Thursday, April 27, 2006

Laminated Maps

Lately there has been much discussion about the status of the so called Illegal Aliens or (migrant workers) in the nation and in our state. Recently both His Eminence Francis Cardinal Mahoney and His Excellency Archbishop Michael J Sheehan have spoken on this topic. Many people in the United States have different opinions on this issue and they hold their positions for various reasons. My purpose in this article is to address a point that I feel has not been a part of the discussion on illegal immigration in the national, state and ecclesiastical levels. The issue that I feel has been carefully neglected is the morality of violating the boarders of a viable state.

In objective morality a state is treated as a juridical person. This means for all intents and purposes a state is a person and has all the rights that a person has. A state has a right to life, it has a right to defend itself, it has a right to defend its allies and it has a right to defend its property. This list is of course not complete but is an example of the natural rights that must be accorded a viable state. Due to the subjective character that a state enjoys in the moral world it is the responsibility of all men of good will to help secure and protect these rights and take great care to not abridge these rights as they stem from the Natural Moral Law. The Natural Moral Law is derived from the Laws that have been posited by God in the very nature of Creation and this in turn is established by Divine Positive Law which is an expression of the very Will of God. While this has many ramifications we must focus our attention on how this effects the morality of the subject at hand.

If I own a piece of property that I live on I will have a house and a lawn and a backyard. I have a right to this property because I hold ownership of this property. I can nearly do anything that I choose on this property. I have the right to raise a family on it and invite family over. I can throw a party and invite friends and acquaintances to this party granting them the right to come on to my property. I could even go so far as the invite a friend to stay the night or take up residence in my home. However, do any of these invited guests have a right to claim my spare bedroom for their own without my permission? Does the passer-by on the street have the right to pitch a tent on my lawn without my permission? Does my neighbor have the right to use my bathroom even if his is broken without my permission? The obvious answer to these questions and all like them is a resounding no? If this were so, then my home would cease to be mine and I would lose control of that which is my legitimate possession. In a sense it would be a theft of my possessions.

This scenario of the homeowner is no different then that of the state. The State has a right to regulate its boarders, it has the right determine who it wants to invite into its “home” - so to speak. If the state desires it can open its boarders and allow all people complete free access to the country. However, the United States has determined, as a legitimate State, to regulate its boarders for the safety of the citizens and for the betterment of the country as a whole. This right cannot be violated. It is irresponsible to make a claim that the boarder policies of the United States are illicit and contrary to the dignity of the human person as so public figures have attempted to assert. It is irresponsible for public figures to support the actions of illegal immigrants because it is the support of an action that is objectively immoral. While it is true that for many illegal immigrants that situation in their native home is not as good as the life they could have in the United States, however, we must never forget the most basic of moral axioms – One cannot do an evil to bring about a good. To assent to the converse of this axiom is to assent to moral relativism that is not consistent with our Catholic faith.

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