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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Circular Reasoning in the Immigration Debate


A circular argument makes a conclusion based on material that has already been assumed in the argument:

"The study of literature is worthwhile because great literature repays close reading."

The argument sounds convincing until you realise that it could be phrased thus:

"The study of literature is worthwhile because literature is a worthwhile subject."

The statement does not raise an issue or allow for argument.

Q. Why are these workers "illegal aliens"?

A. Because they have broken the law.

The real question is, why does the law exist? Is the law a practical law? Is it a just law?

It was illegal for women to vote. Some women did vote and went to prison for it. Theirs was not an overnight stay. They suffered because they did something illegal.

While the actions of illegal immigrants does not rise to the level of true civil disobedience, their action and the problems we have in finding a just response to their actions, should cause us to question the basis for our present immigration policy.

I don't know the answer, but I do know one thing, we will never take care of this problem by attacking it on the supply side. As long as employers are allowed to hire such workers, there will be a steady supply of them brought over here by any means available.

No fence, no National Guard at the border, no jail, no waste of taxpayer dollars will be able to stop them.

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