Friday, May 13, 2011

Defend Life By Treating People As Instruments...

In Crisis Magazine, Prof. John Zmirak posted an article entitled "Amnesty Equals Abortion."

The argument is as follows:

  • Hispanics tend to vote Democratic.
  • Democrats tend to be pro-choice.
  • Amnesty would result in a large influx of Hispanic voters.

Therefore, anyone in favor of "amnesty" for illegal immigrants is pro-abortion.

Lest you think I am exaggerating the strength of the claim Prof. Zmirak is making, he makes it explicit:

I do not wish to imply that those who know how amnestied illegals are almost certain to vote and whostill favor amnesty are not, in cold fact, pro-life. I would never leave such a statement to mere implication. I wish to say it outright: Those who favor amnesty for illegal immigrants are not, in cold fact, pro-life. That goes for politicians and voters, bishops and priests, men, women, and children, red and yellow, black and white.

Henry Karlson has excerpted some of my response at the Vox Nova Blog, so I figured I may as well flesh it out more over here.

I do not have a definite position on immigration reform or "amnesty."  I recognize that the influx of immigrants has caused a hardship for some.  I think the reaction to the Arizona law earlier this year was overblown.  I also think that "illegal" is an overly reductionist term for people who are coming from situations from great hardship and have made great sacrifices to build a better life for themselves.   I lean toward the "amnesty" side of the debate, but I can imagine myself being convinced otherwise.

With those cards on the table, I will now write that I find the argument Prof. Zmirak makes here to be contrary to a Culture of Life.

What Prof. Zmirak is inviting us to do is consider the potential beneficiary of "amnesty" not as human person whom we must carefully consider how to treat, but as a voting tendency that may or may not help our cause.  All that matters is whether they will help us or hurt us.  If giving them some benefit suits my other needs, then we'll do it.  If not, then don't.  We don't need to consider what is just.

So, because these immigrants are Hispanic, and Hispanics tend to vote Democratic, and the Democratic Party supports abortion, then the immigrants don't get citizenship with voting rights.  Sorry, thanks for playing.  Try to be part of a more Republican-leaning demographic next time.

Of course, this is the logic of abortion.  The important thing is whether the baby fits into my plan for my life.  Whether it is a human person with its own dignity or rights is a question we'd rather not consider.  If the baby fits into my plan, it can live; if not, it can die.  The baby's worth is dependent on how it serves my needs.

The Culture of Life is not going to be built by selectively including people from groups who agree with us.  It is going to be built by treating everyone we encounter as human person with dignity and respect.

And  I would be making this same argument if Hispanic voting patterns were reversed, and someone was making the argument that support for "amnesty" is pro-life because it would result in the election of more pro-life candidates, or more vocations, or more money in Church coffers, etc.


I also dispute the empirical claim.  I suspect that a massive immigration amnesty would provide a short-term bounce to Democratic voters.  However, Hispanics also tend to be socially conservative and pro-life, so it is also possible that an influx of Hispanics could result in a more pro-life Democratic Party.

More generally, I trust the movement of the Holy Spirit more than I trust that current voting statistics and positions will remain constant.

In other words, I trust that if we do what’s right in other dimensions, then God will work with us in bringing the culture around on abortion.

UPDATE:  Arguments for liberalized immigration along the lines that we should import Christians to stave of the threat of Islam are no less odious.