Tom Caldwell

Immigration

251 posts in this topic

Human Rights and Illegal Aliens

Which to support, unlimited entry or control of U.S. Borders?

It is illegal to enter someone's house without their permission. Illegal entry, breaking and entering, is in principle, the initiation of force, as is trespassing. The initiation of force is the basis of the violation of individual rights.

The United States government is the geographic organization responsible for enforcing the laws and protecting the people. It is illegal to enter the United States without permission. Illegal trespass, violation of immigration laws, is initiation of force, just as entering a house without permission.

Illegal aliens (criminals) in the United States do have individual human rights under US. law, and to the extent they violate the law, as with all criminals, they forfeit rights proportional to their

criminal actions. They forfeit the right to claim the right to stay. The penalty is deportation. This does not violate the rights of Americans.

The broken window theory applies here as elsewhere. Ignoring or negating the law for certain crimes merely provides the principle that the legal authorities do not care about enforcing the law, that the law can be violated with impunity. When a government does not enforce laws

against a category of crimes, it provides a moral sanction for violation of laws similar and nearby, and the criminal violations tend to spread to wider and wider areas.

It is not reasonable to avoid checking backgrounds to exclude felons (and al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic Jihad, etc., etc.) to avoid offending the "innocent."

As one innocent living in America, the Lebanese Brigitte Gabriel, ( _Because They Hate_), says: The U.S. is dying for the same reason Lebanon died, open borders that let the Arabs in. While the news media focused on alleged Israeli brutality the Arabs slaughtered the Christian majority. She says the U.S. faces the same destruction for the same reasons. 'The Latino gang, MS-13, is helping al Qaeda in its plans to infiltrate the Southwestern U.S. border. There are more than three thousand MS-13 gang members in Washington, D.C. alone.' Also, another gang, the Zeta militants control the US Border, target police, and fuel illegal immigration, etc.

Several of the Fort Dix would-be killers have long been living illegally in the United States, one for 23 years. There are an estimated 40,000 Hispanic Islamists in the U.S. Arab Jihadis have been entering the U.S. since the 1960s.

The Mexicans and others who want to work are not the reason the U.S. needs strong entry controls over the US border. The reason is the terrorists sneaking into the U.S., seeking to bring nuclear weapons. A small nuke in New York will cause much more damage, destruction and death than airplanes flying into buildings.

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Human Rights and Illegal Aliens

Which to support, unlimited entry or control of U.S. Borders?

[...]

The Mexicans and others who want to work are not the reason the U.S. needs strong entry controls over the US border. The reason is the terrorists sneaking into the U.S., seeking to bring nuclear weapons. A small nuke in New York will cause much more damage, destruction and death than airplanes flying into buildings.

Is this an essay to which you are inviting response? or is this an "activist" project? What precisely?

There are several existing FORUM threads on immigration you could read. Some of the points you raise have been addressed there. And if they haven't been raised, you could bring them up - in context.

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History: On terrorists sneaking over the border: they never did. Surely one should examine that startling fact and ask why. Why did none of the 9/11 hijackers try to sneak into the U.S.? Why did various other plotters of aborted plots come in legally?

Background checks: This will not stop terrorists, unless they're some type of well-known Al-Qaeda member or equivalent. The typical terrorist recruited for a mission in the U.S. is someone on whom the U.S. (and even his home country) probably has zero information.

Future Terrorists: One should credit people like Bin Laden with some smarts. What type of person will they recruit for an important mission, and how will they get them into the U.S. The answer is simple: recruit people without a criminal background and send them in on some type of U.S. visa. This is terrorism 101.

In short, sealing the Mexican border will do nothing about terrorists. In this sense, the "Mexican border wall" is just like the war in Iraq: every one can be happy that we're doing something and we can all pretend it's something effective.

Controlling the border any more than is done at present is a waste of time (at best). However, if one really wants to bring the border under control, building a 20 foot wall isn't going to do it [Juan's shop is selling 21ft ladders on the other side.] If one really wants to control the border, one does it by giving all those people the option of coming in legally. That way, one can quiz them, and perceptive border agents can look them in the eye and ask them if they mean us harm (cross their hearts and hope to die).

Meanwhile, legalizing a few million Mexican per year will make any other border-crossers stick out like sore thumbs.

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It is illegal to enter someone's house without their permission. Illegal entry, breaking and entering, is in principle, the initiation of force, as is trespassing. The initiation of force is the basis of the violation of individual rights.

The United States government is the geographic organization responsible for enforcing the laws and protecting the people. It is illegal to enter the United States without permission. Illegal trespass, violation of immigration laws, is initiation of force, just as entering a house without permission.

That assumes the US government owns the country. It doesn't. The property in this country is owned by individual citizens, not the government.

If an individual American citizen wants to pay his money to hire a foreign citizen to work on his property, what business is it of the government to interfere with a peaceful trade that violates no individual's rights.

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Michael Jenkinson writes in his Post #64 that:

It is virtually impossible for me to get into the United States so in the past, I have been tempted by illegal immigration to there. But when carefully thinking about it, I see it as completely wrong, and I see 2 separate questions that need to be answered.

1. Should immigration be unlimited except for criminals and infectious diseases? Yes.

2. Should people violate the rule of law? No.

The rule of law is a fundamental part of western civilisation, it allows people to know beforehand what is, or isn't a crime, so they can know their sphere of free action that they can choose to do without the consequences of the state retaliating.

It allows you to plan your life, without worrying about an endless popularity contest with everyone else, if a democracy, or with the dictator, if the nation is ruled by some monarch.

To violate the rule of law by illegally immigrating would show contempt for the very foundation of US civilisation, the part that is rights respecting.

There are proper ways to deal with immoral laws, and those should be followed rather than undermining the rule of law.

My view therefore is, I welcome legal immigrants and strive to make it possible for all men of good character to immigrate, but illegal immigrants disgust me.

So that I am certain of your position, can you identify the particular violation(s) of citizens' rights the illegal immigrant is violating? You mention good character: are illegal immigrants committing moral crimes in your view (hence are disgusting)?

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So that I am certain of your position, can you identify the particular violation(s) of citizens' rights the illegal immigrant is violating? You mention good character: are illegal immigrants committing moral crimes in your view (hence are disgusting)?

Well, that was atrocious. I meant:

So that I am certain of your position, can you identify the particular violation(s) of citizens' rights the illegal immigrant is committing?

Also, do you find illegal immigrants more or less disgusting than persons who migrate legally, then plan large scale biological attacks on the country that welcomed them?

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I'd like to see Michael's response, but I want to comment on this issue.

I consider the "rule of law" argument to be way overblown, though it is often used by Objectivists. Why? For the simple, true, reason that ethics precedes legality - logically, causally, and in terms of judging the moral nature of a law.

In a rational society, the number of non-objective/rights-violating laws would range from miniscule to zero. There would *not be any* such conflicts between law and rational ethics.

What *I* find disgusting is paying homage to a law simply because it is a law, no matter its nature, rationale for existence, etc. I have pointed out many times over the years that over 90% of American federal law (probably more like 98+%) would be *invalid* if judged according to a rational ethics. That's because the vast majority of it is created by various alphabet soup agencies that have no objective reason to exist in the first place (you name it: FDA, EPA, SSA, BAT, etc. etc.) They create laws that violate rights. To respect any such law - by which I do not mean, following under threat of force, but mentally respecting them - is necessarily a betrayal of the good.

Most would agree that disobeying Nazi laws against Jews was not only, not immoral, but profoundly *moral* by a rational ethics. They sure had a "rule of law" - did it merit respect?

The idea that a socialist country's (e.g. America in 2008) massive set of laws - many of them so non-objective that it is *impossible* to even determine in advance whether they've been broken or not - merits respect, is absurd. One may avoid breaking such non-objective laws simply because of the threat of force, *not* because of any merited respect, and in fact always to the detriment of some people acting perfectly within their actual rights.

Yes, there are existing laws - actually defending individual rights - that would stand in an objective society; that is not the issue here. There is no conflict there between the law and the good.

To feel disgust because somebody, who is otherwise guaranteed to be dead, chooses to take an experimental cancer drug not approved by the FDA? Because they want a better life in a new country? Because they cut down their own tree on their own property?? Because they're so good that everyone decides to buy their products to the exclusion of competitors'??? Check your premises!!

A fundamental way to look at the issue from another angle, is also this: those who created non-objective/rights-violating laws (such as anti-immigration laws) had no right to do so, and quite often are wicked men who are indifferent to the lasting damage that they create on a daily basis (e.g. Sarbanes-Oxley, which just by itself has inflicted uncountable billions of dollars of damage to the U.S.) They are responsible, in a socialist society, for a torrent of suffering (and in an outright dictatorship, for a sea of blood.)

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It is virtually impossible for me to get into the United States so in the past, I have been tempted by illegal immigration to there. But when carefully thinking about it, I see it as completely wrong, and I see 2 separate questions that need to be answered.

1. Should immigration be unlimited except for criminals and infectious diseases? Yes.

2. Should people violate the rule of law? No.

The rule of law is a fundamental part of western civilisation, it allows people to know beforehand what is, or isn't a crime, so they can know their sphere of free action that they can choose to do without the consequences of the state retaliating.

It allows you to plan your life, without worrying about an endless popularity contest with everyone else, if a democracy, or with the dictator, if the nation is ruled by some monarch.

To violate the rule of law by illegally immigrating would show contempt for the very foundation of US civilisation, the part that is rights respecting.

There are proper ways to deal with immoral laws, and those should be followed rather than undermining the rule of law.

This line of unsupported reasoning strikes me as one giant deductive chain. I suggest you read Ayn Rand's We The Living, and then watch the movies Goal! and Dirty Pretty Things, to help you concretize this issue.

My view therefore is, I welcome legal immigrants and strive to make it possible for all men of good character to immigrate, but illegal immigrants disgust me.

Ah. Then I'm sure you'll also be disgusted by this illegal immigrant.

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My view therefore is, I welcome legal immigrants and strive to make it possible for all men of good character to immigrate, but illegal immigrants disgust me.

Ah. Then I'm sure you'll also be disgusted by this illegal immigrant.

Well, wouldn't Ayann be one of those men of good character he would have strived to allow to immigrate? You are trying to trap him in a problem that wouldn't even have existed.

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Of the people who get Green Cards (permanent residence) in the work category (as opposed to family or refugee categories), the bulk first come to the U.S. on temporary work permits. Most of those who come on work permits and apply for permanent immigration already knew they were going to do so when they applied for their temporary work visa. This mean that they are applying for a temporary work-permit, while they actually intend to immigrate permanently. This is not some type of remote intent or weighing of possibilities. Rather, many of them come through companies who promise that an application for permanent residency will be filed within a certain period.

This intent is a violation of U.S. law. Of course, this intent is really difficult to prove. Also, there's a wink-wink approach by the U.S. government. However, this does not change the underlying fact: many people who are legal immigrants are technically illegal, except that the law will not or cannot prosecute them. If it could, you would have to send back most of the software engineers, doctors, and Phds from the asian countries.

Consider the many doctors, who tell an immigration officer that they will return to India after their J-1, while fully intending to do whatever it takes to switch to an H-1 and then to a Green-Card. Are these people disgusting?

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My view therefore is, I welcome legal immigrants and strive to make it possible for all men of good character to immigrate, but illegal immigrants disgust me.

Ah. Then I'm sure you'll also be disgusted by this illegal immigrant.

Well, wouldn't Ayann be one of those men of good character he would have strived to allow to immigrate? You are trying to trap him in a problem that wouldn't even have existed.

By this logic, how would Michael determine she was of "good character"? After all, she only made a name for herself after she had illegally immigrated to Holland. Would he, at his customs post, have peered into his crystal ball to determine her future in the West? and then have bestowed upon her this gracious gift of residency that he - Michael - had wrought?

Even if one were to grant this premise, are you (and Michael) proposing the government deal with the millions of would-be immigrants on a case-by-case basis? That each immigrant would present his own set of "brute, contingent" facts, so we could not determine any "necessary connections" between the actions of individuals and the actions of governments?

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This intent is a violation of U.S. law. Of course, this intent is really difficult to prove. Also, there's a wink-wink approach by the U.S. government. However, this does not change the underlying fact: many people who are legal immigrants are technically illegal, except that the law will not or cannot prosecute them. If it could, you would have to send back most of the software engineers, doctors, and Phds from the asian countries.

Consider the many doctors, who tell an immigration officer that they will return to India after their J-1, while fully intending to do whatever it takes to switch to an H-1 and then to a Green-Card. Are these people disgusting?

This is something I truly never understood about immigration laws. Leaving aside the principles behind it (because most of today's politicians do not ascribe to those, anyway), it's just plain stupid for a country to turn away highly trained professionals, who will pay infinitely more in taxes than they will ever get back from the system. Even the most utilitarian, pragmatist politician should be able to see that.

From their perspective, low-skilled laborers might very well receive more in benefits than they will ever pay, so from the politician's point of view I can somewhat understand why they do not want unlimited numbers of those people, but why make it so hard for people with various levels of university degrees to enter? Especially if your standard of the good is the welfare of the nation as such (like it seems to be for too many people nowadays), then it's just plain stupid to not want people with bachelor's/master's degrees/doctorates...

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This is something I truly never understood about immigration laws. Leaving aside the principles behind it (because most of today's politicians do not ascribe to those, anyway), it's just plain stupid for a country to turn away highly trained professionals [...]

Yes. As well, it is just plain stupid for a country to turn away *any* non-criminal, but let's focus on your point.

Part of it is a general anti-immigration bias, regardless of the nature of the immigrant. That's bad enough. But there's an even worse mentality at action for the case you mentioned: that of an unstated envy.

Hatred and envy of intelligence is part of an altruist culture. While it is not usually openly stated - not yet anyway - I think that it can manifest itself in immigration policy. Given that such laws are non-objective, rights-violating, and completely unjustifiable, there's endless ways for such hatred and envy to silently become codified by those mediocrities making such laws. Given the obvious virtue of having smarter, more productive individuals in a society, to *not* make it easy for them to immigrate is a reflection of such a bias. Imagine a stupid man working in the HR department of a company, who deliberately decided to ignore qualifications because they were *unfair* and *the little guy needs a chance*. It doesn't take much imagination to foresee the results to the company. Now imagine that this man is invisible and will never be fired, and makes immigration policy for a country.

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..., it's just plain stupid for a country to turn away highly trained professionals, who will pay infinitely more in taxes than they will ever get back from the system. Even the most utilitarian, pragmatist politician should be able to see that.
To be fair, the U.S. system allows a lot of such trained professionals to immigrate. Of course, as high as the current limits are, when it comes to high-earners, there is no legitimate reason to have any quota (no matter how high, not for non-citizen, permanent-residency status). The main principle underlying the quota system appears to be one of keeping the cultural/ethnic mix from not changing too quickly, because not only does it ensure that too many foreigners do not immigrate, but it also ensures that any one foreign country is not overly represented. False economic reasoning -- "protecting jobs" -- is probably another principle at play. [For instance, the American Medical Association lobbies to keep the number of foreign doctors below a certain threshold.]

I would claim that, when viewed relatively, the U.S. still has one of the best immigration systems. The Canadian and Australian "point" systems are more honest, but that does not make them better across the board. Still -- back on the topic of illegality -- the U.S. system does create this situation of technical illegality even for legal immigrants.

The typical person who complains about illegal immigration -- the type who thinks it is one of the top issues of the day -- is definitely more concerned about immigration than simply about the fact that some law is being broken, and it just happens to be immigration. For instance, if the opponents of illegal immigration were asked to support a law that allowed 10 million immigrants into the U.S. each year, would they be happy, now that it is legalized? No, the issue they have is with immigration. That is not to say that their concerns about such poor people using government handouts are without merit. However, their concern is clearly not about the rule of law as such. If it were, why aren't they campaigning for stiffer penalties for other things, like kids under 21 who drink?

Clearly, the large political groups agitating against illegal immigration are also in favor of rather low immigration quotas. Their real concern is that more people are coming into the U.S. than ought to, by their standards.

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Even if one were to grant this premise, are you (and Michael) proposing the government deal with the millions of would-be immigrants on a case-by-case basis? That each immigrant would present his own set of "brute, contingent" facts, so we could not determine any "necessary connections" between the actions of individuals and the actions of governments?

Why don't you direct that question at yourself, and explain how the government (on a small voluntarily funded money supply if we are talking the ideal case here) is going to open the flood gates and allow open immigration without letting in rapists, thugs, robbers, gangsters, terrorists and killers into our country?

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A fundamental way to look at the issue from another angle, is also this: those who created non-objective/rights-violating laws (such as anti-immigration laws) had no right to do so, and quite often are wicked men who are indifferent to the lasting damage that they create on a daily basis (e.g. Sarbanes-Oxley, which just by itself has inflicted uncountable billions of dollars of damage to the U.S.) They are responsible, in a socialist society, for a torrent of suffering (and in an outright dictatorship, for a sea of blood.)

We are in a better position than ever to change to open immigration now that we are able to deploy at every port of entry and border crossing either networked/non-networked electronic noses that will allow infectious biological agents, explosives and contraband to be detected at the point of entry even if someone is hiding it within his body. The cost is now down 50-200x from what it was in 2005 - varies depending on the type of electronic nose - to use these. Screening for diseases like TB can be done in an efficient and exacting manner as well. An individual who passes criminal screening, takes a binding oath specific to the United States, and is waiting for medical test results can have access to a "hub" of services and retailers at any port of entry or border crossing. That way he can start setting up accounts, look for a place to live, make phone calls, get basic necessities and even get a mortgage approved while he's waiting for the test results.

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Even if one were to grant this premise, are you (and Michael) proposing the government deal with the millions of would-be immigrants on a case-by-case basis? That each immigrant would present his own set of "brute, contingent" facts, so we could not determine any "necessary connections" between the actions of individuals and the actions of governments?

Why don't you direct that question at yourself, and explain how the government (on a small voluntarily funded money supply if we are talking the ideal case here) is going to open the flood gates and allow open immigration without letting in rapists, thugs, robbers, gangsters, terrorists and killers into our country?

The government could, if properly limited, run an in-depth backgroud check on all applicants that want to enter the US. This would be much different than what is done today and shorter. If the government first did away with it's altruistic welfare system, which just invites losers and low-lifes to come and live off of what productive people there are in America, it would be much easier to accomplish the above goal. But, even if the occasional "rapists, thugs, robbers, gangsters, terrorist and killers" did make it through, is that not what we have a police force for?

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Even if one were to grant this premise, are you (and Michael) proposing the government deal with the millions of would-be immigrants on a case-by-case basis? That each immigrant would present his own set of "brute, contingent" facts, so we could not determine any "necessary connections" between the actions of individuals and the actions of governments?

Why don't you direct that question at yourself, and explain how the government (on a small voluntarily funded money supply if we are talking the ideal case here) is going to open the flood gates and allow open immigration without letting in rapists, thugs, robbers, gangsters, terrorists and killers into our country?

I do not consider this a civil response; if you do not have an answer to my question, just say so.

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Even if one were to grant this premise, are you (and Michael) proposing the government deal with the millions of would-be immigrants on a case-by-case basis? That each immigrant would present his own set of "brute, contingent" facts, so we could not determine any "necessary connections" between the actions of individuals and the actions of governments?

Why don't you direct that question at yourself, and explain how the government (on a small voluntarily funded money supply if we are talking the ideal case here) is going to open the flood gates and allow open immigration without letting in rapists, thugs, robbers, gangsters, terrorists and killers into our country?

I do not consider this a civil response; if you do not have an answer to my question, just say so.

It honestly wasn't my intention to come across that way, and I don't think the post sounds uncivil. The point of my post was to show the fact that whether it is open-immigration or not a nation will still have to employ a very large number of security measures and regularly screen who comes in.

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We are in a better position than ever to change to open immigration now that we are able to deploy at every port of entry and border crossing either networked/non-networked electronic noses that will allow infectious biological agents, explosives and contraband to be detected at the point of entry even if someone is hiding it within his body. The cost is now down 50-200x from what it was in 2005 - varies depending on the type of electronic nose - to use these. Screening for diseases like TB can be done in an efficient and exacting manner as well. An individual who passes criminal screening, takes a binding oath specific to the United States, and is waiting for medical test results can have access to a "hub" of services and retailers at any port of entry or border crossing. That way he can start setting up accounts, look for a place to live, make phone calls, get basic necessities and even get a mortgage approved while he's waiting for the test results.

Sure - I only wish that government policy and bureaucrats were equally logical about it.

As well, I doubt that the really bad guys carrying really bad stuff are going to risk going through a security checkpoint - and I don't think it will ever be practical to "lock down" the enormous U.S. border. There is also the unfortunate fact that they don't necessarily need to carry it over the border anyway; there are plenty of materials already inside the country.

To really have a chance of stopping more attacks, the U.S. will have to proactively go the sources and eliminate the danger.

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This line of unsupported reasoning strikes me as one giant deductive chain. I suggest you read Ayn Rand's We The Living, and then watch the movies Goal! and Dirty Pretty Things, to help you concretize this issue.

Was this post directed at me?

If so, since you did not tell me which premises was wrong, provide evidence, or tell me that you will post evidence later, am I supposed to accept your conclusion of "one giant deductive chain" on faith?

The only part of your post that I can answer, I have read the book "We the Living". The United States is not the Soviet Union, it is a seperate country, with a completely different political system.

I have not seen the other movies, but I am always on the lookout for new movies to watch, so I will keep an eye out for them. :huh:

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I'd like to see Michael's response, but I want to comment on this issue.

I consider the "rule of law" argument to be way overblown, though it is often used by Objectivists. Why? For the simple, true, reason that ethics precedes legality - logically, causally, and in terms of judging the moral nature of a law.

In a rational society, the number of non-objective/rights-violating laws would range from miniscule to zero. There would *not be any* such conflicts between law and rational ethics.

What *I* find disgusting is paying homage to a law simply because it is a law, no matter its nature, rationale for existence, etc. I have pointed out many times over the years that over 90% of American federal law (probably more like 98+%) would be *invalid* if judged according to a rational ethics. That's because the vast majority of it is created by various alphabet soup agencies that have no objective reason to exist in the first place (you name it: FDA, EPA, SSA, BAT, etc. etc.) They create laws that violate rights. To respect any such law - by which I do not mean, following under threat of force, but mentally respecting them - is necessarily a betrayal of the good.

Most would agree that disobeying Nazi laws against Jews was not only, not immoral, but profoundly *moral* by a rational ethics. They sure had a "rule of law" - did it merit respect?

The idea that a socialist country's (e.g. America in 2008) massive set of laws - many of them so non-objective that it is *impossible* to even determine in advance whether they've been broken or not - merits respect, is absurd. One may avoid breaking such non-objective laws simply because of the threat of force, *not* because of any merited respect, and in fact always to the detriment of some people acting perfectly within their actual rights.

Yes, there are existing laws - actually defending individual rights - that would stand in an objective society; that is not the issue here. There is no conflict there between the law and the good.

To feel disgust because somebody, who is otherwise guaranteed to be dead, chooses to take an experimental cancer drug not approved by the FDA? Because they want a better life in a new country? Because they cut down their own tree on their own property?? Because they're so good that everyone decides to buy their products to the exclusion of competitors'??? Check your premises!!

A fundamental way to look at the issue from another angle, is also this: those who created non-objective/rights-violating laws (such as anti-immigration laws) had no right to do so, and quite often are wicked men who are indifferent to the lasting damage that they create on a daily basis (e.g. Sarbanes-Oxley, which just by itself has inflicted uncountable billions of dollars of damage to the U.S.) They are responsible, in a socialist society, for a torrent of suffering (and in an outright dictatorship, for a sea of blood.)

Unless I am mistaken, there is one very big difference between mainly capitalist America, and the former Soviet Union. One is still mainly focused on respecting rights, and as much as America has drifted from that, the United States is still a fundamentally rights respecting government. The soviet union was an evil empire that was based around enslaving its citizens. Nazi germany was also an evil empire that was based around the same thing.

There is only one alternative to the rule of law, and that is the rule of men.

Now which legal system is more rights respecting, the rule of law, or the rule of men?

The rule of men, you got no way of knowing which action of yours is permissable, you got to hope that you are on the judges good side. With people in fear of the government, that any action can be interpreted as wrong, do you think that will lead to a heroic nation, people willing to defy the public to stand by their minds judgement, or will it result in a society like China in which every person fears speaking their mind or acting, until they are sure that everyone else agrees with them?

Which legal system protects man qua man?

There is a large amount of laws on the books right now, but imagine if everyone followed your advice, no longer respected the rule of law and started breaking laws that they personally disagreed with.

The amount of crime, would be way too much for any government to enforce. How would they choose which to enforce? By whichever is popular among the people? By special interests petitioning the government? By which people are the most inconvenient to the government?

With all due respect, that advice does not sound like advice that will improve a nation, but will lead to the rule of men and the deteriation of a system designed to protect rights.

With no respect for the government and its institutions, how long do you think that such a government will last?

As terrible as the alphabet soup of government agencies is, it does not change the fact that the United States is one of the greatest nations on this planet to live in, and its government should be respected as a fundamentally good government.

Just because I advocate following laws, it does not mean I agree with all the laws. In the past, and I still do, I continually advocate for open immigration, subject only to criminal checks.

Bad laws, should not be broken(thus undermining the rule of law), they should be abolished and the way to do that is by convincing people that the law is morally wrong.

To make one thing clear, I respect the rule of law, but there are a lot of individual laws that I do not respect, but I obey, because I respect the rule of law, and that the rule of law makes the protection of rights with the good laws possible, and most importantly, protects peoples freedom of action.

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My view therefore is, I welcome legal immigrants and strive to make it possible for all men of good character to immigrate, but illegal immigrants disgust me.

Ah. Then I'm sure you'll also be disgusted by this illegal immigrant.

Well, wouldn't Ayann be one of those men of good character he would have strived to allow to immigrate? You are trying to trap him in a problem that wouldn't even have existed.

By this logic, how would Michael determine she was of "good character"? After all, she only made a name for herself after she had illegally immigrated to Holland. Would he, at his customs post, have peered into his crystal ball to determine her future in the West? and then have bestowed upon her this gracious gift of residency that he - Michael - had wrought?

Even if one were to grant this premise, are you (and Michael) proposing the government deal with the millions of would-be immigrants on a case-by-case basis? That each immigrant would present his own set of "brute, contingent" facts, so we could not determine any "necessary connections" between the actions of individuals and the actions of governments?

I do not know the specifics of her immigration case, nor the immigration laws, since my career is not an enforcer, so this is not an answer to your question, merely the process I would follow if I did have that career. I am taking it the person is applying via legal channels for entry in this scenario.

If I was an enforcer of the laws, I would make sure to know them as much as I possibly can, the laws inside and out, in keeping with the purpose of the protecting rights.

If the person obviously is a criminal violating rights, they would get arrested. If the person is not violating rights and I got discretionary powers as part of the law for people who appear to be of good character, I would use those to not arrest the person(I assume by default that people are of good character).

If I have no discretionary powers, then I would use my extensive knowledge of the law as part of that job to try to find a loophole or a law , to protect the person and allow them to continue with freedom.

If I can't find a loophole that I can use as part of my job, then I have the heartbreaking task of denying entry.

But I would campaign for those bad laws to be removed, using the situations that I come across in my job, to illustrate why the laws are bad.

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Michael,

You seem to missing the point of Mercury's post. I do not think that Mercury (and Mercury can correct me if I am wrong) is stating to go out hell-bent to break laws. I do think that Mercury is stating that if you were not an American citizen and stuck living in a communist society or something similar with no chance of ever changing that society nor leaving it legally, what then would you choose to do.

I think it is very easy for you and others to state that you would sit back and wait for a way or go through the legal system because you might not fully understand the situation, and maybe that is a good thing in a certain context. But, try and think of yourself as a Jew in Germany during WWII and Hitler has cut off all avenues of legally leaving the country, now tell me what choice you would make.

I am also not saying that during non-emergency situations everyone should be running through the "gates" breaking the law(s). I am stating that in a certain context, I see it as perfectly moral to escape an immoral country and flee to a free country, whether considered legal or not.

"Man must choose his actions, values and goals by the standard of that which is proper to man—in order to achieve, maintain, fulfill and enjoy that ultimate value, that end in itself, which is his own life." [Ayn Rand, The Objectivist Ethics, The Virtue of Selfishness, 25.]

"Life or death is man's only fundamental alternative. To live is his basic act of choice. If he chooses to live, a rational ethics will tell him what principles of action are required to implement his choice. If he does not choose to live, nature will take its course." [Ayn Rand, Causality Versus Duty, Philosophy: Who Needs It, 99.]

"The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live." [Ayn Rand, Galts Speech, For The New Intellectual, 123.]

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