Friday, July 18, 2014

The Humane and the Rule of Law

At NRO, I make the case for the notion that defending the rule of law can be allied to humanitarian principles for immigration policy.  Ignoring the law has helped create the shadows that allow predators to exploit human misery and desperation.

Illegal immigrants enter into this country in a state of abstracted legal, but less immediately actual, peril. The odds that an illegal immigrant will be deported once he or she makes it into the interior of the country are vanishingly small, but there is still a chance – saying “you can (probably) stay” is different from saying “you can certainly stay.” That chance of deportation encourages the illegal immigrant to stay away from the orderly course of the law and thereby strengthens the hands of exploitative law-breaking employers, human traffickers, gangs, and the other predators who prowl the shadows of our immigration system.But what also strengthens the hands of these predators is the legal vacuum created by the current immigration regime. A rigorous enforcement of immigration law would also go after the unscrupulous employers and gang members and traffickers, but the current indifference to law provides these types with shadows within which they can operate. Imagine what child labor would be like in a United States where it was technically illegal but, in practice, it was allowed or even encouraged and subsidized on a massive scale. Child workers would be more likely to be open to abuse and neglect in that situation than in a situation either where child labor was totally allowed or where laws against child labor were rigorously enforced. It is no surprise that, in the contemporary United States, violations of child-labor laws also go hand in hand with illegal immigration: The abuses enabled by indifference to illegal immigration facilitate other abuses and law-breaking.

Read the whole thing here.

UPDATE: Reflecting on the deeper sources of bad-faith open borders, Mark Krikorian writes:
The core issue is whether there should be any limit placed on immigration. Supporters of immigration limits (high or low is not the issue here) obviously want the de jure prohibition against illegal immigration to be a de facto one too, with the laws consistently enforced. The other side is objectively (if not rhetorically) opposed to any meaningful limits on immigration, and so would prefer the de facto situation to become the de jure one.This situation persists because the pro-limits side knows the de jure limits do at least exercise some control over the number of people moving here from abroad, even if they’re not well enforced. The anti-limits side has as its goal the admission of as many people from abroad as possible, so a limbo status for them is fine so long as they’re able to physically remain in the country. As Lincoln might have put it, both parties deprecate bad-faith open borders, but one of them would promote it rather than accept limits, and the other would accept it rather than let the borders be opened altogether.

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