Friday, June 6, 2008

Hard Working People: Go Home.

Not since the entire Elian Gonzalez debacle of 2000, have I given much thought to immigration. Sure, after 9/11 I was shocked at the inability of the government to even monitor, let alone control the admittance of those whose hostilities toward America could actually be a threat to us. But what about the vast majority of immigrants who come here to work, to better themselves and their families, to take advantage of opportunities still found in America? Apparently, some of them are just plain screwed.

Arthur Mkyon, 17, of Fresno, California, is currently
threatened with deportation back to Armenia, a country he left when he was 2 and knows only virtually through internet videos. While his parents attempted to jump through the proper hoops of the immigration process, their application was denied. Apparently Mr. Mkion’s claim of feared reprisal of the Armenian government about his whistle-blowing at the Armenian equivalent of the DMV did not satisfy the immigration officials as meeting the requirements for asylum.

It is worth noting that both of Arthur’s parents have been working since they came here, and that Arthur is the valedictorian of his high school class. Unless there is more, maybe some unreported sinister activity regarding this family, there seems to be
no objective reason (second comment) why these people should not be allowed to legally stay in America.

Again, this is only one case in the millions of immigrants who come to the United States each year. But it does highlight the need for the reformation of immigration laws based on objective standards. Why are we punishing people who choose to work, to make great efforts to stay in this country, and who embody individual achievement? Immigration reform should be of particular importance to those of us who were not only lucky enough to be born here, but also understand and appreciate the principles on which America was founded.

5 comments:

Kim said...

So amazing. 17 years on a political asylum case is absurd.

LB said...

I know that it is no simple problem, but surely there must be an objective way to determine who should and who should not be allowed to stay in America (of those who were not lucky enough to be born here, of course). It seems unfathomable after 15 years of creating a life with your family to be uprooted and sent to a country you ran away from.

Stephen Bourque said...

Another thing to keep in mind is that forcibly blocking honest individuals from coming here violates not only their rights but also those of the American citizens who would otherwise associate with them. It is not just the Portuguese au pair or the Mexican cleaning lady who is punished by being refused entry, but the American who would benefit from hiring them.

LB said...

Not to mention the engineers!

Regarding the violation of rights in blocking any honest person's access to live in America - could you further explain that?

Stephen Bourque said...

By sheer coincidence, as you have already seen, in his private email list today Harry Binswanger articulated the relevant principle.(Note 1) Individual rights are rights of man qua man, not man qua citizen or man qua subject. Rights belong to a man by virtue of his being a human being, not by being a citizen of a particular country. Americans do not have more rights than say, Ukrainians; their rights are simply recognized more fully by their government (a condition that seems to be diminishing over time).

Dr. Binswanger mentioned another important point. The free flow of people goes hand in hand with the free flow of goods and services. Blocking people at the border is comparable to blocking goods at the border.


Note 1: I am reticent to draw ideas from a private post, but these points are articulated in Harry Binswanger’s published writings. For instance, see this.