Thursday, March 21, 2013

Who's the illegal immigrant?

I'm not involved enough in the immigration debate to have opinions on specific policies. I suspect if I were more involved I would land on the lenient side of things, as I do believe our country benefits from diversity and a strong work-ethic (which, at least in my experience, is associated with immigration).

However, while I lean toward a more permissive system for immigration, I think the following pro-immigration argument is nonsense.

I saw this today:

I've seen other versions of it before:

The idea, of course, is that people of European descent are hypocrites for trying to control United States borders because their ancestors were illegal* immigrants themselves--invading an already-occupied land without permission.

But that's not what hypocrisy is. Hypocrisy is "Do as I say, not as I do." Hypocrisy is not "Do as I say, not as my great great great great great grandfather did." By this rationale a white person who argues for racial equality is a hypocrite if her ancestors were slave owners. Or a man who embraces feminism is a hypocrite if his ancestors didn't think women should be able to vote.

The fact is we have no control over what our ancestors did, and no obligation to agree with their actions, much less create standards now that would justify their actions once upon a time. This doesn't just apply to immigration, but to tons of issues--imagine if we were pressured to create laws today that justified marital rape, or lunatic asylums, or child labor. The argument seems to be "your ancestors once did the very thing you're trying to stop, therefore you cannot be against it."  What a lousy rationale.

*I don't know of any actual laws in North America at the time that made colonization illegal, but you get the point.


  1. Plus, I'm pretty sure the Native Americans would have totally prevented "illegal immigration" if they could have... but as the comic depicts, they had stone axes while settlers had guns. Maybe we should be pointing out the hypocrisy of Ponka-We Victors that she's okay with illegal immigration of Mexicans while her ancestors fought, killed, and died to prevent it with whites.