We’ve been hearing about our porous southern border for several months, at least on some media outlets. Most coverage focuses on a comparison between Trump’s and Biden’s immigration policies, organized drug and human smuggler rings, and the lack of COVID-19 testing for recent illegal arrivals. Several reports show that when the federal government does get involved dealing with the deluge of caravans crossing the border, one of its favorite practices seems to be shipping illegal immigrants around the country to places like Florida.
Conservative commentators like Tucker Carlson have warned that the Biden Administration is replacing its voter base with illegal immigrants because even left of center Americans have had it with the destructive woke policies of the radical Democrats running the party. New York City is currently debating a measure that would allow non-citizens to vote in its local elections. Some places in California already do this. The U.S. Constitution only explicitly forbids non-citizens voting in federal elections, but when local and federal races are on the same ballot, how can that be enforced when voter ID laws are taboo in blue states, as is asking someone’s legal status?
Some say any criticism of illegal immigrants or the current immigration policies (or lack thereof) is a form of racism and xenophobia. The race and ethnicity of illegal immigrants, which runs the gambit, is not the issue; rather, it’s not knowing who’s coming into our country. The best-case scenario is that a large influx of immigrants will radically change our culture. The worst- case scenario is that nefarious forces are coming here to undermine or even dismantle our systems.
You may have heard all of this before. So, what should we be saying about illegal immigration that we’re not talking about? Here it is:
The Right to Self-Determination
According to the United Nations, each people group has the right to self-determination, which is kind of like the prime directive in Star Trek. Essentially, it means that a people group has a right to determine its own political, social, and economic destiny without undue and unwanted foreign interference. And while our country is more diverse and pluralistic than most, the American people are still a sovereign people who have the right to self-determination free from foreign interference. To be clear, foreign interference ranges from other states tampering with our elections to large groups of people illegally entering our country and changing our way of life.
The United States like other countries does permit legal immigration and the naturalization of new citizens who are vetted and assimilated enough to succeed. And here American citizens’ representatives craft these policies with public approval based on economic need and the availability of other resources. What’s more, the rights and recognition of those who come to the United States increase the more they commit to the state, as it should. As an American, I shouldn’t be able to go to a country in Asia unlawfully and demand full citizenship rights because I think I’d be better off there than here. I would need to go through the proper legal channels to do that.
Thousands of illegal immigrants enter the U.S. on a weekly basis is nothing short of an invasion that violates American sovereignty and will violate our right to our own culture and way of life. And to be clear, this has nothing to do with “whiteness” because many cultures have contributed and assimilated into Americanism over time with the consent of the public.
Given the volume and diversity of these illegal immigrants, the cultural changes they bring won’t be slow or consensual. And I’m willing to bet that indigenous communities throughout America will be expected to conform to these new groups, not the other way around. It’s also likely that these groups will maintain their own cultures (and even legal codes) and form shadow mini-nations across the U.S. If you think we’re divided now, you haven’t seen anything yet.
Social Contract and Immigration
Social contract theory is an Enlightenment concept that contends that governments and their citizens are bound to each other through a mutually beneficial “social contract” that defines the power of the government and the rights of the citizens. A government must respect the rights of its citizens and protect those citizens from other citizens as well as itself. Citizens must respect the authority of the state and cannot exercise their rights in ways that violate the rights of others.
So, what does the social contract theory have to do with immigration? First, Americans have legal obligations to their government and fellow citizens that illegal immigrants do not. Americans compel the state to protect them from rights infringements, must abide by the laws which their representatives created, and have means to affect policies in the open where ideas can be debated. Illegal immigrants usually have to live in the shadows and tend to be so afraid of the state’s deportation powers that they will not seek state protection when it is needed. Also, those here unlawfully should have no say in the laws because that right is reserved for citizens who have a generally permanent and ongoing relationship with the state.
This places illegal immigrants in a quasi-stateless condition in which the state doesn’t formally recognize their right to be in the U.S., they must weigh taking crimes committed against them to the police against the possibility of deportation, and most cannot meaningfully participate in the political system. If they pay taxes instead of working under the table, they have to break more laws like using stolen social security numbers and lying on applications to do so. The more they want to participate in the American economic and political life, the more they have to break laws, which places them in an increasingly criminal position.
None of this is good for law abiding Americans, illegal immigrants living in the shadows, and those who get away with taking advantage of or committing crimes against the undocumented.
Solving the Problem
There’s a point at which policy reform is less about reversing the effects of a bad policy and more like an act of political triage. Immigration courts are so overwhelmed (because we actually give all people due process while some countries won’t even do that for their own citizens), as are detention centers, so most illegal immigrants who cross the southern border are given a summons order over 90% ignore. And it’s not just family units entering our country. Drugs, gang members, violent criminals, and human smugglers with minors (many of whom are sexually abused on their journey) they falsely claim as their children also flood across the border.
So, in a triage situation, the first step is to stop the bleeding. In my humble opinion, we should shut down our southern border immediately to all except American citizens who can definitively prove their citizenship.
But a border shut down won’t be enough. The United States has been derelict in its duty to enforce its own laws for years, so millions of illegal immigrants have already peacefully integrated into our society. Pulling these people out of the country would do too much damage. And granting full amnesty for all illegal immigrants would undermine the legal immigration process and create a moral hazard situation.
The way I see it is we need to have a more comprehensive view of the problem and see how everyone, immigrant to American, is negatively affected by the status quo. With an open border, we should have a relatively clear view.