August 21, 2019 | 72° F

MEHTA: Ethics of Immigration need to bind debate


Opinion Column: Grass Roots


Imagine calling the police and being sent to voicemail. 

This is currently how immigrants feel following this administration’s continued neglect of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) constant abuse of power. “Illegals,” is how they are described — the Left even refers to them as “illegal immigrants” — when was the last time they were referred to as human beings? 

There are a few things that need to be understood. The first one of these things being that no human being is inherently illegal. Our laws were formed on the basis of justice for the disenfranchised, not persecution of them. In one of the wealthiest countries in the history of the world, where Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has the same amount of money as 123 million Americans, and yet still paid $0 in federal income taxes in 2016, the focus is somehow drawn to those who are entering this country to pay taxes, contribute to our economy and societies and be given inalienable rights granted by the Constitution of the United States. 

Instead, ICE not only set up a fake university in Michigan as a part of a sting operation to detain undocumented human beings, but also issued fake court dates causing these human beings to travel for hours and spend thousands of dollars to go nowhere, according to CBS. This is taunting, this is torture, this is a violation of Eighth Amendment rights these human beings should have. These human beings need lawyers, not walls. They need camaraderie, not divisiveness. 

Now, you have all of your arguments lined up, but let us go through some of the facts. Prior to that, let me say that it is disgusting that I have to make an economic case for you to be okay with stopping families from being torn apart, hurt and killed. You do not care about this country, you care about yourself, your misguided view of God and your racist, distorted “traditions” you hold so dear. 

Vox laid out the facts perfectly, and please refer to it if these facts are necessary for you to sleep at night. But, this is an argument of ethics. 

We find a point of contention in Vox's article: “What is true is that since people with more degrees — and especially people with degrees in technical subjects — earn above-average incomes, highly educated immigrants have a more positive budgetary impact than less educated ones. Altering American immigration policy to put more weight on in-demand skills, educational credentials and ability to either attract above-market salaries or work in a field where expanding the size of the workforce is deemed socially desirable is a perfectly reasonable proposal," according to the article.

The idea that a human being would need to bring some massive economic value in order to escape persecution, a worse life or unfortunate circumstances is ridiculous and disgusting. Given that premise, this no longer becomes the land of the free, but the land of the exploitable and home of the greed. It is not a perfectly reasonable proposal, because it presents the same problems for immigrants as it does for those here. 

If I cannot afford “educational credentials,” and the country I live in does not have a free — or severely inexpensive — public education system, then someone who can afford deserves a better life than I do? We could consider applying a version of John Rawls’s “veil of ignorance” to the immigration debate, and if we did, maybe things would be different. 

The question must be asked: How hypocritical is it that we as a country have the gall to feign concern at rising immigration when those fleeing to seek a better life are the victims of our own imperialist ventures? One can only hope that the apathy and political games of the establishment, as well as the borderline fascistic President Donald J. Trump administration has, in seeking to cage children inspires a thousand more "migrant caravans." We manufactured this crisis. We owe these asylum seekers much more than a home.

“For those who believe in the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the value of America’s ideals, accepting a future of decline and retreat in the name of ethnic purity should be unacceptable," according to Vox.

It would not simply be unacceptable, but treasonous. 

You are going to try and think of a lot of ways to convince yourself either that these human beings are still somehow bad, or that these facts are not true. And even if none of these facts were true, it would not change a thing, it would not make you any less wrong. 

What we learn from the Right’s continued support of ICE is to never swim with a conservative, because if they start to drown, they will drag you down them with them as if you are the reason it is happening, they will blame the lifeguard for trying to help, but will not blame the fact that they never learned how to swim in the first place. 

Rishi Mehta is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in  political science and English. His column, "Grass Roots," runs on  alternate Mondays.

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Rishi Mehta

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