Monday, May 04, 2015

Thinking About Immigration Policy

Source: Pew Research Center

What are the concerns that should guide the reform of immigration policy:

  • Legal Rights: The law should not be changed to deprive citizens of legal rights which they already possess.
  • Human Rights: There are human rights that would seem to overlap, but not be exactly equivalent to legal rights. Thus a child brought illegally to the USA, who is educated here (with the full formal and informal indoctrination towards being an American) might have a human right to citizenship but not a legal right.
  • Responsibilities incurred by the government: U.S. military incursions into foreign countries seem always to recruit nationals of those countries to serve the USA; if there are sanctions and retaliations against such people, then perhaps the country has a responsibility to grant them residence or citizenship. How about the people in Mexico and Central America who are threatened by a culture of violence that has developed as a result of U.S. drug and gun policies? Does the USA have responsibilities to protect them? Even to the point of granting U.S. residence or citizenship?
  • National Interests: There are many jobs that can not be filled in the USA due to lack of people living here with the right skills or abilities; it is in the national interest to allow immigration of people who can fill those jobs. So too, it is in the national interest to allow immigration of people who can create good new jobs, such as those who could create new businesses or those who could advance useful technologies.
  • Humanitarian concerns: It is generally conceded that countries should grant amnesty to refugees who are fleeing persecution. So too, there is an argument to grant immigration rights to others, such as those seeking medical attention that is available here but not in their home countries.
Generally, do we not believe that rights trump interests? 

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