Is Immigration Really a Right?

The immigration debate seems to boil down to this: Do illegal immigrants come first? Or does America come first?

Those who argue that immigrants come first are disingenuous and completely dishonest. They claim to care about helping the needy, and perhaps some do. But the people in charge (Hillary, Obama, all the rest) only wish to gain more votes, because of their confidence that millions of illegal immigrants granted amnesty will show gratitude for the instant citizenship and government benefits that follow (as they probably will.)

Those who argue that the country comes first talk about the rule of law, the need to take care of American citizens’ needs first, and not to sacrifice the rights or needs of law-abiding citizens for the sake of others who are not legal citizens. These are all valid points and arguments. But they don’t get to the core of the issue.

Actually, in a free country, there is no battle between the rights of “the country” and the rights of citizens, whether those citizens are immigrants or not. In a free country, what matters above all else are the rights of the individual. The country exists, with its Constitution and hopefully constitutional republic, to uphold the rights of the individual, first, foremost and only. Individuals don’t serve the country; the country serves the rights of the individual, i.e., the equal rights of all individuals.

The best way to fight Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s desire to let a deluge of immigrants into the country is to invoke the rights of the individual. Yes, of course it’s wrong to let people into the country without vetting them. Why? Because it risks violating the rights and safety of the individual. You can let in terrorists and other dangerous people who threaten the life and property of existing citizens. Yes, the existing citizens of the free country (assuming it is a free country) come first.

The Obama and Hillary Clinton people speak and act as if citizenship is a right merely because some immigrant has a need. If you need a better place to live, and the United States is still better than just about anywhere on earth, then you automatically have a right to live here because of that need alone. False. Nobody has a right to something just because it’s good, and just because it’s there. Does somebody have a right to your home, or your car, or your pets, just because they want and need what you have?

But to be fair, it’s the same argument they make when expanding social welfare benefits for citizens, as progressives have done for decades. “Some have a need. Others have the ability to pay. Therefore, those who don’t have an ability to pay will be covered by those who do.” Call it socialism, call it communism, call it progressivism. It doesn’t matter. It’s still wrong, because it makes some individuals slaves to others.

When government may tell one citizen to pay for the health care, tuition, bank bailout, free cell phones, football stadium, schooling, or food stamps of another, the basic rights of the first citizen have been violated. When a country permits this to happen for generations on end, it’s only a matter of time before that government says, “You’re not just responsible for your neighbor, or for someone else across the country. You’re responsible for the entire planet. Now pay up!” We have reached the point where productive and working American citizens are now expected not just to take care of the entire country, but the entire world. It was the inevitable logical endpoint of a mistaken, irrational premise. Yes, people are angry and with good reason. But do they know why they should be angry?

The issue is not “globalism.” There’s nothing wrong with free trade and free enterprise across an entire planet. And immigration (leaving aside the obvious need to rule out terrorists or criminals) is no threat to a free country where nobody is forced to pay the way of others. The issue we should be fighting is global socialism. First we have to reverse course on all the socialism at home.

The false idea that need (real or alleged) automatically bestows a political right is what gave rise to our $20 trillion debt-laden welfare-corporatist-collectivist-socialist state. Now the very same premise and principle is applied to immigrants. Legal or illegal is less the point. “They need, therefore they will get.” Who pays? You, but only if you’re productive, hard-working and successful. Not only if you live in Connecticut and they live in Iowa, Texas or Oregon; but even if they live in Central America or Africa, and just happened to sneak over the border.

“Brother’s keeperism” is the false idea we should be fighting. Illegal immigration is only a symptom of the deeper problem. The deeper problem is caused by the false belief that man is his brother’s keeper, and that government has the right to impose this obligation forcibly on citizens. Until people rise up and reject this idea, completely and as a matter of principle, nothing will ever change.

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