Saturday, May 27, 2006

Just Immigration

What would a just immigration policy look like? In what ways is the U.S. immigration policy unjust?

Five Possibilities

1. Exclusions on membership are themeselves unjust. This could be either (a) The idea that borders themselves lack moral status (b) Once people are here they should be granted the same civic status as everyone else given certain things about participation (so obviously tourists would not have this status). Or (c) Something else because I'm tired and can't remember what it is.

2. Immigrants lack due process in hearings?

3. U.S. is responsible for poverty, corruption, social breakdown in some countries with high levels of undocumented in U.S. Most obviously true for El Salvador but arguably for all of Latin America and some of Africa. Not that plausible when it comes to China.

4. The U.S. sets up enforcement in a particular way that means immigrants risk their lives to get here. People are driven to take risks based on desperation and the U.S. maximizes their risks.

5. Issue of refugees generally. We might need to take on many more political cases than we do. Have we illegitimately restricted the number of people we take on political grounds?

There are probably more. I need to think this through much more.

God, this is why I want to go to law school. There's so much that would be easier to research if I had a knowledge of how to do legal research. I can't believe I'm even saying that. But it's true.

I'm not sure any of these are true. I have this gut feeling that there is something terribly morally wrong with someone dying crossing the desert because they wanted to get to the U.S. to work washing dishes in a restaurant. Is it just the complex economic case of global inequality or are there more specific things about the immigration policy that make it wrong.


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