The recent congressional debate over US immigration policies and border security has our country, and not the politicians, in an uproar. But before we get into just how our borders should be secured (which they should) and immigration policies be set, one important ethical or moral principle needs to be stated. It is that those who take in upon themselves to invade or occupy another people's land — certainly a questionable practice to begin with— have an obligation to treat its original inhabitants fairly and justly.
principle may explain why we are presently stuck in
The fact that
most of these descendants of these original Americans happen to speak Spanish
rather than English raises yet another question. Why is it that nine of our fifty states have
Spanish names? Have we forgotten that
our first foreign war (the Mexican War of 1846-48) was openly imperialist in aim
and was backed mostly by Southerners who wished to expand their slave-owning
territories? While it was opposed by many in the North, it ended up with US
wresting away from Spain the whole northern part of what was then Mexico,
California, and the Oregon territory. So
when many of these new immigrants wryly joke about their move into the American
southwest and the
But aside from our run-ins with Spain (we did it again in 1899 when we invaded Cuba, took Puerto Rico and the Philippines), we might also ask why it is that twenty-five other states bear either the names given to them by or named after their original inhabitants? Leaving aside the three states whose names honor their earliest French-speaking settlers, this leaves only thirteen states that have English-origin names, and even one of these is called the "Land of the Indians" or "Indiana". This should tell us something about whose country all this really was to begin with.
tell us something else as well. Critics
of any compromise in these matters keep raising the issue of obeying the
law. Yes, keeping laws is important and
we should, if at all possible, not reward law-breaking. But again, have we
forgotten that a major part of what is now the
All this suggests that while laws should be obeyed, they also need to be changed to reflect more than just political expediency. The fundamental reality is, at least if one is a believer, that God gave the earth to all people. So while immigration should be made orderly, to try to stop it altogether is contrary to divine law, fundamental human rights and even to the facts of our own history.
Immigrants (670 words) 06-05-29.html