Is Immigration Really a “Human Right”?


There are lots of erroneous assumptions that underpin the so-called Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill that just passed the Senate.

Let’s take a look at the question of “human rights”.  There’s been a lot of hot air generated using the phrase, so it might help those who support and those who oppose the Senate’s immigration bill to understand what impact these “human rights” really have.

Anything that is described accurately as a “right” exists without any governmental intervention.  Governments can impede, imperil, limit, deny, thwart, or jeopardize a “right”, but no government can create a right.

Government can (and frequently does) create the ability for one person to receive a benefit at the expense of another, but such benefits can be denied for a time, or even eliminated altogether, so they are not actually rights.

If someone from another nation, any other nation, is allowed to enter the United States for any reason, whether for medical treatment, education, visiting relatives, as a tourist or with a desire to become an American citizen, it is because a benefit has been conferred upon that individual, but they do not have a right to impose on the people of the country because they have a “human right” to do so.

The United Nations has a stirring document (the U.N. is really, really good at stirring documents) called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).  But like most stirring documents, even those not from the United Nations, it is tremendously ambiguous and can be interpreted to prove almost anything.

Do people from other nations have (according the UDHR) have the “right” to demand entry into America as residents?  Two articles of the UDHR might be interpreted that way, and are apparently being interpreted that way by the Senate’s “Gang of Eight”.

Article 14, Section 1 reads:

Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

Very admirable, but like Jefferson’s immortal words in the Declaration of Independence, when he said “… the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness…” there is just one little catch.  Jefferson never said that you had a right to actually achieve happiness, just a right to pursue it.  Likewise, the UDHR claims to guarantee that you have a right to seek asylum, but it does not require any nation to offer such asylum.

The second section of Article 14 limits this “right” by stating:

This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from nonpolitical crimes…  (Emphasis supplied)

So if a nation-state considers itself a theocracy, then seeking asylum elsewhere could be problematic.

Let’s just suppose, just to pick an example such as Iran or Saudi Arabia, the right of a person or group to seek asylum in another nation because they felt that they were the subjected to religious persecution, was denied.  It would be very difficult to prove that a difference of religious opinion was a “political” crime, especially by the nation-state denying exit visas, for instance. And, according to Article 14, Section 2, this right exists only for political crimes.  So it seems that you have this so-called right only when political persecution is in play.

Does everyone remember Joseph Heller’s great book, Catch-22?  If this U.N. doubletalk doesn’t qualify as a world class Catch-22 moment, I don’t know what would.

Another section of the UDHR muddies the whole human rights/immigration policy waters even more.

Article 15, Section 2 of the UDHR declares:

No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.  (Emphasis supplied)

It appears that the “Gang of Eight” has interpreted this to mean that if America determines that it chooses to limit immigration from anywhere at all, it is denying the “right” of wannabe immigrants the right to change their nationality.  After all, the U.N., in their wisdom, fails to define who would be the criminal party in denying such a right, doesn’t it? That gives the Gang of Eight the ability to wrap themselves in the self-righteousness when they allow millions upon millions of uninvited and illegal aliens to garner benefits to which they have no ethical claim under the guise of “protecting human rights” or adhering to the (stirring but essentially meaningless) words of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The act of interpreting the meaning of an obscure and rather poorly written manifesto of rights from the United Nations seems to be within the intellectual abilities of the Gang of Eight.  It seems odd to me that they are able to do this when they seem to have a bit of trouble interpreting our own Constitution.  Silly me.  I always thought that the Senate wasn’t a Gang of Eight, but a Gang of One Hundred.  I thought all proposed laws could be debated by anyone with the job title of Senator.  Shows how dense I am, I suppose.  I guess I’ll just have to rely on the interpretations of Chuck Schumer, Marco Rubio, Dick Durbin and their co-conspirators, oops, I mean colleagues of course.

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About Jim Yardley

Retired after 30 years as a financial controller for a variety of manufacturing firms, a two-tour Vietnam veteran, and independent voter.
Gallery | This entry was posted in Foreign Affairs, Immigration, Political Doubletalk and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Is Immigration Really a “Human Right”?

  1. roberta4949 says:

    human rights are positive rights, they have a right to something and you are obligated to provide it, this is involuntary servitude and theft, it basically circumvents morality, and makes wrong right and right wrong, it is wrong to demand something from someone who has done nothing to another to have to give to someone else because they have less or demand something from us without right or contract or consent of the giving party. and it is right to say no, which has now become a wrong, it is wrong to expect others to support you when you refuse to work or do right by your own responsiblity, it is right to expect to keep the fruits of ones labor care for one’s family first and to expect others to obey the same laws you have to obey, which has now become a wrong, and it has become right to steal murder, trespass and do other bad things to others, because you have human rights they are obligated to provide willingly or unwillingly what you demand, this world is truly messed up and up side down, i think if you want to enter a householders home you ask for it, and meet the conditons the houseowner puts on you for hte benefit of coming and living in his house.a country is a house, the householders are those who have paid and obeyed the law and learned the language and have shown respect for their fellow man not demanding what they have no right to demand, if I want to become a house holder in another country I have to ask permission.

  2. seth says:

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