An Amateur Philosopher Has Lunch With Immigration Policy

Recently I had a friend drop me a note asking for my thoughts on an article she found in the Wall Street Journal (“Taking a NAFTA Approach to Immigration”), relating the idea that instead of paths to citizenship, which are just fields of political landmines, that possibly by taking a page from NAFTA or the EU we could acheive the immigration reform so many of us desperately want.

In a nutshell: Freedom of travel without citizenship.

The idea that within the borders of the agreement, all citizens of any country could freely move between nations, without ever needing to naturalize.

I told her shortly that I thought it might be an improvement, but as I told her, this question and proposal also gave me an excuse to run a little mental exercise on the issues surround inter-nation migration.

This is a highly charged topic in our nation and particularly to any of us with the good fortune to make our homes in the American Southwest. I appreciate empirical, statistics driven arguments, pros and cons, utilitarian analyses, but more persuasive to me are moral arguments, those that drive up from our core beliefs on how we think proper to treat each other as fellow human beings.
Acceptance of the “Freedom of Travel/Movement/Migration”, relatively open immigration, is a good example of a conclusion arrived at from extrapolation from first principles.

Follow with me for a couple minutes:

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The Borders of Morality

TO PHILOSOPHY STUDENTS: You will see “morals” and “ethics” used interchangeably in this articles…  Get your grumbling out of the way now…  Okay let’s proceed…


I recently posted a quick tweet addressing a question that nags at me, especially living here on the Arizona / Mexico frontier…

If #povertyprograms are #moralimperative (vs #voterrecruitment), then shouldnt govt welfare first go to the 5B pp FAR poorer than any in US?

I was challenged on this from several fronts but primarily it came down to, in assessing government policies, what is the appropriate Control Volume.

Control Volume means, generally, “a mathematical abstraction employed in the process of creating mathematical models of physical processes.”  More specifically the above statement touches on the Control Volume concept in that a person’s opinion of our enacted policies depend on who and what they care about.  Do you draw the Volume around the U.S, around the individual, around the state, around the World?

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