership (“citizenship”), especially a democracy, and those members are RESPONSIBLE for the country (taxes, etc) and benefit from its values. They also get to choose who joins.

    The same concept as property rights, really. I just don’t understand why so many libertarians (who I generally agree with on so many topics) can’t seem to get this one.

    All of that said, out immigration system and policy are both unbelievably f—ed up. In fact, they seem designed to KEEP OUT those who are willing to follow the law (I have a foreign friend who tried it, and the stories and direct quotes from those involved are just mind-numbingly stupid).

  23. David says:

    At a start, in a functional system, which we don’t have, I would distinguish between those who came here as minors (i.e. brought by their parents), especially those brought when they were very young. Not their fault, and I would generally support amnesty/legal status for all such brought here as children (but not their parents, so the consequences of family separations would have to be considered…).

    However, the caveat is in a functional system. Most other Americans I’ve spoken with on this (I am American but currently live outside the U.S.) are hypocrites. They’re against illegal but have no problems paying cash to casual (undocumented) workers they hire to (sorry for being stereotypical here) help around the house, be nannies, do landscaping, reno, whatever. A functional system would not only have aggressive penalties on the books for hiring illegal aliens without due diligence, it would actively investigate and enforce those penalties, against both corporations and “the little guys”.

    I tend to think that a consequence of such diligent investigation and enforcement would be a hue and outcry by those like Georgia farmers currently, but unless or until one is willing to punish in more than a token or symbolic way a few token employers, the demand will continue to exist.

    Note also, unlike theft, murder, assault, which are moral wrongs as well as being illegal (I’m leaving aside self-defence or other exceptions) crossing a border without permission, doing work for a fair wage, using false ID for the purpose of such employment and no immoral purposes, etc. while illegal is not inherently morally wrong (in my view, something being legal one day and illegal the next due to e.g. legislative changes does not generally change the morality or immorality of the underlying action, though there are exceptions, I don’t think immigration is one of them).

  24. Jim Rodovich says:

    Kyle: The “moral basis” for denying just anyone to immigrate is that some people living in this country (including citizens, foreign nationals, and undocumented aliens alike) are a net negative on our government’s balance – they use more resources than they produce.

    That sounds like a practical justification rather than a moral one. Further, I think that’s to some extent just a pretext — people sit on wait lists for years and years irrespective of whether they’d most likely be net positives or net negatives to society. Surely not everyone on the wait list is severely retarded, has more kids than he/she can comfortably afford, etc.

    And since it’s a practical justification, I think we can look for other practical solutions. For example, perhaps we could require people to buy their own health & unemployment insurance before immigrating, and have them become eligible for the corresponding government services only after a few years living, working, and paying taxes here.

    I don’t understand your question about “what if Vargas had been hit by a car and suffered permanent brain damage”. I was born in Indiana; what if I had been hit by a car and suffered permanent brain damage? Maybe you’re concerned that his insurance company would have found a loophole through which to dump him if they learned he was undocumented? (I assume you’re not suggesting that new immigrants are more likely to be hit by cars — keep in mind he passed the test and got an Oregon license, and presumably he did have insurance.) But again that seems like a practical concern which doesn’t say much about how high or low our legal immigration quotas ought to be…

  25. While we may not have an obligation to let everyone in, we’re making ourselves poorer if we keep everyone out. We don’t have an obligation to let in plastics or electronics either, but it’s bad economics to prevent them from being imported. People are even better imports than consumer goods because they can produce things and create value.

    It’s true that some people would be a drain on government resources. Immigration policy should identify the few people who would be such a burden that they shouldn’t enter the country and let the others in, rather than try to guess who would be the most productive while keeping everyone else out. As Vargas’s story shows, the immigration authorities are really bad at selecting the most productive people.

  26. Suhm Dumgai says:

    I am not anti-immigration. My wife is a legal immigrant from the Philippines. Her parents and siblings all came in legally and she even served in the US Air Force to cement her citizenship. An Australian friend of mine just received permanent resident status. It took a while, but he persevered and succeeded. They followed the rules and are reaping the rewards.
    If there is a problem with the system, it can be fixed. Making your first act coming into the country a violation of its laws is not an auspicious start. Immigration is the backbone of our nation and has greatly enriched our culture. That said, the laws are there for a reason. We can only absorb so many new citizens at a time into the economy including those with needed skills and the proper regulation of the immigration flow is necessary. If the limits are too low at any given time, then they can be increased.
    Every nation has a right and responsibility to control its borders. Mexico does, Russia does, Britain does, the EU does, as do most nations. Open borders exposes us to external risks including criminals, terrorists and other enemies. Any nation that has truly open borders may not exist for long as a stable nation.
    Those entering the US illegally should not be allowed to utilize public services or obtain jobs. It doesn’t matter how long they have been here. I am not advocating draconian measures, but laws allowing unlawful immigrants to receive employment, public benefits and local rates for tuition only encourages more to follow that same path. We are a nation of laws. They should be applied equally without prejudice.

    Those lawful immigrants like my wife and friend are welcome members to our society. I welcome them and encourage people everywhere to come here legally or work towards replicating the success we have in the US in their homelands. The American Dream is alive and well all across this Earth.

  27. Sean L. says:

    Two things strike me about this discussion.

    1) It seems to me that it should be no harder to get a work permit than it does to get a licence for a handgun in California.

    2) For those who think immigrants ‘consume’ more government services than they ‘contribute,’ you make the perfect argument *against* government hand-outs.

  28. Difster says:

    While I could get behind the idea that anyone who was brought to the US illegal before they were 10 should be allowed a chance to become citizens since they had no control over the issue and they’ve been largely assimilated into American culture, I cannot support the idea of providing a path to permanent residency and/or citizenship for all of the millions of people who have come here illegally, consumed our resources and have been a net drain on our tax base.

    I am not a racist. In fact, I’m writing this from Mexico where I currently live (I’m a white American, as gringo as gringo can be). I have nothing against the people of Mexico (or other Latin American countries). They are not BAD people, etc. But there is no reason that people should be allowed to come to the United States whenever they want and force other Americans to subsidize their lives and that’s exactly what’s happening? How about compassion for the working families of America that face economic hardships because the welfare state has to support the kids of illegal immigrants? Or the fact that hospitals essentially face a huge unfunded liability because illegal immigrants go to the emergency room to be treated for every cough and cold because they know they will get treated and can walk out without providing any payment at all and knowing that they will never be tracked down.

  29. Milo says:

    So much for the “they only do jobs that Americans won’t do”. I’m sure there are plenty of out of work journalists that would do his job.

  30. Deoxy says:

    “I tend to think that a consequence of such diligent investigation and enforcement would be a hue and outcry by those like Georgia farmers currently, but unless or until one is willing to punish in more than a token or symbolic way a few token employers, the demand will continue to exist.”

    Until the whole system is fixed, the low wages allowed by “off the books” workers makes it extremely difficult in some industries to stay competitive (and thus stay in business) unless one makes use of those “lower wages” workers. As such, the fix would have to be systemic and forceful to be effective.

    Personally, I think it makes more sense to simply close the border properly, cutting off the source of more illegals, and let the ones already here work themselves out over time – that fixes the ongoing problem without a new power for/system by the government. It would also be less of a hit on our economy (instantly getting rid of those “lower wages” I was talking about), allowing us to absorb the change more naturally as the number of “off the books” workers declined over time.

  31. Hester says:

    Basically, Tim is implying that we are all ignorant, racist bigots if we are against ILLEGAL immigration and only he and those who think like him are compassionate, empathetic, and enlightened.

  32. Mike T says:

    A country has membership (“citizenship”), especially a democracy, and those members are RESPONSIBLE for the country (taxes, etc) and benefit from its values. They also get to choose who joins.

    The same concept as property rights, really. I just don’t understand why so many libertarians (who I generally agree with on so many topics) can’t seem to get this one.

    It’s because most libertarians believe that nations are nothing more than oppressive social constructs. On sites like Reason, you will frequently see libertarians devolve into using arguments that sound more at home with rabidly irrational gender studies departments than among people who are ostensibly rational and cognizant of human nature. The concept of national boundaries, for example, is hardly a social construct. It is practically primordial in human nature, as we are a highly territorial species. Probably one of the most territorial in the history of this planet. No other species is so jealous and envious of territory that it will wage the sort of wanton destruction in defense and advancement of it as ours except maybe the badger or wolverine.

    That many immigrants want to come here to be productive is beside the point. There must be more considerations for a free society than just a work ethic. Basic agreement with the culture and principles of that free society must take precedence over any economic consideration. There is no contradiction or hypocrisy in that; a free society has a moral right to disassociate itself with any applicant, no matter how hard-working or oppressed, who will not agree to adopt the norms of that free society as their own without reservation. So far, the illegal immigrant population has not done that. There exist countless examples showing that far from wanting to integrate, quite a large amount of these immigrants feel firmly and proudly part of their original culture. We ought to no more accept them than we should have embraced Russian immigrants in the Cold War who still enthusiastically embraced Communism. The difference, in terms of cultural preservation is simply one of degree, not kind.

  33. neil wilson says:

    I was born in New York City. My wife was born in Hiroshima. We got married in Texas when she was on vacation from work. Neither of us are terrorists. Neither of us have a police record. We both are college educated fluent English speakers with good jobs.

    If we decided to live in Japan then I could have joined my wife in 4 weeks. Instead, we had to wait 14 months, 14 LONG LONG MONTHS, before the ICE gave her a Green Card.

    If a very simple case takes 14 months then our immigration system is BROKEN.

    If the ICE blows up, you better check and see if I have an air-tight alibi.

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