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Beverly Hills, California, United States
Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; eli@elikantorlaw.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

I’m an immigrant and I find open borders troubling

The Hill (Op-Ed)
July 25, 2018

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, claims America’s national borders create “an injustice” by keeping Mexican workers from traveling to the United States to look for higher-paying jobs. In an interview with progressive activist Rabbi Michael Lerner, Ellison stated that America’s “prosperity is based on the want that is experienced in other parts of the world” and complained that “people, regular people, cannot go back and forth across the border seeking out the highest wages.”

Ellison also sported a T-shirt with the words “I don’t believe in borders” while walking in a parade in May. The next month, he posed for a picture next to a sign that read, “No human being is illegal on stolen land.”

I came to this country as a legal immigrant and am now an American citizen, and I find the concept of open borders troubling. Just as Americans cannot have an open-door policy to their homes and let indiscriminate strangers come inside, our country cannot have an unvetted open-door policy for citizens of other countries to simply come in whenever they like. This is a form of trespassing, and its consequences can be very dangerous. We must note that the term “immigrant” is a technical one denoting a conferred status on someone recognized as having a legal right to reside in a country.

The idea of open borders presupposes that immigration is a human right or constitutional mandate, but actually it is a privilege granted by a host country. That privilege, when dispensed, is based on several criteria that ought to be left to the discretion of our national intelligence community. The idea also assumes that territorial borders are arbitrary. Those who oppose them care more for the well-being of strangers than they do for the purpose for which borders exist: to demarcate the sovereign dimensions of the state and, more importantly, to protect the lives of its citizens.

An open-border policy would be unethical for two fundamental reasons. First, trespassers — typically poor and largely uneducated — will choose to remain in the United States permanently. Many will seek asylum and refugee status. With little productive, professional and entrepreneurial skills, they will overburden U.S. educational, socioeconomic and medical infrastructures, reducing the standard of living for taxpaying Americans whose taxes will increase to finance the socioeconomic, educational and health needs of migrants. Yes, you and I will finance the permanent socioeconomic supplicants of tomorrow.

Second, the legitimacy of an open-borders policy rests on the idea that America itself is an illegitimate, counterfeit country. The radical left is assailing taxpaying citizens with the idea that America has some unspecified debt to repay to “burdened civilizations” because its creation was built on political calumny and theft. The American people — who took undeveloped land populated by people who had yet to discover the morality of individualism, free enterprise, inalienability of rights and technological discoveries — are being asked to apologize for their greatness by opening America’s borders as a form of atonement. The notion is ethically untenable.

The push for open borders is part of a globalist agenda, which is a way for the radical left to normalize the idea that western sovereignty and territorial rights are imperialistic and non-inclusive. They have suffused our language with terms such as “global wealth,” “national wealth,” “unfair income disparity,” and “Basic Universal Income” to disarm American citizens from protecting what is rightfully theirs.

The notion of open borders is another stealth move to socialist America. The left uses social justice and moral egalitarianism to appeal to our conscience. The contempt for America, by robbing Americans of the uniquely distinct national character she has in spite of being an immigrant country, is obvious. We have a special identity because we are citizens of an assimilationist country. By opening up the borders to people who will not seek to achieve an American civic identity and instead view America as a place to simply seek financial relief, we run the risk of turning our country into a migrant camp and admitting people who would forever remain as strangers.

When unvetted trespassers have the same rights and access to resources as citizens do, when the claim is that America is “an illegitimate country” and, therefore, immigration to her shores is a democratic human right, it belittles the efforts of legal immigrants who followed the objective, security-driven rules for coming here and whose aspirational identities are tied to becoming Americans. It sells America short because it sends the message that you don’t have to earn the right to become an American and that America owes the world everything she has spent two centuries creating.

Open borders grant legitimacy to the idea that this nation is an entitlement state and the world’s victims have unspecified rights to be here. Open borders glamorize victimhood and aggrievement over an aspirational outlook. The American people will suffer from having an infusion of uneducated, unskilled laborers for whose well-being we will become responsible. These individuals will heap upon us unearned guilt as they point to our hard-earned earnings as evidence of the unfairness of their station in life.

Open borders are bad not just because they pose national security risks — yes, you run the risk of letting in criminals — but also because, in the long run, they rip from us the right to define who we are as a nation and as a people.

For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

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