Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Good Samaritan rescuers arrested

There are many questions I have about the justness of U.S. immigration policy. One of these is how to argue that the funneling of Mexican migrants through the desert in order to discourage illegal border crossings is simply wrong.

Can you argue this without a complex economic argument? To oversimplify, because as usual, I need to do my real work--is it simply wrong?

The immigration policy leads to death. Rather horrifying death, in fact. Dying of heat exhaustion in the desert or in the trunk of a car is not a pretty thing. Yet, for each person that dies it can be said that they took a risk--there is some sort o informed consent. It is unlikely that they have no idea what might face them--although one expects they underestimate the risk. It's shocking to think they are in a situation where that risk is worth it, given their other options. But people constantly take those sorts of risks when they are poor. They work in mines or with lead paint or contaminants or do sex work when AIDS is prevalent. Those harms are often attributable to unjust economic structures--so is the death of the migrants in the desert.

So maybe it takes some kind of economic argument after all. Perhaps not a highly complex one. As much as I believe that the poverty in Mexico and Central America is tied to U.S. economic policy, I am doubtful that it is an easy thing to prove. I'm not sure it is provable. I'm not sure it is possible to prove to even a reasonable skeptic many of the claims of global justice activists with respect to clear causal connections to wealth countries in every case of poverty in the global south.

This is sort of prima facie reasoning on my part--a worry about disentangling causes. There's certainly correlations and then inference to the best explanation--maybe you can go that route. How much economics machinery does one need there?


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