A friend recently asked me a couple of questions about illegal immigration. For what it's worth, here's a slightly edited version of my original answer.
That's a complicated question to answer. With respect to your first question:
1. I don’t object to illegal aliens simply because they’re here illegally. One of the first questions we need to ask ourselves is not whether something is illegal, but whether it ought to be illegal. If we have bad laws, we need to change the law.
2. Illegals are not all of a kind, so I’m going to mention certain types of illegals which I object to:
i) I object to illegals who come here simply to leech off the welfare state. I don’t approve of the welfare state to begin with. I don’t approve of income redistribution generally. Since I don’t approve of the welfare state for American citizens, I don’t approve of extending the welfare state to illegals. That merely worsens a bad situation.
Our social obligations are concentric. My primary obligation is to support my own family.
Now, there are situations in which you and I benefit if we pool our resources. But that still involves a principle of reciprocity. I do something for your family if you do something in return.
One of the problems with the welfare state is that it tends to garnish responsible wage earners and transfer their income to subsidize the folks with an irresponsible lifestyle.
ii) Apropos (i), I object to illegals who come here for what they can get rather than what they can give back.
iii) I object to illegals who imagine, out of some arrogant sense of entitlement, that the host country should accommodate the customs which they brought with them from the country they left behind. For example, there’s no reason our government should issue official forms in foreign language.
I have no problem with immigrants speaking their mother tongue. But the host government is under no obligation to speak their language. Same thing with bilingual education.
In general, I don’t object to immigrants who bring their culture with them. But that’s different than imposing foreign customs on the host country. Cultural change and exchange should be voluntary rather than coercive.
BTW, I’m not just talking about, say, illegal Mexican immigrants. Legal Muslim immigrants are just as bad or worse in this respect.
iv) Not only is this arrogant, but it’s often hypocritical. If the country they left behind was so great, why did they leave it behind? If they’re coming to America for a better life, then why are they trying to turn America into a carbon copy of the culture which they came to America to escape?
v) Apropos (iv), I object to illegals who come to America to escape a dysfunctional culture, only to import their dysfunctional social mores into American society. An example would be Mexican street gangs, the Mexican Mafia, and other suchlike.
vi) Apropos (v), I do think that foreign nationals have some responsibility for reforming their own dysfunctional countries. America cannot absorb all the poor people of the world.
Many poor countries have natural resources. Many poor countries have a rich cultural heritage. It should be possible to make those countries viable.
vii) Another problem with the S. border is that Mexico doesn’t extradite illegals who commit a capital offense here, then flee to Mexico.
viii) Illegal labor dries up blue-collar jobs for American citizens. It contributes to joblessness.
At the same time, many American businesses like to exploit all of that dirt-cheap, sweatshop labor right across the border.
ix) There is also a danger that reverse discrimination is fueling a white supremacist movement. Ron Paul’s campaign is tapping into some of that pent up rage and resentment.
The charge of “racism” can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. When legitimate social grievances no longer have a legitimate political outlet, that drives them into angry seditious fringe groups.
x) Incidentally, the S. border gets a lot more attention than the N. border because we don’t have Canadians pouring into our country.
However, the Canadian border does pose a threat to our national security—as well as Canada’s national security. Because Canada has such a lenient policy on immigrants, refugees, and citizens of the UK, it’s a haven for jihadis:
That’s an oft- neglected issue in the controversy over porous borders.
In addition, the Eurabian bureaucrats in Canada are now treating any criticism of the jihadis a hate-crime:
I’m sorry that so many Canadian Christians are at the mercy of their own social engineers in the power elite.
With respect to your second question:
1. It isn’t inherently hypocritical to treat people we know differently than people we don’t. We treat friends better than strangers, and there’s a reason for that.
This doesn’t mean we should treat strangers badly, but there’s nothing inherently hypocritical about making an exception for a friend or acquaintance. Favoritism is an essential component of friendship. It’s part of the social glue which keeps the social fabric in one piece.
Of course, there are situations when this can be hypocritical. A paradigm-case would be bureaucrats who pass laws and prosecute offenders while they exempt themselves from the laws they enforce on everyone else.
2. There’s also a legal and moral distinction between reporting a crime and covering for someone.
i) As a rule, I’m not breaking the law if I don’t turn you in for breaking the law. Now, some localities have laws where, if you belong to a particular profession, you are legally obligated to report a particular crime. But, generally, civilians are not under a legal obligation to report a crime.
ii) And there’s not always a moral obligation to do so. A few years ago a convicted child molester was going to move back into a residential community. He had “served his time.” But before he moved in, one of the neighbors burned the house down.
Now, that’s not something I would do. And I don’t ordinarily approve of arson. And I don’t ordinarily approve of vigilantism. But if I knew who the torched the house, I wouldn’t report him to the authorities.
It situations like this, citizens take the law into their own hands because government officials are shirking their duties. They are failing to protect the populace.
Of course, there are many other situations in which I do have a moral obligation to report a crime. But there are times when it’s none of my business.
Take a stupid law like a smoking ban in a tavern. What do I care whether a customer is smoking in a bar?
My philosophy is: if you’re going to pass a stupid law, enforce it yourself. Don’t expect me to collaborate in your stupidity.
3. On the other hand, it’s one thing to turn a blind eye to certain crimes, but something else to facilitate a crime or actively subvert the legal system. Give him sanctuary. Falsify documents. Destroy evidence. Lie to authorities.
Mind you, there are other circumstances in which this is also permissible. Take the French Resistance. It was permissible for Frenchmen to lie to the Nazis, lie to the puppet regime of the Vichy government. Support an underground insurgency.
One can come up with many parallel examples.
4. Basically, I think that people should break the law at their own risk—as long as they’re not putting others at risk.
If you violate immigration laws, even if I don’t report you, don’t expect me to front for you. You’re on your own as far as the legal system is concerned. You came here at your own risk. You knew the risk. Don’t count on me to bail you out.
It’s like swimming when no lifeguard is on duty. Swim at your own risk. Don’t sue me because I didn’t pay to keep a lifeguard to be on duty around the clock, and someone drowns in his absence.
If you try to cross the Rio Grande, and you’re swept away, that’s a tragedy, but it’s not my fault.
5. There is also a difference between the few and the many. The social infrastructure can absorb a certain amount of criminality—but when it reaches a certain extent or intensity, then that’s intolerable.
It’s like the ER. No, we don’t want someone to bleed to death. When possible, we should be charitable. But if the ER is so overwhelmed by indigent patients that it has to close its doors, then everyone loses.