Thursday, May 31, 2007

Criminal Survival

Alvaro Vargas Llosa has a wonderful piece at Tech Central Station concerning the obsession with calling undocumented workers "criminals." So what if they broke laws? That does not make them immoral (no more than it made Prohibition-era alcoholics immoral). Why is it wrong for someone to enter the country so they can have a better life for themselves? Why is it immoral for one person to hire another?

Even if we assume that immigrants really do "take our jobs" (and Llosa reasonably argues they do not), why are not anti-immigration activists destroying factory robots and other high-tech machines? When Alberto replaces Paul, the job still goes to someone. But when an assembly line replaces Paul, people call it progress (as they should).

The immigration debate isn't really about the economy. It's about statism. It's about xenophobia. It's about crimminalizing survival.


Jason Br. said...

No one argues that illegal immigration is immoral.

An argument that some do make goes like this: "Immigration lowers natives' wages, Americans have the right or ability to control their borders, so let's not stand for having natives' wages lowered." That argument comes only from normal economic selfishness, which libertarian economists applaud in market settings but disdain in political settings.

David said...

I have a hard time believing that no one argues illegal immigration is immoral. Anti-immigration crowds call illegals "criminals" as if what they are doing (breaking the law) is inherently wrong. Naturally the underlying economics the person might be using is hard to untangle from their moral claims but I have little doubt that there are many people who think illegal immigration is immoral. Do you honestly think that some people don't equate what is legal with what is moral?