Child Immigrants/Refugees from Central America
Over 50,000 kids have come across the border since OctoberWhy are these kids coming?58% motivated by safety concernsCountries “racked with gang violence fueled by drugtrade”Smugglers tell families children will be reunited with relatives living in the U.S.NPR – “What’s causing this immigration crisis?” 7/09/14
50,000 kids since October, hundreds more each dayDire conditions in Central America
Position 1: We have a duty to help these children
They are not “illegal immigrants,” they are refugeesThe Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (2008) says that children from Central America must be given a court hearing before action is taken; may take up to 3 years but that’s “3 years with a long-lost relative or three years away from extreme poverty and violence.”U.S. Conference of Bishops and UN High Commissioner for Refugees call for children to be treated as refugees.
RefugeesA sympathetic term, appeal to pathosProtection from murder capital of the worldUrgency, seriousness of problem; logos and pathosFleeing persecution; Kids looking for a better lifeImplies/commonplace: “land of opportunity”We have a responsibilityIdeology/commonplace that America is an immigrant nation; we are one of the wealthiest nations in the world.U.S. Conference of Bishops, UN High Commissioner for refugeesUse of Christian ethos/professional ethos
Argued primarily from liberal/social justice ideologyGenerally pro-immigration reform
Position 2: These people are both a danger and an illegal burden and should be sent home.
They are not refugees; they are illegalimmigrants gaming the systemThis is an “invasion”They have been encouraged by Obama’s “lax immigration policies” (Rep. RobertGoodlatte, VA)We can’t afford themThey are bringing diseases
Illegal immigrantsUnsympathetic term; criminalizes people; pathosDiseasesAppeal to fear/pathosInvasionAppeal to fear/pathosLead to demise of countryAppeal to fear/pathos
Language choice, cont’d.
Obama can’t control the southern borderAd hominem attack; attack on Obama’s ethos/leadershipIt’snot our responsibility to solve everyone’s problems; we can’t afford it; American taxpayers are already undersiegeAppeal to logos; use ofcommonplace (the stressed, over-taxed American)They can’t speak English, areunskilled,and won’t be able to compete in themarketplaceAppeal tologos; appeal topathosImplied commonplace: English is the language of the U.S.
Argued from primarily socially/fiscally conservative ideologyAppeal to anti-immigration reform constituents
Position 1:From Virtue-based; this is what a person of good moral character would doFrom ethics of care; adults have a responsibility to care for childrenJustice as fairness; these children are coming from terrible circumstances, not their fault
Position 2 -Applies ethical frameworks as they apply to Americans, not thechildren. In this context they see a primary responsibility to American citizens, thus:From Utilitarian; rejecting child immigrants protects Americans (economically, culturally, in health terms)Duty-based; in a rejection of 2008 law and the notion of term “refugee,” adherence to other immigration laws becomes justification