Supporting Open Borders Spits on Legal Immigrants

According to the Democrats, there are only two positions one can hold in the debate about illegal immigration: either you favor open borders, or you’re a racist, nativist, bigoted xenophobe. Besides unfairly vilifying millions of Americans who still believe in old fashioned things like borders and the rule of law, this way of thinking ignores how illegal immigration disrespects legal immigrants.

My family and I immigrated to the U.S. more than a decade ago. The immigration process was long and laborious, and we only became citizens after completing mountains of paperwork, spending years with a green card, applying for citizenship, and finally taking the citizenship exam.   

I will always remember the day we took the oath of citizenship, and since then we have all felt grateful for the opportunity to become American citizens. That being said, it’s frustrating to see politicians talk about de-criminalizing illegal immigration. What message does that send to us legal immigrants? “Thank you for obeying the law and going through a long and laborious process, but you could’ve skipped the whole thing by illegally crossing the southern border?”

Democrats justify their fight for open borders as a moral struggle, as seen in Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s outrageous comments that border detention facilities are “concentration camps.” They present the immigration situation as so terrible that only a heartless monster could insist on upholding the law. According to Democrats, our immigration system is so restrictive that it’s perfectly understandable that millions of people would try to circumvent it.

If Democrats think we should have looser immigration laws, they should make the case in public, convince the American people, and try to push laws making it easier to immigrate and become a citizen. Changing the law, however, is difficult and time-consuming. It’s much easier to brand the current law as immoral and ignore it completely when you can’t have your way. 

The problem is that this mentality undermines our society. Those like John Adams understood that “we are a nation of laws, and not of men.” The rule of law must either reign supreme in all matters, or the very concept of law itself becomes a joke, an a la carte menu that each citizen can pick and choose from. Don’t agree with our immigration policy? Easy! Just cross the border illegally and without a care for the consequences. Don’t like high taxes? Just don’t pay them! Hate gun regulations? Who needs permits, anyway?  

Do we really think for a second that the same people advocating for open borders would be fine if other Americans broke the rule of law willy-nilly? If millions of Americans suddenly decided to stop paying taxes, would Democrats nod their heads in understanding and start coaching citizens on how to dodge taxes? Will the media start claiming that tax dodgers are really just “undocumented taxpayers?”

In the Platonic Dialogue, Crito, Socrates asks, “do you imagine that a city can continue to exist and not be turned upside down, if the legal judgments which are pronounced in it have no force, but are nullified and destroyed by private persons?” What was true for ancient Athens is still true for America today. We are a society of laws, in which everyone is expected to obey all laws, even those they disagree with. If you don’t like a certain law, there are well-established methods for changing it. Make the case in public, write about why the law should be changed, or run for office and vote to change it. 

The Democrats’ current prescription for immigration throws centuries of institutional wisdom out the window. Their vision will turn us into a divided society where nullification reigns supreme, and different interest groups can pick and choose which laws are worthy of upholding based on private conscience.

This is a recipe for anarchy, and Americans should not let the pandering, short-term views of cynical politicians hungry for votes upend a stable system that has lasted for over two centuries.