July 22, 2014 by Anders Ingemarson
Freedom and liberty loving Americans rightfully revere Thomas Jefferson’s immortal words “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Yet, many admirers of the Declaration of Independence think that “inalienable Rights [to] Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” apply exclusively to American citizens and individuals who have followed one of the accepted paths of “legal” immigration.
These admirers are mistaken. Inalienable rights are universal. They don’t end at the Atlantic seaboard or the Pacific coastline. They apply no less south than north of the border. It doesn’t matter if you’re born in Bangalore or Beijing, in Toronto or Tijuana; having inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is inseparable from being human—your birthplace has nothing to do with it. Our Founding Fathers’ vision extended to all of mankind, present and future, not only the 2.5 million men and women who inhabited the thirteen colonies at the time.
Today, man’s inalienable rights are under assault worldwide. In most countries the assault is business as usual—their inhabitants have never understood the concept of inalienable rights and therefore never had a defense of it. But in the United States, there was a period in the 19th century when the Founders’ vision was still alive and rights violations, although by no means absent, were far more limited than today. It is not a coincidence that this also was a time of almost unrestricted immigration.
Our challenge is to recapture the Founders’ vision. True champions of inalienable rights should advocate for the repeal of immoral laws and regulations that prohibit free movement of rights-respecting men and women in and out of our country. And demand that immigrants who are branded “illegal” for having “broken” such laws and rules receive amnesty.
(Recapturing the Founders’ vision doesn’t necessarily mean arguing for immediate repeal of all anti-immigration measures. It has taken a while to get into the current mess, so we should expect that it will take some time to get out of it. Gradually granting amnesty and increasing immigration quotas, while securing the borders, are a couple of measures that would move us towards free immigration without opening the floodgates. Here’s what my president would do.)
When addressing claims that immigrants are free-loaders at the expense of American tax-payers, or that they make our country less safe, we must always retain the vision of free immigration grounded in every man’s and woman’s inalienable rights. And we must never fail to point out that what appears on the surface to be an issue caused by immigration is always a symptom of a deeper problem.
Here are a few examples of talking points that address common anti-immigration claims. These points attempt to focus on the deeper cause of the claims, and promote the Founder’s vision by proposing solutions that increase the respect and protection of our inalienable rights.
|They take our jobs.||Employers should have the right to hire anybody they find suitable for the job, immigrants included. Let’s focus our energy on advocating for reduced taxes, government spending and regulations instead of on restricting immigration. This will lead to sky-rocketing economic growth resulting in American employers creating more jobs than can be filled. Soon the notion that immigrants take our jobs will be a distant memory.|
|They use our entitlements without paying their way.||Nobody who uses entitlements pay their way. The money you’ve paid into the system is consumed by your parent’s generation, and yours will be paid for by your children.
Let’s focus our energy on advocating for returning control of retirement and healthcare to individual Americans, ending all government involvement in those areas. With private alternatives gradually replacing government entitlements, you don’t need to fret over somebody “not paying their way” as you won’t foot the bill. And if you’re still concerned, let’s require new immigrants to sign a waiver to not collect entitlements as part of the price of admission. I suspect the vast majority would do it without hesitation.
|They put their children in our public schools, taking resources and focus away from our kids.||Let’s focus our energy on advocating for returning control of education to parents, teachers, and educational entrepreneurs, by enabling private education alternatives to replace public education.
If everybody were responsible for paying for their children’s education, we wouldn’t have to worry about paying for the education of our immigrant neighbor’s kids any more than paying for their smartphones.
|They bring drugs and drug related violence.
|Let’s focus our energy on advocating for ending all prohibition on drugs. Americans didn’t drown in an orgy of alcohol last time we ended prohibition. And when the mob lost the alcohol revenue and moved to Vegas the violence evaporated like tequila in the desert sun. The same scenario will play out when we end prohibition on drugs.|
|They increase the threat of domestic terrorism.||Let’s focus our energy on promoting a foreign policy that deals with terrorists where they should be dealt with: on their own home turf. With decisive action on our part terrorists won’t even dream of taking their act to American soil.|
|It’s too easy for them to become American citizens, and then they vote for the ‘wrong” party.||We can certainly consider stronger rules for citizenship. But that is not a barrier to immigration, which is primarily a question of the right of movement across our borders.
|Voter fraud makes citizenship rules ineffectual.||Voter fraud is a crime and should be persecuted (as is done in many states). However, that a few commit crimes is not a reason for violating the inalienable rights of the vast majority of potential immigrant to come to America. After all, should we violate the right to bear arms for law-abiding citizens just because a few choose to use guns to commit crimes?|
|I don’t like immigrants.||Thank you for being honest. In this great country of ours you have the right to your opinion, however wrong. Just do the rest of us a favor: don’t claim to be a champion of freedom, liberty and inalienable rights.|
Inalienable rights know no borders. As champions of our Founders’ vision we should be champions of immigration and take pride in welcoming rights-respecting men and women from around the world to our country—the only country to have been founded on the ideas that all men are created equal and have inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.