Countries Should Think About The Rights Of Immigrants When Controlling Their Borders Or Something

Over at the very left leaning The Nation, Christopher Bertram thinks he’s found a good hook into pushing for open borders

Should Immigration Laws Be Respected?
If countries want the right and not just the power to control their borders, they have to consider the rights of immigrants, too.

Really, you don’t have to go any further than the subhead to understand what’s being pushed, but, let’s move forward, shall we?

Because the law is the law and should be obeyed, it’s very easy to agree with the politicians and conclude that migrants have done wrong. But things are more complicated than that. The rule of law requires not just obedience, but also fairness.

We normally think that people should respect and obey the law in democracies, even when we don’t like what it says. That’s because the law provides each of us with a framework in which to live our lives. Though it limits what we can do to pursue our aims, it also restricts what other people can do to us, giving us some security against people and corporations that might act in an abusive or exploitative way.

Of course, that’s just the theory; the law also reflects and sometimes amplifies the inequalities in our societies. That’s why, when people disagree with the law, we presume that they should use democratic means to change it. Such means might include persuading lawmakers, political parties, and their fellow citizens to adopt a different set of policies; voting for parties committed to reform; and perhaps engaging in protest or mild civil disobedience. But foreigners typically can’t do many of those things outside their home country and may risk adverse consequences, including deportation, if they engage in open protest. The democratic process, in other words, does not include them.

Correct, it doesn’t include them, because they are not citizens of other countries. Here it comes

Do would-be immigrants, then, actually have a duty to obey immigration laws that tell them they shouldn’t be on the territory, or mustn’t work? One reason to hesitate is that the implicit bargain among citizens, whereby the law limits our freedom in a fair and reciprocal manner, doesn’t really apply to those immigrants. The law coerces them by keeping them out or down—but it doesn’t do anything for them in return. It doesn’t even pretend to treat them fairly.

Some people think this doesn’t matter. They think a country belongs to its citizens and that “we” have a right to pick and choose who can come and who can stay. After all, immigrants have their own countries where they should live their lives unless they have permission to go somewhere else.

But this picture of the world where countries are containers into which people naturally fit is false. People have lives and interests that cross national boundaries. They want to form families or work with others across those lines. As with the Dreamers in the United States, there is often controversy about who should count as part of “we” and where people really belong. Moreover, the opportunities available in different countries are radically unequal: People may need to cross borders just to have minimally decent lives, or to escape persecution or ecological catastrophe.

In other words, they want open borders. I challenge all of the open borders supporters to never lock their homes. Tear down any fences and/or walls around their homes.

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