Salon has published an eye-opening article addressing the issue of illegal aliens from a very sympathetic, left-wing, liberal perspective. The author has given us a road-map for how progressives want to use civil rights as a wedge to influence the immigration debate. Here's a brief excerpt from his very long article. Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.
Immigration is and always has been a civil matter; it is not a crime to be present without authorization. We have in essence two sets of laws, one for immigrants, who do not have the rights of defendants when charged with “crimes,” and one for everyone else. The only solution to this anomaly is to cease treating immigration violations as crimes and to completely end detention for immigration. If an immigrant commits a crime, he or she should be prosecuted under normal laws, as a criminal defendant not as a “criminal alien.”
Ultimately, the only solution is to reduce the complexities, to end the web of regulations and exceptions — which, just as in corporate law, favor the powerful at the expense of the weak — and to finally shed immigration laws altogether.
Immigration should become a purely voluntary affair, no different than filing taxes. We trust citizens to do that, reporting millions of dollars in income. So why can’t we trust people to report their status and file for changes based on equities they have built in our community? As soon as a person steps on our soil, he or she should have full constitutional rights, so as to not be subject to exploitation. Why can’t we visualize immigration without government regulation?
. . .
Migration is a human right. A person anywhere in the world has the right to migrate, just as there is a right to free speech or association. In fact, most other rights follow from the right to migrate. If governments are allowed to lock up people behind walls, then it’s only a matter of time before other rights will dissipate, too. If we do not recognize migration as an inviolable human right, and if we do not give up the idea of the wall, we are bound to lose human rights for all of us.
American citizenship, by having become associated with the hypernationalist project, will at first look enviable and untouchable, but ultimately will be so cheapened as to be worth nothing. For the courts, as they face the Trump assault, the challenge is clear: Do away with the plenary power doctrine and extend full constitutional rights to immigrants. Rights should depend on personhood not citizenship, as some of our best legal minds have recognized throughout our history.
One thing that would strongly push the country in the opposite direction than the one Trump intends is for individual states, particularly progressive states in the West or Northeast, to pass laws as favorable to immigrants as the ones in Arizona, Georgia and Alabama have been unfavorable. What if, say, California were to pass legislation extending full human rights to all people present in the state? That would set up a historic confrontation, bringing out all the anomalies in our inhuman immigration regime for due public consideration. “Sanctuary” would become a constructive, constitutional, universal concept, not a purely reactive one against police powers.
. . .
We deserve to be here because we have a human right to be, just as we accepted this in the centuries preceding racist federal bureaucracies. We are here because we are humans, not because of our utility toward someone else’s comfort.
There's much more at the link. It's heavy going, because it's full of left-wing liberal shibboleths, but it outlines the way these people think, so it does have value from the perspective of "know your enemy".
Let's look more closely at the points I underlined.
- Immigration is and always has been a civil matter; it is not a crime to be present without authorization. - Nonsense! Of course it's a crime! It's a violation of US law. By definition, to violate the law makes one a law-breaker: a.k.a. a criminal. The logic is straightforward, but the author is choosing to ignore it because he disagrees with the law(s) concerned.
- Immigration should become a purely voluntary affair, no different than filing taxes. - Given how much cheating takes place concerning taxes (which is why we have a bloated, gargantuan IRS bureaucracy to fight the cheaters), it doesn't give me any great confidence that immigration will meet with any less disregard for the law.
- Migration is a human right. - Bull! Human rights have varied according to our understanding over the centuries. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights does not mention 'migration' as one of them. Modern progressives (funded by such paragons of virtue as George Soros) want to add it to the list, but there's no real, definitive reason why it should be there - just wishful thinking. As has been pointed out more than once, if your "right" requires someone else to pay for it, it's not a "right" as such, but an imposition. Also, there are differences between individual rights and collective rights. Your individual right may run headlong into my individual right - as in, why should I pay for your healthcare? Collective rights are an attempt to answer such arguments, by asserting that some rights are so important that the community assumes the collective burden of paying for them (as in, say, welfare, or food stamps, or subsidized education). However, should the community also assume the burden of paying for those rights for those who are not legally members of that community (e.g. illegal aliens)? My answer is an emphatic NO! Progressives, needless to say, will disagree.
- In fact, most other rights follow from the right to migrate. - Again, bull! Many human rights were identified and codified long before anyone thought of a "right to migrate". This statement is blatant propaganda, and blatantly false. In what way does your right to life follow from your right to migrate? It should rather be the other way around, in that, if you can't survive where you are, there should be some way to help you do so - either by bringing what you need to you, or allowing you to flee to an area where what you need is available. That doesn't necessarily imply migration, either. Status as a refugee is usually temporary, and does not entitle one to settle permanently in a new area. Almost always, one will be required to go back whence one came as soon as circumstances permit.
- Rights should depend on personhood not citizenship - That is already the case, as recognized in the UDHR. However, rights within a nation's borders are subject to the authority of that nation's government (which is required, as part of customary international law, to recognize and support them). That government applies those rights to its citizens, and those who are legally present. It is under no obligation to extend them to those who are not legally present. The latter are, by definition, criminals (see the first point above); and, like other criminals who are US citizens, they are subject to the forfeiture (temporary or permanent) of some or all of their civil and human rights (e.g. the right to vote, the right of freedom of movement or association, etc.). They may expect humane treatment, but only insofar as their criminal status merits it. That's the way it is, for our citizens as well as illegal aliens.
- “Sanctuary” would become a constructive, constitutional, universal concept, not a purely reactive one against police powers. - The word 'sanctuary' has a defined meaning. It is not a place where one may flout the law with impunity; it's a place where, after having flouted the law, one seeks refuge. The sanctuary itself is not a place where one may continue to flout the law! - yet, by definition, that's what 'sanctuary cities' offer; a place where illegal aliens may continue their illegal activities, without fear of the consequences. Sorry. That's illogical, and makes no sense whatsoever. It's got nothing to do with what 'sanctuary' is supposed to be.
- We deserve to be here because we have a human right to be - see the third point above. No, illegal aliens do not have a human right to be here. They may ask to be granted that right. They may not demand it as a right in and of itself, merely because they are human beings.
This article illustrates precisely why progressive activists around the country are so wound up about President Trump's moves to enforce the immigration authority of the United States government against those who flout it. Its headline also says a great deal:
That's it, right there. Immigration is merely a tool in the progressive toolbox, another way to defeat Trump and change the world into what they want it to be. It's a means of applying pressure. It's not an end in itself, as far as they're concerned; it's a means to an end.
These people are insane. Flatly insane. They'll gleefully admit anyone and everyone to this country, in the name of human rights, despite the known and demonstrable risks to the safety and security of every one of us, and the intolerable burdens illegal immigration puts upon our economy, and upon every taxpayer, and upon every American who wants a job, but can't get one, because an illegal alien is taking it from him at a lower wage than the American would accept.
Illegal immigration is a clear and present danger to the safety, security and economic well-being of America and all Americans. It must be stopped. Period. The views of the author of the above article demonstrate precisely why that's so important. They must not be allowed to prevail.