Immigration: A Human Right

By Staks Rosch

I can’t speak for all atheists, but it seems to me that immigration is a human right. The United States prides itself on being a free country run by the free market. If that is true, than people ought to be free to move here and live here, just as we are free to leave here and live elsewhere.

Let the free market decide. If America becomes overcrowded and the quality of life goes down as a result, people will start to leave and others will no longer want to immigrate here. Problem solved.

Where humanism comes in is that this realization forces us to want to help other nations for our own interests. There are two ways to look at this. The first is if we just don’t want people from other nations to come here, then helping other nations to be an equally desirable place to live as our own nation will discourage people from those nations from wanting to come here. They are perfectly happy where they are.

The second way to look at it is that if we help other nations to be an equally desirable place to live as our own nation, we have an alternative in case our own nation becomes a less desirable place to live. While many people are quick to support the idea of a border fence to keep immigrants out, we have to remember that fences can also be used to keep people in.

The ability to live where we want to live is a human right. It is the freedom to move; the freedom to be free. Governments were formed to protect the freedoms of people and to help us work together to create a better world to live in. Governments that restrict the movements of its people or who close its borders to others act against freedom.

As citizens of the United States we have certain rights, but those rights aren’t given to us because we are special, blessed by some deity, or because we are better than everyone else. It is those rights that are special and humanistic. That is why they should be extended to everyone regardless of whether or not they are a citizen. Immigrants, legal or illegal, should have the same rights as citizens. That includes the right to live free and to live in the country of their choosing. 

Staks Rosch writes for the as the National Atheist Examiner. He previously hosted Dangerous Talk, an atheist radio show on WCHE 1520 AM, and currently coordinates the Philadelphia Coalition of Reason. This article first appeared in the Examiner; reprinted with permission.