Friday, January 20, 2012

There Is No Such Thing As An "Illegal" Immigrant

As our United States citizens become frustrated over a very troubled economy and fearful of repeated terrorist acts around the world, we hear almost daily calls to “close the border” and to expel the “illegal” immigrants.  The loudest voice in this demand comes from the political right, the position that I happen to firmly occupy. There are many problems with this demand; however, three huge ones come immediately to mind.
The first problem is that this violates the very basis of what the United States stands for.   Borders are established between nations and states to restrict the powers of governments, not the rights of people.  It is inconsistent for us to cheer the brave escape of an East German to the West while we condemn the same act of a Mexican.  Each was simply trying to be free from want and servitude.  Would we applaud West Germany for building the same wall for which we condemned the East Germans?  Our founders recognized the higher rights of man to those of government and cited as much in the Declaration of Independence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people 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.
Declaration of Independence   Bold emphasis added

Reality requires us to recognize the brutal fact that poor people cannot always alter or abolish a destructive government.  In most cases their choices are to perpetually suffer or to flee.  Or consider the patriot who, while he struggles for the rights of his people, earns the wrath of his government.  Is he to wait for their permission to flee their persecution or for the permission of a host state to enter?  Our Lord Jesus Christ was hustled across the border of Egypt in an escape from Herod.  Should Joseph have waited for permission from Herod?  Indeed, this demonstrates the real function of borders.  They are the last bastion of freedom, an escape hatch from hopeless tyranny.  Thus, we do grave damage to our own liberties when we demand a wall of separation on the border of Mexico.  We make a lie of our Declaration, and we lock ourselves in our own potential dungeon.
Secondly, creating a barrier on the border against the free movement of people is a direct violation of our duty to care for our brother, as charged to us by Christ.

31. When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32. And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth [his] sheep from the goats: 33. And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35. For I was hungry, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36. Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungry, and fed [thee]? or thirsty, and gave [thee] drink? 38. When saw we thee a stranger, and took [thee] in? or naked, and clothed [thee]? 39. Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40. And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me. 41. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42. For I was an hungry, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43. I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungry, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45. Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me. 46. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. 
Matthew 25, Holy Bible

It speaks loudly and to this very point that all nations shall be gathered before Him at that judgment. For where now are those precious borders that held away the poor, the hungry, the naked?  We must all understand that rights emanate from duties.  If there is no originating duty, then there is no right.  Each man has the duty to live, to seek his comfort, safety, shelter, food and personal security, not only for himself but for his dependents as well.  Thus, he has a manifest right to cross a national border, at his own discretion, if necessary.  We, however, have no duty to hold him at bay, to restrict his liberty, to keep the inconvenient fact of his existence away from us because he would bring to us challenges.  Indeed, the opposite is true. We have a duty to form our national and state laws in such a manner as to protect these rights; thus, we have no authority to demand a closed border.

This brings us to the third problem.  When men instigate government, they endow the government with powers.  These powers are not unlimited; rather, they are limited by the authority that the people had to give.  Put another way, no one is able to pass to another authority that they themselves do not have.  A common argument against the “illegals” is that we are a nation of laws and that they break the immigration laws.  The unfortunate truth is that it is we who have wrongly allowed these laws to be created, laws which are in violation of our national creed.  This is just one area, of many, where those of us on the political right instinctively sense that our national government has stepped beyond the bounds of the constitution.  The Federal government has no moral authority beyond that held by our citizens.  If it is illicit for us to lock a man in destitution, it is illicit for our government as well.  If we allow this inconsistency to flourish in the area of immigration, then we must expect our government to exceed its lawful authority in other areas of serious import.

I have one final comment on this subject.  I have received an internet message which wryly points out the fact that if one were to “illegally” enter North Korea, Iran, China, Mexico, Russia and others, he would be summarily imprisoned.  However, if an “illegal’ immigrant enters the United States, he gets a driver’s license, health insurance, welfare monies, etc.  The point of the message was that we are the stupid ones.  I took it in another way, however.  With tears in my eyes I thanked our great God that we should be living in such a country!  That even at this late date, there is still enough of our American spirit left that truly sets us apart from the rest of the world, that we still have embodied in our daily life the high principles which form the justification of our existence as a nation.  For if we do not believe in the principles as defined in the Christian faith, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, then we do not have the right to be free, or to be a nation, and our allegiance remains with our European lords.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
 Emma Lazarus @ Statue of Liberty

William C. Howe
Henrico Virginia
September 19, 2011

Monday, January 16, 2012

Test Post

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People 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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. 
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. 
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: 
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands. 
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.