America and immigrants

Why is it that a country of immigrants, and lets face it we are all immigrants to this country whether recent or from a very long time ago, some of us willing and others of us unwilling conscripts,  have such a disdain for today’s immigrants?  The deaths of immigrants while under federal government custody is a stain upon the tradition of America and its rule of law.  It is unconscionable that people are left to die in federal immigration detention facilities yet there seems to be a pattern of such abuse taking place on our shores.


10 Responses to America and immigrants

  1. It’s a good question. America’s not the odd one out here. Migrants are dieing in detention or trying to cross borders all over the world. Many of them are trying to escape death or misery at home. The problem is we think that its not a violation of human rights to discriminate against foreigners. It is.

  2. miscellany101 says:

    You make very good points. The recent tragedy off the coast of Libya is an example of other places where immigrants have died crossing borders from one country to another. I happen to think however that we are better than Libya and am disappointed by our reaction to the presence of immigrants in our country.

  3. jonolan says:

    At one point – a fair amount of time ago – immigrants were useful to America. That is very much no longer the case – unless you accept the near slave-labor industry of illegal immigrant agro-workers as a practice worthy of sustaining.

    Why would anyone want them in our country, since they serve little or no positive purpose in it? Since the government, in its infinite stupidity, won’t close the borders it is left to the People to make these interlopers unwelcome.

    Your saddened by the foreign invaders’ treatment. I’m saddened and enrage by anyone who claims to be an American putting foreigners and their interests ahead of Americans.

  4. Jonalan, why assume that everyone who speaks in the blogosphere is American? Let’s assume instead, for the purposes of discussion, that I am a fictional foreigner “Juan” who would like to live in your country. I might respond to your post like this.

    You wrap yourself in the American flag but America, the way you talk about it, seems to end up being some kind of exclusive club operated for the benefit of its current members – right or wrong. Is that America? I understood America was an idea which looking at your Declaration of Independence goes something like this:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    Very well. I like this idea. I assert that I too am equal and that my Creator has endowed me with freedom and the right to pursue happiness. He has made me equal to you. I have an inalienable freedom to enter your country and have an equal right to live there and to pursue happiness among you. Further I read in your Declaration of Independence that among the evil things King George did, against whom the founders of America complained, was preventing immigration to America.

    In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which one of your greatest citizens, Eleanor Roosevelt, helped to bring into being (influenced in part by your Declaration of Independence) there is the same idea: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Everyone is entitled to the rights in the Declaration without any distinction, including the distinction of nationality.

    Further I question your claim that your ancestors happened to be useful immigrants, while me and “my kind” would not be. It is unfair to label one such as me an “invader”. This unfairly attacks my reputation. If your laws breach the standards America upholds it is clear where the “wrong” is. I am sorry if such discussion causes you anger and sadness, but again I understand that in America free speech is given the highest value. You should therefore celebrate the right of every person, American or not, to set forth their ideas.

    In terms of whether immigration is a net good or a net bad have a look at. This is a reasoned discussion of the effects of immigration. If this is right it makes all the human rights violations that goes with locked borders (not just in America but around the world) all the more tragic. There was never any need for it. Even if it’s wrong, how do you justify violating anyone’s human rights, unless you’re happy to ditch the idea that we’re all equal?

  5. jonolan says:

    That’s a laughable response. No foreigner has any right to enter America; doing so is a privilege that must be earned – as would be my attempting to migrate to another country, if I were so inclined to attempt such a thing.

  6. This is really the question: if we are all created equal, if we all have a right to the pursuit of happiness, then the right to live any place we choose in order to realise those things follows as a conclusion. Universal human rights recognise the right to freedom of movement – the right to leave any country – which is meaningless if all other countries close their borders. You don’t have to do anything to be entitled to human rights – you just have to be a human being. (Human rights also recognise responsibilities, everyone has duties to the community, but not as a condition of having rights).

    However, if we accept your argument, what do you need to do to “earn the privilege”? How is it possible for your average foreigner to meet the criteria? Do native born get a “free pass”? i.e. is such an idea ‘fair’ or ‘unfair’? It still sounds like the club concept – you pay your dues you get through the club door.

  7. jonolan says:

    The right to live any place we choose does NOT follow as a conclusion. The right of freedom of movement only applies to protection against being forced to stay where you are by your own government; it does not in any way force any other state to accept your presence.

    But you won’t listen or understand. You’re against the very concept of nations.

  8. I fear you tire of this exchange. Fair enough. So far you have not been able to provide a justification for discrimination against foreigners. That is not surprising as there is no justification. As to the nation, that is an entirely different topic. This is about how “states” behave … what I’m interested in is how people treat each other. As to freedom of movement even human rights law agrees with your point (unfortunately). From an ethical viewpoint however there is no difference between a government saying “you can’t leave” and “you can’t enter”: both unfairly interfere with freedom and a person’s right to seek to live in dignity for themselves and their family. It’s no less oppressive to the people involved in either case.

  9. jonolan says:

    Ethically it is the duty of governments to serve the will and interests of their own people, not foreigners.

    The simple justification for my reasoning is that people have the right to protect their own culture and their own way of life. Many, though not all, immigrants today both represent a drain on resources since they have few or no skills useful to America – or any other civilized nation – and a threat to culture of America since they seem incapable or unwilling to fully assimilate into American culture.

    Again, if they’re useful – and we can’t find an America to be of that use – and are willing to assimilate, I have no problems with them coming here.

    They’re “right” to move around doesn’t NOT trump my right to a safe environment unplagued by parasites and ghettos filled with foreigners.

  10. miscellany101 says:

    There is no one American culture; there is an American system of codified law, some of which has already been mentioned. It is what should be protected. It is therefore, timely to post this current news story here:

    Citizens held as illegal immigrants
    In a drive to crack down on illegal immigrants, the United States has locked up or thrown out dozens, probably many more, of its own citizens over the past eight years. A monthslong AP investigation has documented 55 such cases, on the basis of interviews, lawsuits and documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. These citizens are detained for anything from a day to five years. Immigration lawyers say there are actually hundreds of such cases.
    It is illegal to deport U.S. citizens or detain them for immigration violations. The result is the detention of citizens with the fewest resources: the mentally ill, minorities, the poor, children and those with outstanding criminal warrants, ranging from unpaid traffic tickets to failure to show up for probation hearings. Most at risk are Hispanics, who made up the majority of the cases the AP found.

    “The more the system becomes confused, the more U.S. citizens will be wrongfully detained and wrongfully removed,” said Bruce Einhorn, a retired immigration judge who now teaches at Pepperdine Law School. “They are the symptom of a larger problem in the detention system. … Nothing could be more regrettable than the removal of our fellow citizens.”

    and on and on the article goes and it makes this point, that if we are a system of laws that are to mean something, then their application should be uniform and valueless. The biggest threat to the American way of life is the abandonment of the rule of law.

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