Immigration: Ethics vs. Morals

An argument over immigration occurred on Facebook sometime last week involving myself, liberals, a child of  Hispanic immigrants, and emotional garbage over statistical facts and reason — doesn’t it always? I’d like to think it was a discussion, but two of my friends definitely could not handle the proverbial ‘heat in the kitchen’.

My initial comment was in response to a friend of mine’s posting, something to the effect of “As a child of immigrants, I want others to know that you are special, you do matter, and you do contribute to society”. When someone asked where her parents were from, she said Ireland. I internally balked. Knowing that she is Catholic, my mind thought instantly: “America is not concerned about white Irish Catholic immigrants.” Of course, I was assuming that these white Irish Catholics had come over legally.

So I was curious: did anyone care about white immigrants? I responded indirectly with a public post because it piqued my curiosity as to people’s opinions.

It read like this: “When you think ‘Immigrants’ in light of the ‘Day w/o Immigrants’ protest, do you think of white immigrants, or colored immigrants? Does it matter to you; why or why not? I think there is a difference in discussing illegal immigrants from developing countries versus white immigrants coming in legally from like…Canada or England. Thoughts?”

I was directly leading by writing Canada or England but that was my purpose. Two of my friends, the white feminist ones after a few mutual posts, then posted this1 Los Angeles Times’ article and this2.

I would like to point out that neither of these are statistical or informative pieces – they are opinion pieces.

The first article is written by someone who’s last name is Rodriguez, a guest submission with no biography. Based on that, let’s be as logical as we can. Perhaps it is safe to assume some bias when it comes to Latino illegal immigration, especially when they try talk about trying to look white citizens in America and trying to discern who may be illegal. Perhaps.

The second is a personal exposition from a immigration lawyer. Let’s make another logical assumption here that, despite his job, he is inherently unbiased because he receives no money that influences his opinion and has no desire to represent illegal immigrants regularly. Yes, let do that.

In the LA Times article, Rodriguez brings light to a gentleman named Niall O’Dowd, chairman of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform and publisher of the Irish Voice newspaper, who is “[s]eeking to put a white Irish face on the issue of illegal immigration, O’Dowd and the Irish Lobby sent a delegation of 3,000 undocumented workers to Washington last month, not to protest but to lobby U.S. lawmakers”. Why?

If the politicians who were in reception of these immigrants were any sort of American, I feel like they should have at least detained these people who are parading around their illegal status like a badge of honor. What good is ICE if it can’t deport people who are admitting they are have broken and are breaking the law?

Let’s take a look at real statistics. According to the Rodriguez’ article, there are an estimated 50,000 illegal Irish immigrants in the U.S.; 30,000 of whom live in New York1. Ireland is not in the top 10 on any list. The top ten seem to be7:

1. Mexico 6,720,000
2. El Salvador 690,000
3. Guatemala 560,000
4. Honduras 360,000
5. Philippines 310,000
6. India 260,000
7. Korea 230,000
8. China 210,000
9. Ecuador 170,000
10. Vietnam 160,000
All Countries 11,430,000

Mexican immigrants made up over 50% of all illegal immigrants, (52% exactly in 2014 according to Pew Research Center) and therefore it would stand to reason why the focus of ICE deportations would be so focused on brown and Hispanic looking immigrants. Question: Does the racism come before or after statistical proofs support policies? I’m never sure.

To continue. If you read the article, it attempts to humor the irony of immigration being focused on brown minorities and not their equally guilty white counterparts — I see the irony of the public at large: it’s not only illegal Hispanic immigrants who should be deported, it should be everyone who’s illegal. Everyone who outs themselves and others as illegal, should be immediately deported. We make this decision ethically based on the laws bills we made into law based on our morals.

In 2014, there were an estimated 11.1 million illegal immigrants in the United States4. Even though this data is a couple years old, for continuity we shall keep with this to make a point. In the same year, ICE reported only 315,943 deportations5. That equates to about a 3% deportation ‘success’ rate for that year – which is horrendously abysmal and not actually successful.

There could be an argument made on what is the purpose of ICE if they can’t seem to deport even half a million people but requested $6,281,637,000 – yes, 6.2 billion dollars – and employed almost 20,000 full-time employees (FTE) in 2016, according to the Budget-In-Brief6. They should have better results for what I’m paying for as a taxpayer.

To put us back onto the issue of morals and ethics, let us first take a look at the Merriam-Webster definition of those words. Ethics means “the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation” [Def 1], [Def 2a] “a set of moral principles: a theory or system of moral values” and [Def 2b] ” the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group”.

We have ethics as a nation, we have ethics as a city, we have ethics as a community. And you cannot have ethics without morals.

Morals are defined as “of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior” [Def 1a],  “conforming to a standard of right behavior” [Def 1c], and “sanctioned by or operative on one’s conscience or ethical judgment” [Def 1d].

They’ve broken the law, knowingly. This isn’t the 900’s where America is still an uncharted land as far as the first world is concerned – America is the powerhouse of the free world. We have borders, we have government, we have laws. One does not get to simply waltz into a given country and blatantly disrespect the law of that sovereign land – whatever it may be. Ethically they should not knowingly be doing this; morally we cannot let people break the law.

Of course, if you are a rural indigenous person from New Guinea and the Amazon who only recently had contact with outside people, a genuine case of ignorance can be made.

After knowing all this and doing research to better articulate myself over this social issue, my confusion at my friend’s comment came at the fact she identified herself as a daughter of immigrants – which she as her parentage hails from Ireland – and then joined the conversation of being illegal, contributed nothing other than an article depicting the “unfair” assumption that Irish immigrants are better at assimilating and not – again – “unfairly” persecuted because they’re white as opposed to being brown.

I didn’t get it. Is she upset that her parents did not get deported, potentially because they’re white? If they had been deported, I guarantee she would not be so empathetic. Of course, this is not a bad thing to empathize but how can we openly disregard laws? Her angle, and others’ angle, seemed to say: “Well look. It’s unfair that white people don’t get scrutinized for being illegal and deported, compared to brown people.”

And I agree. They should all be deported. All illegals, all illegal immigrants, all undocumented immigrants. White, black, brown, Asian, Catholic, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, what have you. If you cannot respect the first law of a country, which is coming in legally with a Visa, Green Card, etc., I can’t trust you to uphold anything beyond that. You have set a poor precedence – you are welcome to try again the correct way.

There are facts sprinkled throughout I’m sure, though they were not cited and shrouded in opinion. It is important to note that conviction and passion does not make the article true overall. Much like this article I am writing currently. These are opinions to help foster a discourse. It would be shameful to wield the non-statistical gripes of anyone as truth. It makes

The immigration lawyer page is its own beast, transfixed in the upper right corner, is a picture of Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and Noble Prize Winner. Next to an image of his face is a quote: “You who are so-called legal aliens must know that no human being is illegal. That is a contradiction in terms. Human beings can be beautiful or more beautiful, they can be fat or skinny, they can be right or wrong, but illegal? How can a human being be illegal?”

Let me tell you, sir Wiesel, how.

Aside from the ethic issues associated with allowing people to break the law, citizenship is a status – that is temporary even for naturalized or born citizens. According to Merriam-Webster status is “the condition of a person or thing in the eyes of the law” [Def 2]. To quantify that, condition means “a premise upon which the fulfillment of an agreement depends” [Def 1a], “a provision making the effect of a legal instrument contingent upon an uncertain event” [Def 1b], and “social status” [Def 4b].

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, there are perks to citizenship and certain obligations3.Becoming a citizen allows you to enjoy the privilege of being able to vote, to bringing your family members into the United States, and to obtain citizenship for children abroad as some of the most pertinent reasons I hear liberals crying to support illegal immigration. As penance for these gifts, you must also:

  • Give up all prior allegiance to any other nation or sovereignty;
  • Swear allegiance to the United States;
  • Support and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States; and
  • Serve the country when required.

But. There. Is. A. Process.

If you are illegal, because of laws, regardless of country of origin or color, you should be deported. It’s the law; you’ve broken it. You have disrespected anyone else who has come before you, as well as those alongside you who have managed to come in legally. I cannot feel bad that you are receiving the minimalist penalty of the law.

It seems that all you need to sweep the liberalist Left is some sort of emotionally-driven catchphrase like “no human being is illegal”, “hands off my body”, “black lives matter”, etc. to disregard all need to seek facts anything. To read the news from an objective standpoint is now a superpower; same goes for acknowledging the valid points of the opposing argument, or “other side”, without deep emotional scaring or mental breakdowns. This is not something than many of my peers can do, it seems.

They ask questions like “How do you feel about immigration?” to try to trap you into being a perceptibly terrible person for not supporting illegal immigration by lumping it together under a singular word. Granted illegal immigration is a type of immigration, it is not condoned by the law. Illegal immigration is ethically reprehensible and morally unfavorable. All legal immigrants are welcome to our country.

References

  1. Rodriguez, G. (2007). Illegal? Better if you are Irish. Los Angeles Times.
  2. Haque-Hausrath, S. Border Crossing Law Firm P.C. Nohumanbeingisillegal.com. Retrieved from http://www.nohumanbeingisillegal.com/Home.html
  3. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. (n.d.). A guide to naturalization. Retrieved from http://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_citi.html
  4. Cohn, D., Passel, J.S., Krogstad, J.M. (2016, November). Five facts about illegal immigration in the U.S. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/11/03/5-facts-about-illegal-immigration-in-the-u-s/
  5. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (n.d.). FY 2016 ICE Immigration Removals. Immigration Enforcement. Retrieved from https://www.ice.gov/removal-statistics/2016
  6. U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (2016). Budget-in-brief. Retrieved from https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/FY_2016_DHS_Budget_in_Brief.pdf
  7. ProCon.org. (2014). Demographics of immigrants in the United States illegally. Retrieved from http://immigration.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000845
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