* Unfair Fairness

Bullies love to make others suffer as they have suffered, and even immigrants can be bullies.  I sometimes hear naturalized US immigrants complain that “Illegal immigrants are jumping the line.  They should have to wait their turn like I did.”  My Vietnamese roommate told me this recently (ironically, while she was helping her brother’s fiance obtain a green-card marriage).

But as bullies are fond of saying, life isn’t fair.  Or, to put it more reasonably, we should pass laws that are equally just, not equally unjust.  The solution to slavery was not to make white people slaves; it was to free black people from slavery.  The illegality of homosexual intercourse would not have been vindicated by making heterosexual intercourse also illegal.  Like the rule of law argument, “fairness” needs some other substantive justification before it has any weight of its own.

* The Bad Analogy

You get to decide who comes into your house, or it wouldn’t be your property.   America is the property of all the Americans who live there, so they should be able to make rules about the use of all of America.  Right?

Wrong.  These two ideas are contradictory.  If your house is your property, then America cannot decide what you do with it.  That is what it means to have property.  If America was simply the property of all Americans, they could do whatever they wanted with your house.  They could burn it, for example, or force you to let immigrants live there.  But all America is not the property of all Americans together.  It is the property of individual Americans in individual parts.

No one has to do business with immigrants if they don’t want to.  If literally no one in America wanted to do business with immigrants, then no one would offer immigrants jobs or houses.  Immigration would be practically impossible, whatever government policy was.  Some people, however, don’t mind doing business with immigrants.  They should have the right to use their own property to do so.