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Is Illegal Immigration Moral? (There is more to the debate than costs and benefits)
National Review ^ | 11/26/2010 | Victor Davis Hanson

Posted on 11/26/2010 6:47:59 AM PST by SeekAndFind

We know illegal immigration is no longer really unlawful, but is it moral?

Usually Americans debate the fiscal costs of illegal immigration. Supporters of open borders rightly remind us that illegal immigrants pay sales taxes. Often their payroll-tax contributions are not later tapped by Social Security payouts.

Opponents counter that illegal immigrants are more likely to end up on state assistance, are less likely to report cash income, and cost the state more through the duplicate issuing of services and documents in both English and Spanish. Such to-and-fro talking points are endless.

So is the debate over beneficiaries of illegal immigration. Are profit-minded employers villains who want cheap labor in lieu of hiring more expensive Americans? Or is the culprit a cynical Mexican government that counts on billions of dollars in remittances from its expatriate poor that it otherwise ignored?

Or is the engine that drives illegal immigration the American middle class? Why should millions of suburbanites assume that, like 18th-century French aristocrats, they should have imported labor to clean their homes, manicure their lawns, and watch over their kids?

Or is the catalyst the self-interested professional Latino lobby in politics and academia that sees a steady stream of impoverished Latin American nationals as a permanent victimized constituency, empowering and showcasing elite self-appointed spokesmen such as themselves?

Or is the real advocate the Democratic Party that wishes to remake the electoral map of the American Southwest by ensuring larger future pools of natural supporters? Again, the debate over who benefits and why is never-ending.

But what is often left out of the equation is the moral dimension of illegal immigration. We see the issue too often reduced to caricature, involving a noble, impoverished victim without much free will and subject to cosmic forces of sinister oppression. But everyone makes free choices that affect others. So ponder the ethics of a guest arriving in a host country knowingly contrary to its sovereign protocols and laws.

First, there is the larger effect on the sanctity of a legal system. If a guest ignores the law — and thereby often must keep breaking more laws — should citizens also have the right to similarly pick and choose which statutes they find worthy of honoring and which are too bothersome? Once it is deemed moral for the impoverished to cross a border without a passport, could not the same arguments of social justice be used for the poor of any status not to report earned income or even file a 1040 form?

Second, what is the effect of mass illegal immigration on impoverished U.S. citizens? Does anyone care? When 10 to 15 million aliens are here illegally, where is the leverage for the American working poor to bargain with employers? If it is deemed ethical to grant in-state-tuition discounts to illegal-immigrant students, is it equally ethical to charge three times as much for out-of-state, financially needy American students — whose federal government usually offers billions to subsidize state colleges and universities? If foreign nationals are afforded more entitlements, are there fewer for U.S. citizens?

Third, consider the moral ramifications on legal immigration — the traditional great strength of the American nation. What are we to tell the legal immigrant from Oaxaca who got a green card at some cost and trouble, or who, once legally in the United States, went through the lengthy and expensive process of acquiring citizenship? Was he a dupe to follow our laws dutifully?

And given the current precedent, if a million soon-to-be-impoverished Greeks, 2 million refugee North Koreans, or 5 million starving Somalis were to enter the United States illegally and en masse, could anyone object to their unlawful entry and residence? If so, on what legal, practical, or moral grounds?

Fourth, examine the morality of remittances. It is deemed noble to send billions of dollars back to families and friends struggling in Latin America. But how is such a considerable loss of income made up? Are American taxpayers supposed to step in to subsidize increased social services so that illegal immigrants can afford to send billions of dollars back across the border? What is the morality of that equation in times of recession? Shouldn’t illegal immigrants at least try to buy health insurance before sending cash back to Mexico?

The debate over illegal immigration is too often confined to costs and benefits. But ultimately it is a complicated moral issue — and one often ignored by all too many moralists.

— Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the author, most recently, of The Father of Us All: War and History, Ancient and Modern. © 2010 Tribune Media Services, Inc.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Mexico; News/Current Events; US: Arizona; US: California; US: New Mexico; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: aliens; arizona; benefits; california; costs; illegal; illegalaliens; immigration; mexico; newmexico; texas

1 posted on 11/26/2010 6:48:02 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Well said!


2 posted on 11/26/2010 6:50:37 AM PST by freeangel ( (free speech is only good until someone else doesn't like what you say))
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To: SeekAndFind

3 posted on 11/26/2010 6:52:30 AM PST by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro is a Kenyan communist)
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To: SeekAndFind
I think the best way to get proponents of illegal immigration to see the error of their ways is for them to be on the receiving end of the problems caused by illegal immigration. Let those people have their loved ones be murdered by illegals, or have their identities stolen by illegals, or have to deal with the social costs of having so many illegals and see how long they like it.

Of course, most of the progressives who support illegal immigration themselves live safe in gated communities where they do not have to deal with the riff-raff.

4 posted on 11/26/2010 6:53:41 AM PST by pnh102 (Regarding liberalism, always attribute to malice what you think can be explained by stupidity. - Me)
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To: SeekAndFind

Is it moral to support Mexican ethnic cleansing? Mexican illegal immigrants tend to come from the lower social castes while the Mexican power structure tends to be of higher castes and encourages those of the lower castes to get out of the country.

So by supporting illegal immigration, supporters are contributing to ethnic cleansing in Mexico.


5 posted on 11/26/2010 6:57:51 AM PST by PhilosopherStone1000
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To: SeekAndFind
From another thread: ...the illegal community can send tens of billions of dollars in remittances back to Latin America, while tapping into entitlement support from their hosts, but cannot afford catastrophic health insurance? Could we not bar anyone on public assistance from sending money out of the country without substantial taxes? And those taxes could be used to pay for illegal immigrant health care that US taxpayers are providing them.
6 posted on 11/26/2010 7:00:38 AM PST by La Lydia
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To: SeekAndFind
Is Illegal Immigration Moral?

No...it's illegal. Next question.

7 posted on 11/26/2010 7:01:22 AM PST by econjack (Some people are as dumb as soup.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Very well written!!! You don’t see this side of the issue presented very often. Thanks for this post!


8 posted on 11/26/2010 7:01:30 AM PST by surroundedbyblue
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To: SeekAndFind

Very well written!!! You don’t see this side of the issue presented very often. Thanks for this post!


9 posted on 11/26/2010 7:01:31 AM PST by surroundedbyblue
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To: SeekAndFind

I like John 10-1. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.”


10 posted on 11/26/2010 7:01:35 AM PST by seemoAR
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To: SeekAndFind

There is no morality to immigration. There is only law.

The question is purely legal

If morality must be considered, is it moral to protect society by killing the illegal trash hordes that are inflicting pain on the society?


11 posted on 11/26/2010 7:02:08 AM PST by bert (K.E. N.P. N.C. D.E. +12 .....( History is a process, not an event ))
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To: SeekAndFind

It use to be under sever persecution the US would grant amnesty. Now not so much, which is horrible. Remember what Janet did to poor Elian, that was horrible. I don’t know how that woman sleeps at night.


12 posted on 11/26/2010 7:11:52 AM PST by MsLady (If you died tonight, where would you go? Salvation, don't leave earth without it!)
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To: SeekAndFind
Would you let a complete stranger from another country sneek in the back door of your home, take up residence in a spare room in exchange for doing manual labor around the house, insist you pay for their social services and speak their language, and then sneak the entire family into your home to live and multiply?

Or would you rather determine if you want that person to enter your home, from the front door, what they are allowed to do in your home, and when they are required to leave?

13 posted on 11/26/2010 7:14:51 AM PST by DTogo (High time to bring back the Sons of Liberty !!)
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To: SeekAndFind; AuntB; Liz

We know illegal immigration is no longer really unlawful,
_____________________________________________-

WHAT ????????????

When did that happen ???


14 posted on 11/26/2010 7:15:32 AM PST by Tennessee Nana
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To: SeekAndFind

The real immorality of illegal immigration is that it allows the home country’s government and economy to never reform.

What Mexico does by exporting it’s poverty to another country so they never have to reform their own is immoral on it’s face and should be treated as such.


15 posted on 11/26/2010 7:16:47 AM PST by headstamp 2 ("My Boss is a Jewish Carpenter")
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To: bert
bert:

"There is no morality to immigration. There is only law.

The question is purely legal

If morality must be considered, is it moral to protect society by killing the illegal trash hordes that are inflicting pain on the society?"

There is morality associated with keeping the law or breaking it. God expects Christians to honor the government and to keep the laws:

Romans 13

1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

16 posted on 11/26/2010 7:18:05 AM PST by Forgiven_Sinner (If you think a RINO will be with us . . . youÂ’re living on a unicorn ranch in fantasy land.)
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To: SeekAndFind
MEX_FAIL2
17 posted on 11/26/2010 7:19:05 AM PST by Wings-n-Wind (The main things are the plain things!)
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To: pnh102

The best way to get them to see the error of their ways is to include them in deportations.


18 posted on 11/26/2010 7:20:02 AM PST by wiggen (The teacher card. When the racism card just won't work.)
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To: bert

The law reflects a society’s morality.


19 posted on 11/26/2010 7:20:09 AM PST by kabar
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To: pnh102

Well said. Once you break one law, it’s easy to continue breaking laws and making excuses why your doing it. For the most part, these people don’t give a rip about our country. They cost $500 a year from every taxpayer. Also, my gf daughter worked at a farm for awhile. She said the illegals would come in to pick crops and when they would leave they would break into homes, business and cars and steal as they went. I will have to say that some are like the Dog Whisper, Cesar Millan. He came here illegally.


20 posted on 11/26/2010 7:21:33 AM PST by MsLady (If you died tonight, where would you go? Salvation, don't leave earth without it!)
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To: SeekAndFind
Is Illegal Immigration Moral?

Its not immigration. Its tresspassing and freeloading.

Both are immoral.

21 posted on 11/26/2010 7:21:35 AM PST by Spirochete (Sic transit gloria mundi)
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To: Tennessee Nana

Over a sucession of administrations that ignored the problem. Like most issues that end up seemingly intractable (not to me,i say round em up and send them back) this was caused by inaction until the illegal seemed to be the norm. I bet there are judges that would rule that way too.


22 posted on 11/26/2010 7:22:44 AM PST by wiggen (The teacher card. When the racism card just won't work.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Is burglary immoral? I think illegal immigration and burglary are nearly identical crimes except for the scale.


23 posted on 11/26/2010 7:23:56 AM PST by Flag_This (Real presidents don't bow.)
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To: econjack

That is the point people need to look at. Forget all the reasons for or against, whether it’s moral or not. Just look at our countries laws and enforce them. If we don’t do that, then the general public shouldn’t have to obey any of our laws. Is that where we are going?


24 posted on 11/26/2010 7:32:36 AM PST by RC2
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To: SeekAndFind
Excellent, excellent, VDH

Thank you, and for the post.

25 posted on 11/26/2010 7:38:01 AM PST by jnsun (The Left: the need to manipulate others because of nothing productive to offer.)
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To: SeekAndFind
As a corollary, one could ask is it moral to flood the country with LEGAL immigrants plus their entire extended families? Many legal immigrants are low skilled and make extensive use of the US's safety net.

Other LEGAL immigrants flood the market, displacing Americans at all levels and suppressing salaries with cheap labor. Part of the costs of hiring them is passed onto US taxpayers via the safety net.

I tracked down this recent report from PEW, a major hispanic advocacy group. Note PEW uses BLS figures.

Foreign Born Gain Jobs; Native Born Lose Jobs

Look at this graph, remembering 125,000 new LEGAL workers (combination of guest workers and green cards) per month = 1.5 million per year.



Many of the LEGAL immigrants are the result of 'Free Trade' agreements that over-rid US immigration law and make no accommodation for the unemployment/employment situation in the US.
26 posted on 11/26/2010 7:41:57 AM PST by algernonpj (He who pays the piper . . .)
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To: SeekAndFind
Illegal immigration is immoral. Illegal aliens are criminals who want to get special privileges for being criminals. Why should they be rewarded over people who follow the laws? Besides,they are, as a group, disgusting and dangerous.

Since President Obama is asking China to help defend S. Korea, he should also ask China to help us with the illegal alien invasion.

27 posted on 11/26/2010 7:43:07 AM PST by apocalypto
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To: SeekAndFind
An FR thread from 2006....

Watch "Immigration Gumballs" on Google Video (must see)

Good intentions are the subject of the last few minutes.

28 posted on 11/26/2010 7:45:15 AM PST by mewzilla (Hey, Schumer, how's that Lockerbie bomber deal investigation coming along?)
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To: SeekAndFind

It’s simple, if all those illegals were presumed to be future GOP votes, the border would be closed in a mico-second, not even a coyote would get across.


29 posted on 11/26/2010 8:50:36 AM PST by Waco (From Seward to Sarah)
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To: SeekAndFind

We need to deport or imprison ALL illegal aliens, including their anchor babies, seal/secure the border with a wall and fence, and have a lethal response to all who try to re-enter illegally.


30 posted on 11/26/2010 8:56:08 AM PST by thethirddegree
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To: pnh102
Those are all legitimate concerns, but I think the author's point is that they go beyond illegal immigration in and of itself. Getting your identity stolen by an illegal alien is no different than having it done by an American-born A-hole. The same goes for most of the other social costs listed here.
31 posted on 11/26/2010 9:39:07 AM PST by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
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To: econjack
Not trying to take away from your post, but there are things that are illegal, but are not immoral.

Case in point, the Supreme Court has said it is illegal to protest within a certain distance from an abortion clinic. Does that make it immoral to protest within that limit?

Also, it is legal to take somebodies property (Kelo) but is it moral to do so?

32 posted on 11/26/2010 9:56:07 AM PST by wbarmy (I chose to be a sheepdog once I saw what happens to the sheep.)
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To: Wings-n-Wind

I try to remind my Spanish friends, that it’s Spain’s fault, not ours.


33 posted on 11/26/2010 9:58:03 AM PST by A Strict Constructionist (Oligarchy...never vote for the Ivy League candidate.)
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To: 1_Inch_Group; 2sheep; 2Trievers; 3AngelaD; 3pools; 3rdcanyon; 4Freedom; 4ourprogeny; 7.62 x 51mm; ..

Ping!


34 posted on 11/26/2010 12:01:31 PM PST by HiJinx (I can see Mexico from the back porch...)
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To: SeekAndFind

IMO, it’s neither complicated nor a ‘moral’ issue.

Illegal is illegal. Breaking the law is immoral.


35 posted on 11/26/2010 12:50:04 PM PST by Kimberly GG ("Path to Citizenship" Amnesty candidates will NOT get my vote! DeMint, 2012)
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To: HiJinx

MY HERO!!

Father Bascio on the immorality of illegal immigration
11 min - Jan 7, 2010 - Uploaded by tsccom
Father Patrick J. Bascio, a Catholic priest, discusses why illegal immigration into the United States is fundamentally immoral ...
youtube.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMaNa1K8lJo


36 posted on 11/26/2010 1:55:56 PM PST by chicagolady (Mexican Elite say: EXPORT Poverty Let the American Taxpayer foot the bill !)
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To: SeekAndFind

What if I snuck into Canada, purposely evading their border patrol, perhaps even paying a coyote to help me do so. Once there, I steal some Canadian’s identity and work under the table, taking a job away from a Canadian. I also use taxpayer-funded services to which I’m not supposed to be entitled. All the while I insist that it is my “right” to do all of this as I arrogantly proclaim my presence is “enriching” the Canadians. When you look at it that way, it’s obvious that it’s immoral! It’s just that when supposedly poor Mexicans do it to us, the issue gets all clouded up with matters of race and poverty. Suddenly we cannot expect poor Mexicans to abide by the same laws Americans abide by! It’s a condescending thing.


37 posted on 11/26/2010 4:18:51 PM PST by Nea Wood (Silly liberal . . . paychecks are for workers!)
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To: freeangel

You know how one crime leads to another. A 29-year employee of the U.S. Social Security Administration office in San Jose has been indicted for illegally creating and selling Social Security cards.

Rachel Ochoa, 66, of San Jose, was arrested at her office in San Jose last week and appeared briefly in federal court before being released on $50,000 bail.

According to the indictment by a federal grand jury, Ochoa was able to use her position at the San Jose office of the Social Security Administration to falsely create cards for people. Recipients of the cards paid from $2,500 to $5,000 to obtain the cards, according to an affidavit by the FBI.

The affidavit said Ochoa fabricated documents to support applications for the cards and then claimed application interviews had taken place when they hadn’t.

Authorities declined to say how many cards were involved but the charges against Ochoa stem from Nov. 18, 2005 to Nov. 9 this year. Ochoa is charged with one count of unlawfully producing an identification document — Social Security cards — one count of theft of government property. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison.

Ochoa is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on Nov. 29.

http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news…;


38 posted on 11/26/2010 4:59:03 PM PST by moonshinner_09
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To: SeekAndFind
Well written.

Or is the engine that drives illegal immigration the American middle class? Why should millions of suburbanites assume that, like 18th-century French aristocrats, they should have imported labor to clean their homes, manicure their lawns, and watch over their kids?

Here's what I think should also be asked. Is it the people living on Welfare and those who use our tax dollars to buy their votes? Why should a group of people think they are entitled to live off other people? Why shouldn't they be doing the jobs the illegals are doing? Why do our lawmakers think those Americans are to good to do the jobs Latinos are doing?

39 posted on 11/26/2010 10:15:34 PM PST by Razz Barry (Round'em up, send'em home.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Leviticus and Immigration

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2548397/posts

post # 39 sums it up well.


40 posted on 11/27/2010 11:41:53 AM PST by WOBBLY BOB ( "I don't want the majority if we don't stand for something"- Jim Demint)
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To: SeekAndFind

BTTT!


41 posted on 11/27/2010 3:33:18 PM PST by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: SeekAndFind

Mr. Hanson, you forgot one. If you are illegal, you do not have the rights the legal workers have. You can be used as slaves, and often are, by the coyotes needing more money from you for bringing you to this country. So you are working as an indentured servant, enduring harsh working conditions, with no law to protect you as you are outside of the law. Many females are brought here ostensibly to become waitresses, but when they arrive, they find they are to be whores for the illegal male field workers, brought from agricultural shack to shack, held against their will until they have “paid back” their benevolent coyotes who brought them here.

To get this cheap labor and quick Democrat voting bloc, we get closer to slavery than we have been since the Civil War.

It’s wholly immoral.


42 posted on 11/27/2010 7:22:28 PM PST by Yaelle
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To: PhilosopherStone1000

Mexico outsources its poverty. Every other country in the world has to fight poverty within its borders, find its own solution, or die trying. But Mexico sends its poor across the border, and then profits from the money that re-enters the country from the workers in El Norte.

It would be like having your poor uncle who lives with you going to your next door neighbor’s house for each meal. Not only do you not have to feed him, but he often brings back a basket of their dinner rolls, or a few slices of pie to share with you at home. Hey! If the neighbors are that stupid, why not keep doing it? Send Auntie over for meals, too, and maybe we’ll get a whole roast chicken sometimes!


43 posted on 11/27/2010 7:26:37 PM PST by Yaelle
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To: Nea Wood
Suddenly we cannot expect poor Mexicans to abide by the same laws Americans abide by! It’s a condescending thing.

It IS. It's a patronizing, racist, low-expectations kind of immorality. We can't expect them to learn English. We can't expect them to wait in line to immigrate. We can't expect them to use toilet paper properly or teach their children to be respectful in public. What? Are they not HUMAN like the rest of us? Their brains are the same as anyone else's.

It would be much more moral to expect them to obey laws, be polite, learn the language, and wait their turn in line to immigrate with all the other poor of the world.

44 posted on 11/27/2010 7:31:19 PM PST by Yaelle
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