The legal and moral issues concerning immigration have been debated for countless of times since their booming popularity during the 19th century. People who believe that it is morally wrong for a country to deny immigration status argue that immigration promotes democracy, egalitarianism and libertarianism. On the other hand, people who believe that countries have every right to deny people who seek immigration argue that immigration taints the cultural roots of a country, weakens national security and reduces the natural resources that would have been distributed to the original citizens of the country.
To properly understand the philosophy of immigration, it is imperative to define immigration. Article I, section 8, clause 4 of the constitution gives the United States Congress the sole power to determine and pass a uniform rule of naturalization. With this express power by the Unites States Constitution, Congress has passed several stringent laws that govern immigration and naturalization. One of this statute that is still in effect today is the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. The law made a clear distinction between a resident alien and a naturalized citizen. Both, however, are considered by the law as immigration.
As such, even naturalized citizens of a country are considered to be immigrants. Herein then lies the heart of immigration philosophy – Do countries have the moral justification to close its borders to people seeking immigration?
Immigration, although permitted is typically restricted and selective. This is to say that host countries seek immigrants who will contribute a net economic gain to the host country. Prospective immigrants must show the potential to contribute positively to the host society.
Also, restrictive and selective immigration has been promoted by proponents as a way to preserve the cultural roots of the host country. With this selection process, a country’s distinctive culture will not be tainted and influence by outside factors. After all, a distinctive culture is very easy to be seen as appealing.
Opponents of this argument however, say that people exaggerate the distinctiveness of one particular culture. Opponents also argue that this line of argument borders on bigotry in a sense that proponents of this argument fear change. After all, they ask, how different is American culture from other cultures of the world.
Another increasingly popular moral and practical justification against immigration is that it strengthens national security. Proponents argue that restricting or disallowing immigration will disallow foreign terrorists to enter American soil.
Opponents however opined that disallowing immigration would only affect legal immigrants. That is to say that the number of illegal immigrants would still remain stable. This point then is very relevant because terrorists cannot be dissuaded by being involved in extralegal affairs. (Kukhatas, 2005)
Proponents of restrictive immigration laws...