Thanks to an election-year conversion by the President of the United States, 800,000 young people born outside the country will now be spared the threat of deportation. That’s a good thing. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that the biggest victims of American immigration policy are not the ones we deport; they’re the ones who never got to come here in the first place.
The President defends his new policy as humane. Put aside the question of where his humanity has been for the past three and a half years and ask yourself what’s so humane about protecting the children of relatively rich “illegals” (that is, the ones who have had the opportunity to earn American wages) while we continue to bar the door to their desperately impoverished cousins.
Regarding the beneficiaries of this new policy, the President says that
These are young people who study in our schools, they play in our neighborhoods, they’re friends with our kids, they pledge allegiance to our flag …
Why is any of this relevant? When did visibility become a criterion for moral status?
This is indeed a time to celebrate and I don’t want to diminish that. But I do have two questions for the President:
- What morally relevant criterion protects the rights of the relatively rich foreigners who are already here but allows us to continue trampling the rights of the desperately poor foreigners we’re continuing to turn away at the border?
- Now that you’ve at least admitted it’s a bad idea to throw current residents out, what are we going to do about the folks you’ve thrown out over the past three-and-a-half years (and the ones your predecessors threw out before that)? They were, after all, studying in our schools and playing in our neighborhoods at the time. Will we apologize and invite them back?