The Arizona immigration court case deals with the limits of the tenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution. What are the limits on Arizona’s ability to protect its borders and the people legally residing in the state?
But the controversy also relates to the Tenth Commandment in Judaism and Christianity (You shall not covet …). Despite all the efforts to make this about “charity” or “caring”, there is a difference between being charitable and having people covet what is not theirs. It is not just the illegal immigrants; others are coveting something their presence offers.
Some claim there should be no borders. That is absurd. All life, indeed all living things, has borders. The living cell has a wall which separates what is inside from what is outside. The outer atmosphere of the Earth marks its border.
We rely on borders as a defining protection of a civilized society. As much as I might want to sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom at the White House, I can’t just walk in and do it. There is heavy fencing to mark the border of the property. There are all kinds of borders in our world.
The doors to our home are a border. The scene in Dr. Zhivago where his house is taken over “in the name of the people” shows a borderless world. Our schools and offices have borders. Some people are “accepted” and allowed to enter the borders of a college or university. Others are kept out.
The claim that anyone has a right to something that is not theirs is not an act of generosity. It is a justification of theft. The Judeo-Christian Bible’s call for generosity is a call for those who possess something to share it. It is not a justification for those who don’t have it to take it.
Controlled, i.e. legal, immigration has been a tremendous benefit to the United States. At times when land was plentiful and people were needed, the allowed level of immigration increased. Those who came were offered an opportunity to live better than they could at home. They were not promised support or services. That was their responsibility or a gift of their neighbors.
Milton Friedman, a Nobel Prize winning economist said we could have open borders or a welfare state but not both. Today’s immigrants, legal or illegal, impose costs on our welfare state society. We have chosen a welfare state. That means we can’t afford open borders.
The immigrant’s desire for a better life is understandable. Within the legal limits, immigration benefits both the immigrant and the United States. Illegal immigration, or open borders, is a different situation. It not only impacts the life of those here legally (by birth or legal migration), it has now reached a level where the level of living can be impacted.
But let us be clear. In addition to the immigrants, there are other groups showing their covetousness by their support of illegal immigration.
Employers, either corporations or homeowners, who covet cheaper labor, are willing to see the law broken to get farm laborers, factory workers, gardeners or maids at a cheaper cost. These people are coveting labor which should not be theirs at that price.
Politicians covet votes. If they can get more people registered, they can get more votes either honestly or through the manipulation of vote counts when people don’t vote. In many US cities, you don’t have to be living to “vote.” The assumption is that these voters will become Democratic votes. Either way, there are politicians ready to covet votes which are not honestly theirs who encourage loose enforcement of the immigration laws.
The Catholic Church has joined with other churches to support more open immigration. Most mainline churches, including the Catholic Church, are losing membership in the Anglo population. Heavier illegal immigration gives the U.S. Catholic Church more parishioners. But, it is at the expense of the churches the immigrants left behind. Therefore, the U.S. church wins by coveting parishioners who, by law, should stay in the parishes they left.
There are many ways we try to put guilt on others to get something for our own benefit. The false demand for generosity to illegal immigrants is one of these. The support of corporations, politicians and churches for more immigration is understandable from their standpoint. The attempt to lay some kind of guilt trip on the American people for wanting some immigration limitations is absurd. We understand the need for borders when they don’t, or don’t want to. We understand how they benefit. We are not willing to accept a guilt trip when it is clear that those who are demanding our charity are not being charitable. They are simply covetous.