I recently shared this meme on Facebook:

longer table

And of course, somebody made the following comment (paraphrasing): “I’ll gladly build a longer table for the elderly, veterans, the disabled, etc.—but not for illegals. Illegals are intentionally excluded.”

I resisted the temptation to address her comment, mostly because I’ve learned not only the futility in doing so, but also the risk I’d be taking of prompting vitriolic, knee-jerk reactionary backlash from the peanut gallery that is Facebook. It’s simply not worth my time or energy, and thus I avoid entering into such debates there.

But I felt compelled to write up a quick blog article about it…

Here’s the thing: my position is that human rights supersede laws; if a law is created and implemented which violates a human right, or restricts someone’s liberty to exercise a right, then it’s the law itself which is criminal, not those who exercise their rights in violation of the law.

And just to clarify: they’re human rights, not American rights; The Constitution attempted to enumerate and protect human rights, it did not establish rights, then apply them only to US citizens, which seems to be a common misconception.

Some of those human rights include: the right to freely travel (migrate); the right to freely associate (reside with, be friends with, have relationships with others); and the right to freely enter into contract (do business with, arrange employment with others)—which means that laws restricting immigration or making it illegal are actually in violation of human rights.

I know, I know—we can’t have open immigration with a welfare state and/or socialist society or programs, but those all violate human rights as well, so now we’ve got this big mess on our hands, which is likely impossible to get out of at this point, short of revolution or total economic collapse…but I’m specifically addressing the common misconception of immigrants as criminals; what’s criminal is what the government—even at the behest of the people—has done to destroy what was once a (mostly) free society and highly prosperous economy. It ain’t the immigrants who are to blame, it ain’t immigration that is criminal…

But the reality is this: saying “illegal immigration,” (meaning the law supersedes human rights), is just as egregious as saying “illegal religion,” or “illegal speech,” or “illegal happiness.”

And that’s because if you’re going to accept the notion that the law supersedes human rights, instead of the other way around, then along with laws restricting immigration or making it illegal, you also have to ask yourself: which religion should be restricted or illegal? Which types of speech? Which lifestyles? Because these, too, are all human rights, and if the law supersedes the right to freely travel, to freely associate, and to freely enter into contract, then the law also supersedes the right to freely practice religion, to freely speak or write, or to freely pursue one’s own happiness.

If human rights supersede laws, then all human rights supersede all laws; but if laws supersede human rights, than all laws supersede all human rights. It’s one or the other, there is no in-between, you can’t have it both ways.

So choose carefully.

“When you see that a human right is being debated, or put to a vote, or subjected to popular opinion—know that conceptually, that right has already been lost.”

~ Rand Eastwood

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