They aren’t “migrants,” they are illegal immigrants, breaking the laws of a nation where they don’t belong. They are, however, people.
About 130 illegal immigrants, fresh from Texas, were off-loaded from buses in front Vice President Kamala Harris’s home on one of the coldest Christmas Eves ever in Washington, D.C.
They arrived after a 36-hour journey, many without clothes or blankets to gird against the weather, though non-profit groups arrived to coordinate travel and housing and provide food, coats, gloves and shoes to cope with the sub-twenty degree temperatures. The buses were sent by the Texas Division of Emergency Management, directed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
“They have been doing that for a few months now; it’s all for the spectacle,” a pro-illegal immigration activist told the New York Times. “The cruelty is the point. It’s awful to use people in this manner, for political reasons.”
Kant held that it is unethical to “use people” for any reasons. Then again, Vice-President Harris, charged with dealing with the administration’s border-crossing fiasco, has agreed with the Department of Homeland Security that the border is secure. Washington, D.C. is blandly repeating that talking point, and the news media is spinning it.
We had a similar ethics quiz in September, and many of the issues are the same, but I regard the distinction between sending the border-jumpers to the charming and elite resort of Martha’s Vineyard in the Fall and busing them to D.C. to arrive in freezing December weather material.
Your Ethics Alarm Ethics Quiz of the Day is…
Is Abbott’s shipping illegal immigrants from sunny Mexico to freezing Washington unethical?
Abbott’s office says that the shippees “consented.” I doubt that such consent is truly informed or voluntary: I wonder what the other options presented to them were? Still, can the stunt be defended as a utilitarian measure focusing public attention where a biased news media has been trying to avoid clarity (“migrants”), resulting in condign justice?
A related issue is what the ethical response from Harris should have been. Ann Althouse writes,
I wonder, if Kamala Harris wanted to seize this occasion and make an impressive showing for herself, what could she do? I understand the response that is to do nothing and to deny her adversaries the power to require that she react to a circumstance that they created. But what if she wanted to say or do something… on Christmas? Kamala Harris is a Christian — a Baptist.
My reactions to that:
- She’s a Baptist who supports abortion on demand. I don’t think Harris’s alleged religious beliefs mean anything, in this matter or any others.
- Harris was in ethics zugzwang. If she took the people in, gave them food and temporary shelter, then more buses would be on the way, and her symbolic act would be represented as an open birder endorsement. Doing nothing, in contrast, makes her look like a hypocrite, as indeed all of the distant supporters of illegal immigration are.
- Is Harris capable of making an “impressive showing of herself”?
- “They created” this situation? Seriously, Ann?