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Moral Issues Involving Liberty, Justice, and Society:  The Ethics of Immigration Policy


Please read Chapter 20 in the text and the supplemental readings (see Syllabus) and respond to the following questions:

1. What should the Immigration Policy of the United States be from an ethical perspective?  What moral responsibility, if any, do we have to people who want to immigrate to the U.S.?

2. Should we have open borders for immigrants (except terrorists or dangerous criminals)?  What about immigrants who are seeking asylum from persecution for religious, ethnic, racial discrimination, etc., in their own countries?  What about immigrants who are merely seeking better economic opportunities in the U.S.?  Should the economic impact on U.S. citizens be considered–for example, possibly lost jobs, lower wages, social costs of education, healthcare, welfare benefits for immigrants?

3. Is it important to remember that the U.S. is a country of immigrants–a “melting pot”–that was largely built by immigrants in the past?  As it says on the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

4. What should our policy be towards immigrants who have resided illegally in the U.S. for many years?  Deportation?  Or should there be some form of amnesty and a path to citizenship?  What if they were brought into the U.S. as children and have lived here their entire lives?

Provide your arguments in support of your positions.