The Morality of Mass Deportation
Recently, a number of conservative writers and commentators, including Charles Krauthammer, have condemned the "mass" deportation of illegal immigrants as immoral. Of course, the deportation of illegal immigrants also involves legal and economic issues, but the arguments regarding these issues have been ably made elsewhere by advocates on both sides. The issue here is morality.
When declaring that such deportations are immoral, the advocates of this position have more often than not simply made the declaration, and then failed to explain how exactly such deportations are immoral. The word "mass" is being deliberately used to incite an emotional response: mass murder is horrific, mass rape is horrific, so advocates are cleverly using the word "mass" in place of any coherent argument to back up their claim. Basically, the word "mass" is being used to try to silence those who oppose the lenient policies regarding illegal immigration, such as amnesty, that are favored by Democrats and the Republican establishment.
However, mass murder is horrific because it involves one injustice, a murder, and then it multiplies that one injustice many times. In other words, mass murder is horrific because even one murder is an injustice, and therefore mass murder is a mass injustice. And the same principle applies to mass rape. But this principle does not apply to mass deportations because, unlike murder and rape, deportation is not unjust. The deportation of an immigrant illegally present in a nation is just, under any reasoned definition of just.
Even liberal constitutional law scholars have acknowledged that a nation has the legitimate power to exclude noncitizens from the nation. The distinction made between citizens and noncitizens is a fundamental aspect of every nation. Furthermore, in a contemporary nation where the government confiscates the citizens' money with taxes, and then uses the citizens' money to pay for government services and benefits, the distinction made between citizens and illegal immigrants is even more crucial.
Yet following the logic of Krauthammer and other conservatives, the enforcement of a just law somehow becomes immoral once the law has been violated by a certain number of people. What principle supports this thinking?
If a hundred people violate a just law, then the enforcement of the law against a hundred people is moral. Likewise, if a million people violate a just law, then the enforcement of the law against a million people is moral. And if eleven million people violate a just law, then the enforcement of the law against eleven million people is moral. Thus, if eleven million people (the most frequently cited number) are violating the United States' immigration laws, then the enforcement of the immigration laws, and the deportation of eleven million people, is moral.