I’m interested in people’s opinions on the new Arizona anti-immigration law. I have a hard time coming to a consensus in my own mind about the immigration issue and laws like the one Arizona passed.
My civil libertarian mind hates the police state and harassment of anyone—citizen or otherwise.
My rule-of-law mind hates that we mostly look the other way when our immigration laws are flouted—not just by the immigrants crossing the border, but by businesses who hire them and by local governments who provide them sanctuary from the law.
My utilitarian economist mind realizes how essential low-wage immigrant labor is to our economy. A sudden extraction of illegal immigrants (not that that is possible) would be disastrous, economically speaking.
My selfish elitist mind realizes that I am part of the socioeconomic class that benefits most from this immigrant labor, since I don’t face much wage competition from them (though American academics do face a lot of pressure from educated immigrants in both obtaining jobs and getting into graduate schools).
My partisan political mind understands the importance of the Latino vote in the future. Even a small-brained Republican like George W. realized this and tried to avoid alienating Hispanics. Of course even smaller-brained Republican Congressmen have succeeded in sticking a racist knife into the party’s future. Democrats (who, ironically, rely much more on electoral support from the unskilled laborers who are the principal losers from illegal immigration) just get to sit back and laugh as the Republicans do themselves in.
My cosmopolitan egalitarian mind hates that ugly racism underlying the anti-immigration view and sees open immigration as lifting at least some people around the world out of poverty.
My Christian mind is cognizant that many of these illegal immigrants are surely among “the least of these” that Christ talked about when he said, “For I was an hungered and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger and ye took me in.” (Matt. 25:35) I generally don’t like to use religious arguments as policy justifications, since the things that determine private morality often cannot justify public policy, but I have to say these biblical verses definitely come to mind.
So what is a civil-liberatarian-rule-of-law-utilitarian-economist-selfish-elitest-Republican-cosmopolitan-egalitarian-Christian to do?