Sunday, February 20, 2011

Jonathan Chavez: A Test of a Just Society

Adam Smith : Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent.

The editorial page of the Northwest Arkansas Section of the Sunday DemZetter- formerly the Morning News, draws our attention to the case of Jonathan Chavez. His parents brought him to America from Peru at the age of 14. They then overstayed their visas and remained in the country illegally.

The title of the article reads "Show Mercy to Student with Promise." They point to Chavez's talents and intellect, and even his devout Christianity, to help them make the case that the immigration laws in this case should be ignored.

This is too much. Can you imagine the DemGaz arguing that people should not be punished for any other class of crimes on the basis of their Christian faith? They spend reams of paper and barrels of ink blasting Christians, especially political ones, who take their faith seriously. Suddenly, its supposed to be some kind of "get out of jail free" card?

The headline is also illogical. If we should let Chavez stay on account of what a valuable citizen he would be, which seems to be the point they are making, then it would not be an act of "mercy" at all. It would be an act of self-interest. Are we supposed to let the smart, good-looking illegal aliens stay but boot out the plain and simple ones? What kind of justice is that?

I reject such inequality under the law as a disgraceful and inappropriate suggestion. The law should apply to the rich as well as the poor, to the handsome as well as the ugly, to the wise as well as the simple. All should be judged by the same standard under the law.

While it may be hard for this young man to understand the reason that justice demands that this young man go back to his homeland, I can see it helping him more than it hurts in the long run. He will probably wind up running some giant corporation's holdings in Peru and wind up a rich man. He may not even want to come back to the states once his 10 year waiting period is up. In the meantime, to show him "mercy" means that every job he gets here is a job lost by someone who followed the rules and is in this country legally.

The paper chides those who would show "rigidity" in enforcing the law. That lets you know how they view the law- as something that is binding on those out of favor with them but not to be applied to "the right people." To put it bluntly, they have a corrupt view of law. The law can only be applied justly when it is applied rigidly.

Given the paper's corrupt view of law, it is not surprising that they are also ignorant of our supreme law of the land, the Constitution. They claim that the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011, which clarifies that children born in the US to illegal aliens are not citizens, is unconstitutional. In so doing they ignore the plain text and the intent of that text. "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, AND SUBJECT TO THE JURISDICTION THEREOF" become citizens. Sen. Howard M. Jacob was the author of this part of the 14th amendment, and he made it clear that he was referring to "full and complete" jurisdiction, not the children of illegal aliens. Courts have imposed their own view because Congress has not legislated Jacob's intent- until perhaps now.


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