Flashback: “Isn`t Immigration A Civil Right?”


From Alien Nation, p. 242:

…you could never on your own think up all the weird questions people ask.

QUESTION: Isn`t immigration a civil right?

[ANSWER: No! Are you serious?]

Isn`t immigration a what? Well, I should have anticipated it, I suppose. Current U.S. policy, as we have seen, does indeed treat legal immigration as a sort of bastard civil right, extended to relatives of the arbitrarily selected group of foreigners who happen to have shouldered through the door first since the 1965 Immigration Act. But that was not what the students meant. They meant that all foreigners just have a right, a civil right, to emigrate to the United States. (In fact, I suspect that, like many Americans, the students didn`t realize foreigners have an independent existence at all. They just viewed them as an exotic type of American minority. Like Hollywood`s Maurice Chevalier or Charles Laughton.)

And on this level, needless to say, the proposition is hopelessly incoherent, logically and morally. How can foreigners have civil rights when they are not members of the civitas? And why these foreigners-at the expense of the infinite number of other foreigners?