I know that all people have the rights to life, liberty, and property. That’s why, if an American vacations in France or a Liberian visits the United States, anyone who kills or robs them should be prosecuted and punished by the government of the territory in which the crime takes place. The role of government is to protect the rights of all peole. Our government recognizes the rights of all people regardless of their citizenship and we expect other governments to do the same.
Enforcing justice costs money, but foreign residents pay some taxes just by being here. Typically, Americans abroad will also be relying on the governments where they are staying to provide the same justice for them. So we can assume it evens out.
But if I go to France I can’t demand the right to vote for the politician I prefer to govern that nation. I can’t vote on their laws. If I stay there I am obviously “voting with my feet” to say that I can stand their laws and/or rulers. But I don’t get the franchise.
Likewise, foreigners who reside in the U.S., even legally, cannot simply start voting. If they could do so, then every foreign visitor would be a de facto armed invader. He would be equipped to use our own government to change our laws or rulers.
Thus, I can’t go to France and simply demand citizenship—which is essentially a demand to vote on laws and rulers. Obviously, while the French Government has an obligation to give me justice by defending my rights, they have no obligation to give me citizenship. If they granted a bunch of foreigners citizenship they would be essentially taking the government away from the previous French citizens or at least diluting their power.
So this Breitbart article really shocked me:
During Wednesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee nomination hearing, President Barack Obama’s nominee to be Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights refused to answer whether he believes that amnesty is a civil right, which is the belief of the person who may be his boss – Attorney General Eric Holder.
First of all, the nominee is right that even illegal aliens deserve the protection of law enforcement. If someone rapes an illegal alien, I don’t want the rapist to not be prosecuted just because his victim broke the law. But why should that have anything to do with a “civil right” to citizenship.
Holder is quoted as saying, that providing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants “is a matter of civil and human rights.” I don’t know why anyone listens to Holder about “rights.” All the evidence indicates he thinks that Mexican drug cartels have gun rights and American citizens don’t.
But “the right to vote” is never a human right. It is a contrivance that we currently use as part of running our various levels of government. It is a right that is conferred upon certain people in certain legally specified circumstances. I had the “right” to citizenship because of my birth to two citizens in the United States, but that was only a civil right—a right derived from the rules of citizenship and how it is conferred. It is not a human right.
In general, I think Americans would be better served if they worried about the government recognizing and protecting human rights rather than worrying about expanding the number of people who vote.