Debate on Deportation of Illegal Immigrants

Debate on Deportation of Illegal Immigrants January 13, 2016

(vs. Andy Kirchoff)


Mexican border wall. Photo by Edmond Meinfelder, 27 April 2002 [Flickr / CC BY 2.0 license]

Andy Kirchoff is (according to his Facebook profile), a “GOP-leaning independent Catholic voter.” His words (complete words from the original Facebook thread) will be in blue.

* * *

I love his [Clark Durant’s] pro-life stance and his education platform, but his immigration position is far too “out there” for me to enthusiastically support his candidacy. He sounds like a NumbersUSA dream candidate.


You’re a big fan of illegal immigration?

I’m a fan of keeping gov’t from needlessly separating families and communities. Saying that “allowing for illegal immigrants to stay in this country must no longer be accepted” is a rhetorical indication that Mr. Durant is miles apart from me on this issue. It’s like how Obama’s “I don’t want my daughters punished with a baby” shows that he’s light years apart from me on the abortion issue.

It was a general statement: nothing in there about separating families. You simply read that into it. But certainly if families of illegals stay then they need to go through a process of legalization. We can’t just spit and trample on a perfectly sensible law (allowing immigration through legal channels).

My father was an immigrant from Canada! Perfectly legal. What was he supposed to do: swim the Detroit River, say “to hell with the laws!” and expect to be accepted after so many years here, simply because he is here?

. . . actually, the USA has a history of allowing just that.


The article advocates exactly what I do (paths to legalization through productive citizenship; not indefinite illegal status):

Kentucky was one of the first states to offer squatters a path to legalization. Under the Kentucky system, any squatter whose claim went unchallenged for seven years, and who paid taxes on the land during that period, was eligible for a clear title to the property regardless of who had owned it previously. . . . in 1862 with the passage of the Homestead Act, which gave settlers free federal land if they cultivated it for five years. . .. So should we follow our ancestors’ example and offer a path to legalization?

Yes; that is my position. But doing nothing and allowing millions of illegals to exploit our system is outrageous.

You wouldn’t allow someone to show up on your own property, build a shack, stay indefinitely and then say he has a “right” to be there.

Obama’s statement was general, too, but it revealed deep-seated indication about his ideology. The same applies for Mr. Durant’s statement, which indicates that he would prefer that the current law (which demands immediate deportation for illegal immigrants) be enforced. I have no problem “trampling” on such laws, anymore than I have problems trampling on the new HHS mandate if need be. Mr. Durant ostensibly believes otherwise.

You still haven’t told me why an illegal immigrant should be allowed to stay: as a general proposition. On what grounds? Make an argument; don’t just tell me what you like and don’t like; that’s like arguing which flavor of ice cream is best: nothing objective.

I think they can stay if they are pursuing legal status and being productive citizens (I agree with what Gingrich has said on this).

More important than obeying civil laws is obeying natural laws. Family unit is part of Catholic Social Teaching; obeying civil laws is not. I’m not saying the law isn’t important, but when it comes down to a battle between the two, natural law claims supremacy.
As a “general proposition”, illegal immigrants who haven’t committed serious crimes should be allowed to stay because they are, by and large, de-facto citizens. Most of them have lived in this country for years, if not decades, and are unable to become citizens because our laws haven’t accommodated them the avenues to do so. They are long-standing members of communities, many times having started businesses and employing US citizens.
As a matter of course, the problem with immigration isn’t that the law hasn’t been enforced. It’s the opposite. “The law” in this case is outdated, outmoded, and unable to keep up with the economic needs of the country. It disregards the harm deportation does to families and communities. Like Roe V. Wade, many of our immigration laws are relics from a eugenics-oriented past, and like Roe, they deserve to be overturned.

I see. So you would allow someone to show up on your own property, build a shack, stay indefinitely (let’s say he cuts your grass and pulls weeds and uses a nice proper outhouse) and then say he has a “right” to be there” from natural law, and you out of the goodness of your heart welcome him to do so.

Dave, comprehensive immigration reform, the DREAM Act, and numerous guest worker programs are all that same kind of legislation as the Kentucky program mentioned in the article I linked to. The myth of “immigrants exploiting the system” is right up there with Planned Parenthood’s myth of “right-wingers wanting women back in the kitchen.” It’s a myth based on phony statistics made by odious organizations.


Please answer my question about the guy showing up on your property. Humor me. Play philosopher for a moment.

If a man shows up on my property, I’m not obligated to let him in my house. But as the CATO article shows, that’s a very poor analogy to the illegal immigration example. Turning this into a “property rights” argument is to miss the point entirely.*

So he’s not allowed in your house but he is free to live on your lawn and use your water, your garage for a shelter, etc.? Maybe you have a fruit tree and a vegetable garden; now he can be fed, too, from your bounty. And his brother and his family will be moving in soon, too . . . not able to resist all the wonderful opportunities for sustenance that you provide.

If it’s my property, my rules apply. I’m free to do what I want irrespective of whether its my house or my yard, or my parking lot, or whatever. But that’s not the point. This isn’t a property rights argument.

So you would kick them out and say they didn’t have the right to be there, huh? What if one of them refused to go? What would you do? Separate families?

I would call the police if someone was invading my property, sure. But that’s not what this is about. This is about the state saying that someone’s property doesn’t matter. Countries and governments do not have the same rights as people (indeed, all they have are powers). Right now, an illegal immigrant who has been here for years and years can be seized from their homes simply for breaking a eugenics-based immigration law. It’s documented, it’s happened and is happening.*

A person crossing the border to live here is on US property. If he or she is receiving benefits that come from US taxpayers, then we have the perfect right to deny those benefits by enforcing sensible laws. The analogy is perfectly apt and relevant. You simply fail to grasp it. You’re inconsistent with your own principles.

You don’t apply “bleeding heart liberal” positions when it comes to your own property. You’re like the guy who is for gun control and then shoots an invader on his own property (I recall hearing several examples of famous liberals doing just that; don’t recall specific names though).

No. This isn’t a “bleeding heart liberal” position. I’ve already cited (and you’ve acknowledged) how the US gov’t has treated its “property.” Government does not have universal power of people in its country. That’s exactly why the US Constitution was founded on principles of a limited gov’t. link ]


Explain to me how you can kick these guys off of your property but the US (i.e., states like Arizona and Texas) can’t do the same with folks who want to stay illegally in the US. I don’t get it. Perhaps you can help me understand these profundities.

I already did explain them. *The government does not have power over people, citizen or non-citizen, when it comes to uprooting people from their property and homes.


Really? How does it ever build a freeway through a city, then? My wife’s childhood home got taken out by one in Detroit.

*Only criminal offenses (with written warrants) can bring that kind [of] governmental power to fruition. Immigration laws are merely civil offenses, not criminal ones (which is why SCOTUS is going to shoot down SB1070, among other copycat laws like it). In short, Government, whether state or federal, does not have the rights prescribed to persons. Thank God our founding Fathers saw that.

I’m not talking about someone with property rights. The guy on your lawn has no such rights, which is precisely why you call the police to boot them out (something I would not even do myself, since I always seek to take action without involving legal entities, insofar as humanly possible; nor have I ever owned a handgun, by the way, and have no plans to).

You immediately comprehend that he has no such rights, since it is your property. But you turn around and say that the US government or government of Arizona, etc. have no such corresponding right to kick out a guy living in a barn on someone else‘s property. It makes no sense whatever, but because of the inherent incoherence of your position, you are forced to adopt nonsense.

And really, if we’re going to talk about the Catholic position on immigration, then the “hardline” rhetoric/property rights argument is about as historically anti-Catholic as it gets. I know that sounds harsh, but the historical record is very clear about this. The groups that want to “enforce the laws” have a well-documented history of anti-Catholic animus, and the folks bankrollling them are of Planned Parenthood ilk. The guy who brought about the resurgence of the “property rights” angle to immigration was none other than ex-Catholic Tom Tancredo, whose rhetoric regarding immigration is easily comparable to the “no-nothing” rhetoric of over 100 years ago.*

There is a reason why every single US Bishop supported the DREAM Act as a standalone bill (including Cardinal Burke while he was still here). I know that this is a sensitive issue, and I’m not saying that every immigration reform proposal is a good one, but idea that “Cato likes it, therefore it is unCatholic” is simply not going to work given the problems with the other groups who are supporting the “property rights” approach.*

I want to understand why you feel you can kick the guy off your land, but our government cannot do so, in your mind. You’re not helping me to grasp how your position is possibly consistent. It’s very easy to be solely abstract, isn’t it? Then when an example or incident “brings it home,” all of a sudden it’s a far different story.

I’ve already written about the Catholic [Church’s] views on immigration (I agree with what I see there). I’m talking about basic premises (according to my usual socratic philosophical method). Andy’s position is radically inconsistent and illogical.

Read my statements again, Dave. The issue is that government doesn’t have “people rights.” An illegal immigrant is not living on somebody else’s property if they bought the land/apartment/house, etc. either, so your analogy doesn’t hold water even if gov’t did have “people rights.” And some form of property ownership –is– the case with most illegal immigrants here in the country today.*

Regarding eminent domain, that is, as many conservative commentators noted, one of the great tragedies of the past 5 years. SCOTUS saying eminent domain doesn’t matter, and that the gov’t can force someone out of their home for a “common good” reason (as I presume your highway example is meant to show), is a tragedy. But that’s exactly why laws like sb1070 (which are, again, going to be rightly found unconstitutional ) need to be fought.*

I agree with paths to citizenship; I stated that above, several times. So you oppose interstate freeways, too? What if someone doesn’t own property and is squatting? Should they be deported? The guy on your land doesn’t own your property. You do. You want to get rid of him. So can states do the same towards those who are squatters?

Dave, you are misunderstanding the premise. At issue is the role of government (subsidiarity). We have a limited gov’t in the United States that expressedly does not have the rights given to its citizens (hence the CATO article I posted). That is why a “property rights” approach to this issue does not work. Dave, you are jumping to conclusion far too quickly. Supporting eminent domain doesn’t mean I oppose interstate freeways anymore than opposing abortion means I oppose women in the workplace. At issue here is the power of government over people, citizen or non-citizen. Immigration is a civil issue, not a criminal one, and that alone makes state laws on the issue a constitutional conundrum; but that issue aside, government doesn’t have the “property rights” that people have (and that the government protects, but by no means “grants”).*

Here are my questions again that you ignored:

“What if someone doesn’t own property and is squatting? Should they be deported? The guy on your land doesn’t own your property. You do. You want to get rid of him. So can states do the same towards those who are squatters?”

I couldn’t trespass (legally) at an abortion clinic, to save babies. I went to jail for that. If I were like you I could have said, “hey, I don’t have to go to jail! I can be inconsistent like Andy!!!”

Regarding “squatting,” It is my understanding that state’s can’t do that, as a matter of law. In terms of the principle, however, and as the CATO article shows, unless an actual person (not a gov’t) already has rights to the land, the issue becomes far less about “property rights” and more about the power of the government.*

You like freeways, so what do you propose to do differently when a house is in the way? Presently, the owners are given recompense.

People & govt; freeways, so property rights should hold strong here. But again, the gov’t isn’t a person with property rights.*

I see; so someone can set foot in the state of Arizona illegally and find some sandy desert hideout and that’s fine and Arizona can do absolutely nothing about it, under pain of being called big meanies and Know-Nothing anti-Catholics by you. But some guy can plop on your lawn and you call the police to remove him. Gotcha. Just so your position is known, for the record . . . Now you’re opposed to freeways again. That makes for awfully tedious rush hours . . .

Oh wait; okay, Arizona can’t do anything if an illegal is on, say, the property of Grand Canyon National Park (which you and I, with all US citizens, own). He can live there indefinitely in a cave.

But if an illegal immigrant is on a desert plot owned by a private individual, that person (like you) can kick him out and send him to another person’s property to be their headache, or (even better) to the Grand Canyon where he’ll be safe, since states (so sez you) have no property rights.


False dichotomies are tools of the left, and I won’t fall prey to them. If you can’t see how I can be for eminent domain (which is to be PRO-property rights!) and still support freeways, I know I’m not going to be able to convince you. Likewise, if you can’t see why giving gov’t the same rights as a human person is problematic, I’m clearly not going to convince you, either. I can’t be responsible for what are clearly deliberate and repeated mischaracterizations of my positions. I think I’m done here. Enjoy your day.


The Immigration Control Act of 1924 (which inspired the system we have today), was written and promoted by eugenicists and supported by none other than Margaret Sanger herself. [ link ]And of course, that same history of making people into problems (and making the government into a person) continues to this day, as I wrote about… [ link ]


…and that prejudice continues to this day with sb1070, Alabama’s religious freedom violating immigration law (which was condemned by the Catholic League as “morally reprehensible”). Tom Tancredo, Mark Krikorian, Russell Pierce…all of these folks responsible for these laws have histories of associating (if not outright endorsing) white supremacists and neo-nazis. It’s not unique to Sanger’s time, it continues to this very day, and self-described pro-life Catholics, sadly, are falling for it!


I have simply maintained that you are illogical and inconsistent, while you have implied that my position is the primary domain of racists, bigots, eugenicists, Know-Nothing anti-Catholics, etc.: none of which I have ever had the slightest agreement with. Ah, now we have “martyrdom complex”. Any more insults to add before you depart?

You may not agree with the positions of eugenicists in theory, but the record is clear that the position you maintain regarding immigration is the position of said groups. I’m still waiting for you to refute that – not that I expect that you will, as you would rather focus on red herrings regarding freeways than the issue at hand. But by all means, continue. The more you type here, the more others can see what happened here. After all, you are the one tossing around terms like “pompous ass.” (And I’m the one being insulting, here? Hmm…).


My position is that of the Catholic Church, far as I can determine (per my posting and espousal of Catholic positions in a post months ago, that I linked to above), so if you wish to tar Holy Mother Church with the same hideous brush that you paint me with, feel free.

One can come to the same conclusion as an odious group without adopting the same argumentation and reasoning of said group, sure. However, the very strain of argumentation offered here (this whole property rights angle) comes straight from the FAIR playbook – it was literally invented to bring Republicans and conservatives to embrace their xenophobic agenda, just as “freedom to choose” was Bernard Nathanson’s mantra in getting feminists to support abortion.*

The organic development of Dave’s argumentation (not just his position) could be directly lifted from FAIR or NumbersUSA. It’s not a matter of arbitrarily coming to the same position; the very root of the ideology is evident from the argumentation. Dave has unwittingly fallen for one of Satan’s cunning traps here, and I will stand firm in offering a course correction, just as I hope he would do the same for me.*

I didn’t claim you gave no “answer” . You provided plenty of “answers”: but they were sophistical and obscurantist ones.  

Now I find out that you were a philosophy major, yet comprehend neither a reductio ad absurdum when it is being used [against you], nor socratic method? Wow . . .

* * *

What I have persistently complained about is your failure to properly explain or defend your view. For example:

You still haven’t told me why an illegal immigrant should be allowed to stay . . .

Explain to me how you can kick these guys off of your property but the US (i.e., states like Arizona and Texas) can’t do the same with folks who want to stay illegally in the US.
I want to understand why you feel you can kick the guy off your land, but our government cannot do so, in your mind.

The person whose premises you are trying to understand, refuses to either properly explain or defend them.

. . . I’m quite content that the blogger had his conscience pricked enough to write about it. It is my prayer and hope that, just as my hardened heart was changed on this issue after years of obstinate clinging to the other side, his heart will also be changed.


This explains quite a bit. It’s classic “us vs. them” paranoid, hyper-partisan-type rhetoric. To disagree with Andy’s position is to be a “bad guy”: to have an obstinate, hardened heart. This is no speculation; he has now come right out and said it (I already knew the attitude was there). One cannot possibly have a different position and be a good moral person and good Catholic, holding it with a full Catholic (or otherwise Christian) conscience, in good faith. Andy uses the very terminology of regenerate and unregenerate, in effect, the side of light vs. the dark “side” (“hardened hearts” in the Bible refers to being unregenerate and altogether wicked, and certainly Andy must know this; it’s classic biblical language and categories). Notice this very closely.

Now, the most fascinating thing is that Andy admits that he held the opposite view for “years”. In light of how he has described views in illegal immigration other than his own: bigots, know-nothings, in bed with anti-Catholic prejudicial views about foreigners, etc., we can safely assume that he must have been a bigot in former years (deduced on how he describes other views and his admission to having held them himself). This is very revealing indeed. It means that he thinks he has now “seen the light” and that anyone who differs with him is still in darkness, with a hardened heart.

It’s the stereotypical demonizing of political opponents: a thing now rampant in national politics, to the detriment of intelligent, constructive, problem-solving governance. It’s going on as I write, this very day: with Republican candidate Rick Santorum being ripped up and down by the media and operatives of the left and the Democratic Party (if there is any difference, anymore) simply for expressing his Catholic religious beliefs.

Having been rescued from bigotry himself (at the ripe old age of 22: a new man, as it were), now Andy is on a mission to get all of us bigots “saved,” as he is. Quite obviously, he is projecting all of his past bigotry onto folks like me, and others who oppose illegal immigration in some sense. The problem is that it doesn’t fit. He may be condemning his past self, but he is not condemning me in any way, shape, matter, or form, since I have never been tainted by racism or prejudice in my views at any time of my life.

I’ve been intensely, passionately interested in race relations issues for literally 45 years: since the riots in Detroit in 1967.  I’ve visited many of the famous civil rights sites (Martin Luther King’s house, church, where he was killed, site of his last speech, Selma, the location of Rosa Parks and the bus, etc.). We religiously teach our children to detest racism and all prejudice and teach them the history of slavery, the Undergound Railroad, the civil rights movement, etc.

I’ve written passionately of the evils of how Native Americans have been treated, and of slavery and subsequent denial of the rights of African-Americans. I detest all such discrimination with every fiber of my being, and that includes Mexican-Americans or any other ethnic group being treated poorly and deprived of due rights. It’s why I’m pro-life and have been arrested five times, gone through three trials, and spent time in jail: because my compassion extends to the smallest and most helpless of all among us.

All of that is a matter of record, and I have believed and held and communicated and defended these views for twice as long as Andy has been alive. I met Rosa Parks at a trial about alleged prejudice in Detroit in 1986, before Andy was even born. I was in jail for the “crime” of saving babies from being butchered, before he was a twinkle in his father’s eye (back in 1988). Yet here he is arrogantly lecturing me about how my heart needs to be changed, solely based on his past history of bigotry, as if that has anything to do with me, or automatically to do with anyone who disagrees with him.

I absolutely detest such an attitude and condemn it in the strongest terms. Andy’s past sins are his own. If he is outraged by his past views and behavior, great. We all live and learn. I wasn’t burdened by prejudice, ever, but I had and have many other faults and sins, as we all do. I’m delighted that he has reformed himself by God’s grace and has seen the light. Projecting his sins and past hypocrisies and outrages onto myself and others, however, with absurd simple-mindedness, is the height of folly, hypocrisy, and presumption. I’m not trying to just pile on Andy, but rather, I am using this current pathetic example as an illustration of exactly how not to approach an opponent in dialogue.

My hope for him is not that his “heart” ceases being hardened, etc.: as if he were a “bad” person. My concern is that he learns to argue his positions rationally, minus the ridiculous demonization tactics, projection, and hypocritical judgmentalism based on his contempt for his own past behavior. He needs to learn to discuss things objectively, minus the pretense of alleged high moral ground that he supposedly possesses to an exceptional degree, while all who disagree with him are supposedly demons and morons.

And that goes for anyone who attempts dialogue, on political issues or anything else. We all need to guard against this pompous attitude. Heaven help me if I fall into it. I want to be sternly rebuked if and when I do so. May God guide all of us as we discuss issues and share our faith.


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