Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bad Idea

The renewed efforts to end the right of citizenship for children of illegal immigrants born in the United States seem unlikely to pass, which is thankful. This law would likely result in the expulsion of adult residents who lived their entire lives in the United States to another country with which they have only the most tenuous connection. I honestly can't fathom the mindset of someone who thinks that's an appropriate approach to illegal immigration. The people in such a situation, who were of course born and raised in the US through no decision of their own, would be forced to find work, a place to live, and, if they are lucky, friends, spouses, and all that other stuff just a bit further down Maslow's pyramid, in what is likely to be a completely alien culture. That is a really ugly, unfortunate outcome for the people in question; imagine being forced to move to El Salvador or Bangladesh tomorrow because of something your parents did before you were born. To intentionally engineer that outcome strikes me as obscenely immoral.

I suppose that the idea is that such a result will be very rare, and the threat to deport adults born in the US will more than anything serve as a deterrent. However, the deterrent would have to be exercised to be credible. Furthermore, to be useful on its own terms, it would have to disincentive something presently motivating immigrants to come to the US; I'm pretty skeptical that anything beyond a very small minority of the undocumented population in the US was motivated by the desire to come to the US, have babies, and use them as a way to stick around legally. Most people don't think that far in advance.

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