Freedom Folks

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Do unto others...?

Source: The Claremont Institute

Thomas Krannawitter brings us this excellent treatise on America's immigration responsibilities...
As we watch immigration protests on American streets and the hoisting of Mexican flags on American soil, increasing numbers of Americans are learning of Mexico's strict and harsh policies dealing with illegal immigration. Is there a double standard here? Maybe some hypocrisy (one of the only sins left in the world of multiculturalism)? Would Mexico ask that America do nothing more and nothing less than adopt the same kinds of illegal immigration policies that Mexico itself has adopted?

It is good to emphasize Mexican immigration policy, not because it is a model for the United States and other countries to follow, but because it highlights the important truth that a sovereign nation has every right and duty to secure its borders and permit only the kind and number of immigrants that it believes is in its interest. In this light, five basic principles should inform all of our discussions about immigration:

First, the United States is a sovereign nation. American sovereignty derives from the social compact—the voluntary consent of those who live under the laws of the social compact, which is the only legitimate source of sovereignty.

Second, the only purpose of the American government is to protect the rights of those who have given their consent to join the compact and who have been invited to join the compact. As our Declaration of Independence states, "that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..."

Third, intrinsic to American sovereignty is the distinction between those who are and those who are not part of the American social compact. We may invite others to join our compact, and in fact America has a long and noble tradition of welcoming millions from around the globe who have come in search of civil, religious, and economic liberty. But whether we admit one person or one million persons is a question to be answered entirely at our discretion.

Fourth, while Americans certainly wish the best for the people of the world, it is not the responsibility of America to ensure good government and the equal protection of the rights of all mankind. We have left for the world the premier example of what free government looks like, and the sacrifices required to found and sustain free government. And any people anywhere are free to study and learn from the American experience, both where we got things right and where we got things wrong. But, as our Declaration says, it is the right and the duty of the people who find themselves under tyrannical government "to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." Thus Americans may, but are under no obligation, to offer asylum or refuge to anyone from anywhere outside the United States, just as no nation had a responsibility to house oppressed Americans in 1776.

Fifth, the distinction between those we welcome and those we want to keep out—say, terrorists whose purpose is to kill Americans—requires first and foremost that the American government secure our borders. The border must be real, and it must be able to protect American citizens from immigrants who enter our country illegally, a growing number of whom come armed and with criminal records (in some cases violent crimes committed here in the U.S.). Without secured borders, the American people cannot decide who will partake in the social compact they formed among themselves for their mutual protection.
Just so!

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