Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Illegal Immigration & Objectivism

Rate this topic


Capleton
 Share

Recommended Posts

Illegal aliens on the other hand come here and work

illegally, have no intention of contributing, and send there money back to wherever it is they come from.  Many are politically motivated by their own governments such as MEXICO.

In addition to the other comments, I’d like to ask:

What you expect immigrants to “contribute” towards, if not their families? Do you consider their sending money to their family theft? From whom?

Why are you so concerned about their loyalties – do you expect them to start a revolution?

If these illegal come to America so they can work hard to send all their money to their families, how can they be the bloodthirsty seditionists you claim they are?

If coming the U.S. isn’t “good for them,” why do so many risk their lives doing so?

You mention that illegals have no resource to fraud at work – isn’t the proper recourse to remove restrictions on immigration?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

The United States of America has millions of “illegal aliens” (between 6 and 13 million, depending on who you ask). This group of people are currently working in the lowest paying, mostly menial jobs that most American citizens or legal residents don’t want to perform. I hear people blaming them for being here. That’s funny. As if these people come here and force employers to give them jobs! If you are serious about illegal immigration, then it would be a crime to hire illegal aliens. If there is anyone to blame about this situation is the people that hire illegal immigrants, not them. Stop the hypocrisy, for God’s sake! These people are here mainly because we like the benefits of their cheap labor. We like paying as little as possible for our home, our food, the mowing of our lawn and our stay at hotels, etc. Companies like hiring them because it keeps their costs down and their profits up. And you are kidding yourself if you think that only companies are benefiting from this. Without illegal aliens working for less money, these companies would have to shift us -their costumers- the costs associated higher wages.

This situation is not new. Throughout US history, immigrants have come here to work in the hardest, lowest-paying jobs. The deal was simple: you do all the shitty jobs and I give you an opportunity of a better future to your children. That promise was contained in the legality of their status in this country. If you had a job, you had that status. This would allow you eventually to advance in life. That was the story of Polish, Irish, Italians and countless others. It was know as “the American dream” and we felt proud of being part of it because it was a win-win arrangement.

Not any more.

The need for unskilled, low paid labor is still there. Like their predecessors, new immigrants are coming to the US to perform these jobs demanded by the US economy. By doing this, like before, they are contributing to keep the prices of goods and services low for the rest of us, just as we like it. They are also making possible the functioning and profitability of entire areas of the US economy in particular construction, agriculture and hospitality sectors. Higher profits please the stock market too. We like that.

But the old legal immigrants (citizens or legal residents) have decided to cheat the newer immigrants on the deal of the “American Dream”. First your representatives crafted immigration laws that make it practically impossible for unskilled, un-educated immigrants to get “legal status” in the US. Then they decided not to enforce them. Why would they? They do not want to risk stopping the flow of cheap labor that reduces prices and make possible the functioning of large parts of our economy. That would be stupid. We like that side of the bargain. About the other side? You know, the one that made possible for your great-grandfathers to dream the American dream? Well, we have decided to cheat them on that.

So, now we have created a sub-category of people, not even second class citizens but non existent for all legal purposes. For all matters -other than their work- they do not legally exist. We decided to cheat them out of the very deal that we, or our grandfathers were offered. For these new immigrants the American dream is more like a nightmare with abuse and deportation and the possibility of a life away from your family just around the corner. Maybe we don't like the color of their skin and this is just a racist position on our side. Maybe.

The final result is the same: on the one hand we benefit from the work of illegal immigrants. On the other, we have decided not to recognize them as equal human beings. The principles of equal dignity and inalienable rights are pure "blah-blah" for us now. We prefer to blame the immigrants for being here illegally, ignoring our role and our responsibility (as well as our benefits) in this situation. As if they got their jobs against the will of those employing them. As if those employing them didn't know they are illegal. Give me a break. What hypocrisy! If we were serious about enforcing immigration laws, we would make a crime to HIRE illegal immigrants and strictly enforce this.

I believe this situation to be immoral, and we (you and I, as well as the corporations and interest that benefit from it) to be guilty of not doing something to correct it.

The way I see this situation, there are only two ways for Americans to resolve this problem in a moral manner:

One alternative would be to enforce the immigration laws of this country by effectively closing our frontiers and deporting people living in the US illegally. For this we would first have to incur in the expense and trouble of getting and deporting all of them. All 6 to 13 millions of them. We should also fine or jail any employer that uses illegal immigration. Right now they have it easy: they can say “I didn’t know and it’s not my problem”. Well, we should then make it their problem and make the employment of illegal aliens illegal. Instead of blaming the aliens, we could share the blame with those employing them. We would also have to be decided to pay more for the goods and services we consume. More for our homes, more for our food, more for our hotel room. Also, if this has a catastrophic effect in the agriculture, construction and hospitality sectors (which will likely come to a halt) so be it. All this will make us stupid, but not hypocrites.

The other alternative is clear: if the US economy demands unskilled jobs that its citizens and legal immigrants are not willing to perform for low wages, then we’ll need to find ways to “legalize” undocumented aliens that have or get jobs in this country. And we should provide for a mechanism for filling future job vacancies with new immigrants if the US economy demands it. Not doing so is treason to the fundamental principles and values of this country. Keeping the current situation is immoral.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What hypocrisy! If we were serious about enforcing immigration laws, we would make a crime to HIRE illegal immigrants and strictly enforce this.

Well, I agree with your view on the immorality of immigration laws - but this alternative you offer is a false one, even for the sake of argument.

In Israel there are much stricter immigration laws, and they ARE enforced, with employers paying thousands of dollars in fines.

This is not more just, but less so. It's true that it is more consistent - but more consistently evil, at that.

Open immigration is the only moral solution.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow! 8 pages and nobody picked up on this?

As a general statement I would go beyond just life and death situations and extend it to include emergency situations with an appropiate level of harm. Even if I were not threatened with death, if I were injured late at night and there was some risk of permanent damage in waiting for an ambulance, I would not hesitate a second to break into a closed pharmacy to get whatever was needed to treat my injury. Of course, I would make whatever restitution would be required, and then some, but nevertheless in that sort of case I would break the law.

Stephen, are you saying you would knowingly and deliberately not just break a law but violate someone's rights? How does your unfortunate accident and/or your willingness to pay resititution give you the right to violate someone else's rights? It's still a rights violation and as a moral person you should not commit it under any cicumstances. I'm very confused about how this position is consistent with Objectivism and with respect for the rule of law. :confused:

As for the rule of law, I believe that rights are the primary, not the rule of law as such. If a law is immoral I have no hesitation about breaking it if I can get away with it. If that makes me an anarchist, so be it.

And on the original question of illegal immigrants, I think there should be open immigration but with border controls to screen out terrorists, criminals, etc. In order for that to work, there need to be strict penalties agaist those who try to evade the legal entry procedures.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow! 8 pages and nobody picked up on this?

Stephen, are you saying you would knowingly and deliberately not just break a law but violate someone's rights? How does your unfortunate accident and/or your willingness to pay resititution give you the right to violate someone else's rights? It's still a rights violation and as a moral person you should not commit it under any cicumstances. I'm very confused about how this position is consistent with Objectivism and with respect for the rule of law.  :confused:

This is an old (and long) thread and I am sure I discussed this issue in more detail in other posts than just the one you quoted. I really do not want to rehash my previous arguments, but as to consistency with Objectivism perhaps this might help. This is from a radio show with Ayn Rand dating back to the early 1960s, called Ayn Rand on Campus. It was broadcast by WKCR at Columbia University, and this one was titled "Morality, and Why Man Requires It."

Gerald Goodman: "Miss Rand, then you would say that a person who was starving, and the only way he could acquire food was to take the food of a second party, then he would have no right, even though it meant his own life, to take the food."

Ayn Rand: "Not in normal circumstances, but that question sometimes is asked about emergency situations. For instance, supposing you are washed ashore after a shipwreck, and there is a locked house which is not yours, but you're starving and you might die the next moment, and there is food in this house, what is your moral behavior? I would say again, this is an emergency situation, and please consult my article 'The Ethics Of Emergencies' in The Virtue Of Selfishness for a fuller discussion of this subject. But to state the issue in brief, I would say that you would have the right to break in and eat the food that you need, and then when you reach the nearest policeman, admit what you have done, and undertake to repay the man when you are able to work. In other words, you may, in an emergency situation, save your life, but not as 'of right.' You would regard it as an emergency, and then, still recognizing the property right of the owner, you would restitute whatever you have taken, and that would be moral on both parts."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's an interesting example from Ayn Rand. It doesn't explain, though, why an emergency allows you to violate someone's rights. I reread 'The Ethics Of Emergencies' in The Virtue Of Selfishness and it actually does not address this issue.

Let's make it a little clearer. Suppose the house is occupied. You ask the person for food but they refuse to give it to you. Can you take it from them by force, perhaps even injuring them, if you pay for their medical treatment later?

This is an old (and long) thread and I am sure I discussed this issue in more detail in other posts than just the one you quoted.

Actually, no, it never came up again in the thread. That's what I found so surprising.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are other options including student and H1B visas.  Also, someone can immigrate to Canada, where it's much easier to get citizenship, and then live in the US under NAFTA.  Those moves can keep someone in the USA long enough to meet and marry an American.  :confused:

Actually, no, NAFTA does not allow free movement between the US and Canada. A Canadian can go to the US as a tourist and try to meet an American to marry, but they cannot just move there permanently (not legally anyway; it's fairly common illegally).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's an interesting example from Ayn Rand. It doesn't explain, though, why an emergency allows you to violate someone's rights.

That is why morality is not based on emergency situations.

Let's make it a little clearer. Suppose the house is occupied. You ask the person for food but they refuse to give it to you. Can you take it from them by force, perhaps even injuring them, if you pay for their medical treatment later?
Let's cut to the chase and use the ultimate example, a lifeboat situation where it is your life or the life of an innocent other. In such a case Ayn Rand said, in the Q & A following her 1968 Ford Hall Forum speech, that "morality does not pertain to those situations and whichever he chooses to do is, in effect, right." Here is a part of something I wrote in another thread on the same subject.

"But morality is not some out-of-context absolute. The actions of a man in this life-or-death situation affect not only himself, but the life of an innocent other. In dealing with others morality teaches us that we must respect their individual rights, and the ultimate source of those rights is the right to one's own life. How can morality tell us how to act when the situation itself -- the innocent person's life or your own -- removes the very basis for morality? This 'lifeboat' situation is an anomaly, a unique, bizarre situation where the metaphysics has placed us outside the realm where morality applies, where the basis for a moral code to guide our actions in relation to others has been removed, i.e., where life as a standard of value and respect for that life in our dealings with others, cannot be achieved. That is why morality is based on the metaphysical nature of the world within which we live -- not on 'lifeboat' metaphysics -- and that is why either course of action -- your life or the life of the other -- can be considered to be a 'right' course of action."

Actually, no, it never came up again in the thread. That's what I found so surprising.

I have not looked through the many pages of this thread, so perhaps I misremembered that I discussed it in detail here. But it was discussed in some other threads in the "Ethics" forum.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But Stephen, the example you originally gave was not some bizarre extreme life-and-death lifeboat emergency. You said

"Even if I were not threatened with death, if I were injured late at night and there was some risk of permanent damage in waiting for an ambulance, I would not hesitate a second to break into a closed pharmacy to get whatever was needed to treat my injury."

So now we are talking about something that could happen quite easily in the course of a normal day. Why don't the Objectivist ethics apply? Why by the same token can't the unemployed just steal whatever they need to live, as long as they promise to pay for it later when they get a job? If we are going to bypass rights in every desperate situation we might as well just have a minimal welfare state as a last resort safety net. :confused:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But Stephen, the example you originally gave was not some bizarre extreme life-and-death lifeboat emergency.

Yes, but you escalated the scenario by talking about hurting another, so I cut to the chase with the ultimate emergency lifeboat situation of your life or the life of an innocent other.

You said

"Even if I were not threatened with death, if I were injured late at night and there was some risk of permanent damage in waiting for an ambulance, I would not hesitate a second to break into a closed pharmacy to get whatever was needed to treat my injury."

You left out the last sentence: "Of course, I would make whatever restitution would be required, and then some, but nevertheless in that sort of case I would break the law."

So now we are talking about something that could happen quite easily in the course of a normal day.

I do not know what a normal day in your life is like, but, thankfully, a normal day in my life does not include permanent damge to my being. :confused:

Why don't the Objectivist ethics apply?

But Ayn Rand explained in the radio quote I provided that the act of breaking in is not done as a matter of "right," but because it is an emergency where your life is at stake. When your life is at stake in an emergency you do what you can do to survive. In my own scenario I prefaced my remarks by saying "As a general statement I would go beyond just life and death situations and extend it to include emergency situations with an appropiate level of harm."

There is a certain similarity here to the concept of civil disobediance. Objectivism certainly states as a general principle that one should follow the law. Yet there are circumstances in which it would be proper to intentionally disobey the law through an act of civil disobediance, for the purpose, say, of testing the law. Such an act would be done with the full knowledge that one may have to pay the legal price if the law is upheld. Likewise, if your life is at stake, or, in my view, if some level of serious harm to you may incur, then it is proper to violate the property rights of another in order to save your life or save yourself from serious harm, with the knowledge that you will have to pay the price of your action.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stephen: “But Ayn Rand explained in the radio quote I provided that the act of breaking in is not done as a matter of "right," but because it is an emergency where your life is at stake.”

Rand does in fact claim that the act of breaking in is a matter of right: “…I would say that you would have the right to break in….”, but she, let’s say, corrects herself in the next sentence.

“Likewise, if your life is at stake, or, in my view, if some level of serious harm to you may incur, then it is proper to violate the property rights of another in order to save your life or save yourself from serious harm…”

So you agree that the right to life overrides at least some property rights. On that principle, it should be acceptable to, say, levy taxes for emergency medical procedures, or for the maintenance of the military during times of domestic and international crisis.

Other examples could include drought and hurricane relief, disease prevention, biosecurity at the borders and so on. In effect, the principle justifies a minimal welfare state. As for restitution, it need not be in cash. It could be in increased security for persons and property.

In order to head off this conclusion, you would need to delimit the principle in such a way that it could only apply in rare and unusual situations. That’s a pretty tall order.

Eddie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Eddie, an emergency is characterized by the fact that one cannot think long-term. One cannot think in principles. One must act, short-term, to avoid an immediate threat to one's life. There are no issues of right or wrong, rights, mind, and freedom, etc. There is only the issue of, can I surpass this obstacle without it killing me first? Principles are absolute - in their relevant contexts.

In situations where long-term thought is possible - it is necessary, and all the principles of ethics must be taken into account. Such a situation is not an emergency, and the ethics of emergencies do not apply to it. Out-of-context information must not override in-context information.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I need to think about this some more, but it sounds as if Stephen is saying that property rights are not an absolute; that in an emergency someone has the right to "borrow" my property. Does that mean I cannot defend my property against such a person? What if the person for whatever reason never pays me back?

Also, if we are going to have a right to "borrow" others' property in an emergency, shouldn't that be legal? We would have to have some law outlining exactly what are considered acceptable circumstances.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Y Feldblum: “Eddie, an emergency is characterized by the fact that one cannot think long-term. One cannot think in principles. One must act, short-term, to avoid an immediate threat to one's life. There are no issues of right or wrong, rights, mind, and freedom, etc.”

In the hypothetical example under discussion, the choice was between dying and violating a property right. Stephen said he would violate the property right in order to save his life. That reads like a principle to me.

One could also ask why Stephen would choose to save his life rather than preserve the sanctity of the property right. Surely that indicates that he values his life more than he values the property right, and isn’t that a moral judgement? I think it is.

In general, an ethic should apply to all situations, and across all contexts. If it does not do so, to that extent the ethic is flawed. In effect, you are suggesting that when the going gets tough, ditch the ethic. But one cannot pick and choose when to apply a standard and then claim that the ethic on which the standard is based is valid.

Eddie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Eddie, are you going to analyze the basic facts of human existence, or are you going to take Stephen's word for it?

Human knowledge is in the form of contextually absolute principles - principles which apply to all concrete instances within a particular context.

Ethics is absolute in its context: long-term normal life. Ethics does not apply outside its context: short-term emergencies. The reason is: the nature of emergencies is that, as immediate threats, they preclude thinking long-term, ie, in principles.

No principle applies to all situations across all contexts. All principles, including ethics, apply only to their appropriate contexts.

BTW, what Stephen said was not a principle, because he said it about one specific case only.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

y Feldblum: “Eddie, are you going to analyze the basic facts of human existence, or are you going to take Stephen's word for it?”

I’m not taking anyone’s word for anything, merely analysing an argument.

”Ethics is absolute in its context: long-term normal life.”

Once again, you are delimiting the scope of ethics. And what do you mean by “long-term normal life”? If I have a terminal illness, does that mean I can discard ethics, since they’re not much use in prolonging my life?

”BTW, what Stephen said was not a principle, because he said it about one specific case only.”

In an earlier post, you claimed, in relation to this example: “One must act, short-term, to avoid an immediate threat to one's life.” That also sounds like a principle, a paraphrase of: “a value is something one acts to gain or keep”.

Why “must” one act to avoid an immediate threat to life? Isn’t it because you regard life as a value to be preserved, even in the short term? If not, why act to preserve it?

Eddie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 10 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Back to the main topic for a moment:

STAY AND FIGHT!

By draining the world of it's best and brightest are we hurting our security? To what extent should we control immigration, for selfish reasons, on the grounds that the immigrants should stay and ease the westernization of their cultures. To what extent might it be better to tell the elites of other nations to "Stay and fight!" for what is ultimately our security, over allowing them to come and add to our abundant prosperity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

By draining the world of it's best and brightest are we hurting our security? To what extent should we control immigration, for selfish reasons, on the grounds that the immigrants should stay and ease the westernization of their cultures. To what extent might it be better to tell the elites of other nations to "Stay and fight!" for what is ultimately our security, over allowing them to come and add to our abundant prosperity.
We should always do things for selfish reasons: to act otherwise is suicide. Your question is only a bit about selfishness, in that you're saying that (perhaps) others should self-sacrifice for the betterment of their tribe. So that addresses the draining issue. Apart from the nonce issue of needing to exclude terrorists bent on destroying our way of life, there is no rational reason whatsoever to prohibit people from moving to the US. It is the law, yet it should not be. So change the law.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What gives you the right to tell someone else to stand and fight?

Why not? Explain what you mean. Is there a political right to come to the United States? Enlighten me.

My perspective is this: what gives you the right to deny my control over who can join the citizenry legally and who can't?

Presumably I can deny entry to people who don't have a job. That is the standard Oist position on the subject. But what is to say that these people weren't honestly intending to self-suffice in the wilderness? There have to have been one or two. So they too have been arbitrarily rebuffed for security fears.

Again, my question is, from a *selfish*, not an altruist perspective, why don't we keep the best and brightest where they will stay and fight for what is ultimately our security in their own Muslim countries?

We should always do things for selfish reasons: to act otherwise is suicide. Your question is only a bit about selfishness, in that you're saying that (perhaps) others should self-sacrifice for the betterment of their tribe. So that addresses the draining issue. Apart from the nonce issue of needing to exclude terrorists bent on destroying our way of life, there is no rational reason whatsoever to prohibit people from moving to the US. It is the law, yet it should not be. So change the law.

I am positing a rational reason. Draining people from Iran and Afghanistan and India is hurting our security. We are taking wave after wave of potential founding fathers and allowing those countries to decay into the horrendous states they are today. Or aren't we? That is the issue I want to discuss.

Edited by unskinned
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am positing a rational reason. Draining people from Iran and Afghanistan and India is hurting our security. We are taking wave after wave of potential founding fathers and allowing those countries to decay into the horrendous states they are today. Or aren't we? That is the issue I want to discuss.
I am not allowing anything, except people to live their lives rationally. I do not propose that we force bright minds from India and Iran (no comment about Afghanistan) to leave their countries against their will, any more than I want to force bright Japanese, Norwegian or English people to leave their countries to live here, if they don't want to. I am simply saying that we should not force people who happen to be Norwegian or Indian to sacrifice themselves on some grotesque altruistic funeral pyre for the sake of The Motherland. If you think that India poses an imminent threat to the security of the US and should be obliterated, make the case. Personally, I think that's nuts, but whatever.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Presumably I can deny entry to people who don't have a job. That is the standard Oist position on the subject.
No it isn't.

This current thread does not cover the the topic of proper immigration rules very well. I suggest you check out this other thread (link).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...