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Arguments for immigration reform presume a natural-law basis, scholar notes

May 11, 2010

Writing for The Catholic Thing, the noted natural-law theorist (and newly baptized Catholic) Hadley Arkes makes the point that anyone who argues for the rights of immigrants must base his case on natural law-- whether or not he recognizes it. Arkes explains:

Now if the argument is made these days that illegal aliens in America have a right to become citizens, it should be clear that this right cannot be one that comes to them through citizenship, because clearly they are not citizens. The demonstrators must be invoking a body of rights that are not simply posited or created locally, in America. They must be pointing to a body of rights that could be invoked by any human in any country. In other words, they must be backing into some notion of “natural right” or – gasp – natural law.


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