Do Immigrants Have a Human Right to Enter the US? How About Your Home?

By Dennis Teti Published on July 16, 2018

Mankind has been arguing about the migration of peoples from one society into another from the beginning of recorded time. There are lots of arguments pro and con:

  • Freedom to abandon vs. duty to be loyal.
  • Generosity to aliens vs. job stealing.
  • Autarchy vs. interdependence.
  • Compassion vs. welfare increases.
  • Extending freedom here vs. reforming your own government.

All legitimate debating points.

A Human Right?

One claim, though, isn’t legitimate: a pretended human right to immigrate. It doesn’t exist in theory or in practice.

Human history tells of thousands of societies. Not one opened its borders to foreigners asserting a “human right” to enter. The Roman Empire let in thousands of foreigners (calling them “invaders”). Caesar didn’t proclaim a “right to immigrate.” His legions had lost the power to stop them. No serious political thinker or historian has ever discovered a human right to immigrate. Not till muddleheadedness replaced thought in the 20th century.

No one has a “human right” to enter your house uninvited.

Even the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights failed to find a right to enter a foreign country. The Declaration confirms what thinkers and statesmen have always said. A person has the human right to emigrate from his country and to travel “within the borders” [Art. 14]. People sometimes use the weasel word “migrate” to cover up this critical distinction. But “immigration” and “emigration” are opposites.

The Right to Leave, Not to Enter

President Reagan and Soviet leader Gorbachev once had a revealing conversation about this. Reagan said anyone can leave the U.S., and few nations restrict that right. Gorbachev replied that all countries have laws regarding immigration and emigration. It was undemocratic, he charged, for the U.S. to guard its Mexican border with fences and guns. Reagan countered that the situation was reversed along the Soviet border. Too many people want to immigrate into the U.S. We can’t absorb them all. Many Russians want to emigrate from the Soviet Union. You won’t let them leave. Gorby changed the subject.

Everyone knows that homeowners have the right to decide who may come into their (private) homes. In other words, no one has a “human right” to enter your house uninvited. Nor appeal to a police officer or a judge to let you in. Nor to consume or destroy your property — even if he pays you back with interest. An uninvited stranger who breaks and lives in your home violates justice, the natural law. If the owner asks the stranger in, it’s only because she judges it’s in the interest of her household.

The owner might deny entry fearing the stranger will harm her kids or assault her sick mother. Or the owner might let him in to model charity, or admire the stranger’s physical features or ideas, his skin color or religious beliefs. The stranger can’t claim a right. He can only ask. There’s only one human right in play: the owner’s right to close or open her door.

The Right to Rule Ourselves

Society is a household writ large. Its owner is the body of citizens represented by their “sovereign” government — the persons who pass and enforce the laws the people desire to govern their society. These citizens have a conclusive right to rule themselves. They have no human right to rule others beyond their nation’s boundaries. The people next door do that for themselves. If anyone really has a human right to enter another country’s borders without permission, thousands must have that same right — wearing uniforms, carrying weapons and imposing their laws on that society. Young Congressman Abe Lincoln denounced the U.S. invasion of Mexico for acting like this. For speaking out, he lost his seat in Congress.

If there’s really a “human right” to immigrate, no society can have borders. Nations and their governments must be abolished.

Every society’s policies are supposed to promote its own common good. If a community thinks it needs immigrants, it invites them in. To people its empty land … make up for falling national birth rates … stimulate its economy … bolster its ethnic and religious heritage … strengthen its national character … or any other reason. We did this from the early days until well after the Western frontier closed.

An Example, Not a Magnet

Such policies may be wise or foolish. In either case, each society has the exclusive right to decide what’s best. Denying admittance does no injustice to foreigners. Society fulfills its duty to every human being outside its boundaries by leaving him alone. A good society benefits non-citizens more by modeling self-government for them to imitate. (See Pope St. John XXIII’s tacit recommendation of the American constitutional form in Pacem in Terris, 68.)

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Recent popes have asserted a supposed human right to “immigrate,” none more so than Francis. Yet he has admitted that societies have a supervening duty to limit immigration or even close its borders. If refugees and migrants cannot “find schools, homes, employment, and learn the language,” immigrants end up in “ghettoes.” This harms them since they can’t be integrated into society. “Prudence has to make this calculation,” the Pope said (see his first answer).

Think about these concerns expressed by Pope Francis. By definition, all human rights are indefeasible. Governments cannot morally deny them to anyone who uses them innocently. Which means if there’s really a “human right” to immigrate, no society can have borders. Nations and their governments must be abolished. Only one government can rightfully exist. It would be a global empire. Good luck getting the world emperor to guarantee your human rights.

Loose talk of a “human right to immigrate” is no way to think about what’s best for any person, foreign or domestic.

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  • Paul

    “Which means if there’s really a “human right” to immigrate, no society can have borders.”

    To some that is the entire point, global govt. Let the Vatican start by setting the example of destryoing their walls

    • Craig M

      Right. How many illegal aliens is the Vatican currently hosting?

      • Kevin Carr


  • Dave

    If their neighbor was murdered by a gang for refusal to pay extortion and they are now targeting them, I imagine that they really don’t care whether you think they have a right to immigrate

    • ncsugrant

      So should we abandon any attempt to control our borders since some of them could be genuine asylum seekers?

      The way we administer our system, the victim can cross into the US, right along with the gang targeting them.

      • Dave

        I never suggested that we abandon any attempt to control our borders. Man, you just can’t discuss an issue with anyone anymore. People are just so … you know what I mean.

        • Chip Crawford

          We know what you mean, jelly bean. Bunch of stupid, lame laws that should have been fixed have everybody’s knickers in a wad. I’m tired of us being dopes. Fix them immig laws and fix them right!!!

          • Sapient

            Actually, the laws on the books are pretty good. For example, aliens are not allowed to be a public charge. But, that isn’t enforced. Deportation orders are issued all the time. But, they are not enforced. Today, we’re told that you can’t deport people who haven’t committed a crime, but the law says otherwise. DACA is totally made up and not even a law but rather an Executive Order. We’re told there’s an Amnesty loophole…I think rather that the Amnesty provision should be strictly enforced and adhered to as Congress originally intended and much of the false claiming of credible fear/Amnesty would stop. AG Sessions started charging people with the crime of crossing the border illegally (many of whom were coached to claim Amnesty) which, again, is part of the law that was never enforced. Resultantly, Leftist media propagandized children crying who were necessarily separated from their parent (or accompanying adult), DHS stopped referring cases to DOJ, and we’ve gone back to catch-and-release. Many more examples exist but space here is at a premium. I say all this to exemplify that it’s not the law that’s the problem. The problem is the politicians and a subversive judiciary that won’t allow it to be enforced. Those two things need addressing…

          • Chip Crawford

            No, I’m talking about anyone taking a step across onto US soil is in like Flynn. They have to be given a court date. Due to backlog, of course, they have to either be held until then or released into the country. Oh, they have an ankle bracelet which they cut as soon as they get out of range. That’s no law. That stymies the process worse than about anything else.

          • Sapient

            I don’t disagree with you. My main point is that subversive judges will alter the law as they so often do. Only in the last couple of days a judge in San Diego stopped all deportations (for a month I think) of the adults & children that were recently reunited for deportation. The law clearly makes them deportable, but the activist judge stopped it. An activist judge stopped Trump from shutting down DACA—which is nothing more than an Executive Order from Obama that Obama and DOJ said was illegal. The Ninth Circuit actually ruled a few years back that an alien couldn’t be charged with “re-entry after deportation” (a felony) because the alien hadn’t made a meaningful entry (he was caught a couple hundred yards north of the border running from Border Patrol). Obama created a whole list of offenses that aliens could commit while illegally in the US that made them a non-priority (in other words it was a hands-off order). This is the kind of stuff I was addressing. But, I certainly don’t object to new laws that are tougher and more streamlined. But, if the courts and politician problems aren’t addressed somehow, I’m concerned those laws will also be mooted.

          • Chip Crawford

            Yes, I am heartened by Justice Thomas mentioning the activist judge issue in his recent opinion. How that goes down baffles me. What if the WH just ignored such? I guess they couldn’t, but it is patently wrong that one judge could exercise control, albeit temporary in some instances, but encompassing in all, over the nation, existing laws and other branches of government with just their interpretation.

  • ncsugrant

    You do not have rule of law when you choose not to evenly apply the law. Our current system is importing the lawlessness and chaos that most of these people are fleeing. Further, we are establishing a large group of second-class non- citizens. These folks are political pawns for the progressives, and cheap labor for the big business crowd.

  • Patmos

    A nation without borders is not a nation. The useful idiocy of the left is reaching damaging proportions.

  • Freedom Rider

    Therefore, the judges ruling to force illegal immigration into the U S are Treasonous and should be treated as such. We, the People have a supreme right, when they take our right to our country in this way, to Alter and or Abolish those judges. That is a foundational right according to law section 1 U S legal code. So, we, meaning you and me, should be altering and abolishing those judges as is our legal right. see how at accountabilityrevolution dot com

  • Freedom Rider

    1. all illegals are rounded up ans shipped south, 1000 miles and put on the beach with support from the U S Navy for support. All those seeking asylum from countries south of mexico by international agreement, must do that , not in the U S, but in Mexico or the 1st country outside of thier home country they come to. Ship them there as well. Problem solved. 2nd time – 2000 miles south. 3rd – 3000 miles . All alien criminals – jails in Mexico or home country. Return – execute them. Problem solved.

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