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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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Stealing Children from Illegal Immigrants


Advocates of the war on immigrants often claim as a justification for their war that illegal aliens steal jobs away from Americans. Of course, it’s a spurious claim. No one has a right to any particular job. Employers, as owners of their businesses, have the moral right to offer employment or deny employment to anyone they wish. If an employer chooses to use his own money to hire a foreigner, that is his moral right. The employee hasn’t “stolen” the job from an American because no American had any ownership rights to the employer’s money or to employment in his firm.

But even if the immigration warriors’ claims had validity, it doesn’t come close to what the state is doing to illegal immigrants. Ratcheting up its war, the state is now stealing children away illegal immigrants.

A New York Times article entitled “After Losing Freedom, Some Immigrants Face Loss of Custody of Their Children” details the story of illegal aliens who are having their children taken away from them and given to American parents.

For example, consider Encarnacion Bail Romero, a Guatemalan who was swept up in an immigration raid of a poultry plant in Carthage, Missouri. A year and a half after she went to jail, the Jasper County Circuit Court involuntarily terminated her parental rights and delivered her baby boy to his new adoptive parents, a well-heeled American couple who has a beautiful home. According to the judge, Bail, by contrast, didn’t have much to offer her son, given that she was in jail and would ultimately be deported to Guatemala.

Did Bail consent to the termination of parental rights? On the contrary, even though she is a poor, uneducated woman who can read neither English nor Spanish, with the help of a jail guard and an English-speaking visitor she sent a note to the judge from her jail cell clearly stating “I do not want my son to be adopted by anyone. I would prefer that he be placed in foster care until I am not in jail any longer. I would like to have visitation with my son.”

Her note obviously didn’t persuade Judge David C. Dally, who wrote in his decision: “Her lifestyle, that of smuggling herself into the country illegally and committing crimes in this country, is not a lifestyle that can provide stability for a child. A child cannot be educated in this way, always in hiding or on the run.”

I wonder if there were German judges who said the same thing about Jewish parents who were in hiding or on the run with their children for violating Nazi laws.

Let’s recap what’s really going on here.

Here’s a woman who comes from a desperately poor country, Guatemala. She risks her life and her freedom to enter the United States to improve her economic lot in life. She no doubt has heard of the American Dream, where extremely poor people, through hard work, can get rich, maybe even as rich as that American family to which she has now lost her son. Maybe she even fantasizes that her son could one day grow up to be a great success, maybe even a judge. She goes to work for an American employer who is willing to use his own money to hire her.

It’s really a classic case in which morality and the law collide. Because in a moral sense, this woman has done absolutely nothing wrong, and certainly not something that would justify having her child stolen away from her. Sure, in the eyes of the law she is a criminal, but under fundamental principles of morality and natural, God-given rights, it is the law itself that is criminal, not her.

Ultimately, this is the issue that every American, especially every Christian, must face in the federal government’s war on immigrants: When the government enacts and enforces laws that violate God’s laws, will I pursue the laws of man or the laws of my God? Everyone is free to make his own choice, which of course is what free will is all about.

Now, I’m sure there are immigration warriors out there who would exclaim, “Oh, I don’t support the stealing of children from illegal immigrants, just as I don’t support those abusive Border Patrol checkpoints on U.S. highways, or raids on American businesses, or the Berlin Fence along the border, or Border Patrol warrantless trespasses onto private farms and ranches, or roving Border Patrol searches of vehicles. I just favor immigration controls and want them to be enforced.”

Well, doh! Isn’t that sort of like saying, “I support lightning but I stand firmly against thunder”? Once immigration controls are enacted, it is a reasonable assumption that the state will do whatever is necessary to see that they are enforced, including stealing children away from people who violate them.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.