My general experience with illegal aliens is similar to the one called to mind by George Bush:  people who at great risk and significant hardship have sacrificed and done what they could to provide a better life for their children.  It is tempered by my wife’s experience providing anesthesia to family oriented young women who are proud to give their children “American” names and to become a part of life in the United States.

I am aware that historically the risk and hardships were greater, the financial rewards of coming to America were much less.  Political and religious freedom were often the only reward.  The last one hundred years or so have created a dramatic change in the financial outlook offered by immigration while at the same time the cost of travel has dropped steadily.

But what is my duty to those who come here?  To those who do not come?  Am I my brother’s keeper?  What does that mean?

The questions have several completely different parts:

  • Part of the question comes down to inheritance.  Should there be any right of inheritance?  What is my right to the things that have been given to me or that I have as the result of my parents or others?  After all, everything I have as a citizen of a country is really an inheritance, something I have as a gift, not because I earned it myself.
  • Part of the question is whether nation-states have the right to exist, to define themselves and their memberships.  Who has a right to their services and to entry?  Does the state have any rights?  Do people have a right to a state? Does any state have a right to exist?
  • Part of the question is what happens under various solutions, various answers, various approaches.  It is the nature of the current outcome that creates the hideous problems that drive the current criticisms of the present system, it is the anticipated issues of various proposed solutions that such resistance.
  • Part of the question is whether or not I have any duty to my neighbor, to my brothers and sisters?  What is my moral duty?  How should that fit my legal duty?

Some baby steps are obvious.  The military favors giving people green cards who are willing to enlist and who qualify to serve in the military.  Some “solutions” are acknowledged as so disastrous as be bluntly rejected by just about everyone (e.g. completely closed borders, no immigration, no tourists, no imports or exports).

As to completely open borders, the simulations show at least two hundred million immigrants the first year.  90% of Haiti; 85% of the doctors in the Philippines (where now we’ve had almost 10% of them retrain as nurses in order to work in the United States as RNs); etc.  There is also an expected complete collapse of any universal services such as free schools and Medicaid unless access is restrained.  On the other hand, a stable population equilibrium is estimated at six hundred to seven hundred million people (including current residents), with peak expected not to break a billion with open borders before population falls off.  Most see that as not much better than completely closed borders.

But the current situation is pretty bad, including kidnapping, brutality, death and hardship with incredible pressure on anyone (outside of H1Bs) who attempts to comply with the law.  Bottom line:  terrible hardship and abuse.  The side effects are toxic and harsh so that everyone is crying out for relief.

Obviously it seems like something should be done, one would hope, to make things better.  But what – that is the big question, what is our duty and what is common sense even if we do not acknowledge anyone as our brothers and sisters?  I don’t have a solution; I’m looking for those in the comments. But if we are our brother’s keepers (and our sister’s too) the status quo is not enough.  What is your solution, what do you suggest?