Quote of the Day:

The real debate about immigration isn’t about the terms of Trump’s travel order. It’s an effort to treat entry to the U.S. as a right.

–Jonathan Tobin at NRO

I live in a neighborhood festooned with signs portraying immigrants in garb that portends a lack of assimilation with the one-word caption "together." Okay, sure, if they are legal, I always say to myself.

How retrograde of me. Entry into the U.S. is now regarded as an entitlement in many quarters.

Jonathan Tobin this morning cuts to the chase and explains that what underlies much of the current rhetoric over immigration is the idea that entry into the U.S. is an entitlement.  Tobin writes:

The notion that entry to the United States is not a privilege granted by the government but an entitlement is the underlying premise of two New York Times articles published the day after the Supreme Court ruling. One focused on the plight of those refugees who will be kept out of the country pending the review of the ban.

The other story, a New York Times Magazine feature, depicted the condition of illegal immigrants who are deprived of proper medical care because of their worries about being caught. While these are legitimate inquiries, the assumption of both pieces is that any effort to further vet refugees or to enforce existing immigration laws is inherently illegitimate.

One of the Times stories details how people here illegally refuse to get proper healthcare because they fear that going to hospitals would expose them to being caught and deported. Their children, the Times notes, tend to have lower birth weights. But, as Tobin points out, the reason they are afraid of medical authorities is because they are breaking U.S. law:

[W]ile it’s not surprising to learn that living in the shadows can be bad for your health, the same can probably be said about any fugitives from the law.

The point here isn’t that we shouldn’t feel sympathy for people on the run. The same applies to those seeking a way into the United States via the refugee route. The question is what conclusions we should draw from their worries.

One needn’t be an immigration or asylum opponent to observe that the problems explored in these stories are rooted in an unwillingness to consider that entry to the United States is not a right. But that’s exactly what those blasting Trump seem to be advocating.

If we assure illegals that they won’t be held accountable for their status if they come into contact with the authorities — such as when seeking health care — then the laws they’ve broken are meaningless and may be flouted with impunity.

. . .

Strip away the “resistance” rhetoric about Trump’s alleged bigotry and all you have left is a weak argument that treats immigration as an entitlement. When cities as well as churches and synagogues proclaim themselves to be “sanctuaries” where the law may not be enforced, they are broadcasting that no one may be denied entry. But no one, not an illegal in search of work or a refugee in search of asylum, has an inherent right to enter the United States.

Sympathy for the travails of people here illegally or compassion for those who suffer hardship and would like to enter the U.S. is understandable. But if it is used to overthrow law, it is destructive.

How, in practical terms, would that even work? How would the U.S. accommodate the flood of people if everybody in the world had the right to come here? How could our system of laws survive an influx of people who come in defiance of our laws? How could our civic institutions survive the arrival of the whole world on our doorstep, including people who have no intention of assimilating?

As noted in a blog item yesterday, the attitude that elevants people who come here illegally above citizens is often based on contempt for those citizens.