Letters and Replies, Winter 2014–15 - The Objective Standard

To the Editor:

Regarding Ari Armstrong’s article “Rational Morality Requires Amnesty for Rights-Respecting Illegal Immigrants” (TOS Blog, July 2, 2014), I agree with Mr. Armstrong that illegal immigrants have the same moral rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as everyone else.

But I disagree with his claim that they do not have a right to welfare. Illegal immigrants contribute to our system just as U.S. citizens and legal residents do, and they should have the same rights, including a right to welfare. Even legal residents who commit vicious crimes remain eligible for welfare. Why shouldn’t illegal immigrants who violate no one’s rights be eligible?

Laina Taelor
Deerfield Beach, Florida

Ari Armstrong Responds:

The implicit premise in Ms. Taelor’s letter is that rights are granted by government. But this premise is mistaken. Real rights, moral rights—such as the rights to life, liberty, and property—are not granted by government; they exist prior to government. . . .

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