Saturday, February 5, 2011

Okay with Amnesty

In regards to the illegal immigration issue, a powerful argument against Amnesty is its a failure to enforce Justice or the Rule of Law. For those people who claim to be on the side of “law and order” such an objection poses serious difficulties. “Letting this one slide” appears to make a mockery of the law.

Fortunately, Carson Holloway recently wrote an article defending Amnesty by comparing it to the power of pardon. Strict Justice requires that we follow the Rule of Law, but there could be emergency cases in which one should not do so. The Constitution’s power of pardon is a recognition of this reality and Holloway argues the same logic applies to Amnesty. Whether the state should grant pardon or Amnesty in a particular case is a prudential call, but that does not mean it is a matter of justice. Someone may be imprudent, but that does not make him unjust.

Strict Justice, left to itself, can be cruel; it has to be sweetened by Mercy. Both Amnesty and Pardon has to be granted only in particular times and places so Justice can retain its force. If administered indiscriminately or absolutely, Mercy loses its flavor and degenerates into a false compassion. For that reason, it is a matter of prudence or a judgment call. Or to put the matter in terms of CST (Catholic Social Teaching), since it is not a matter of principle, the issue has to be resolved by weighing proportionate reasons.

And in the particular case we’re dealing with at the moment, the difficulty of deporting MILLIONS of Illegal Immigrants, the significant political costs involved, and the understandable reasons why immigrants break the law to come here, it seems the prudential thing to do would be to grant amnesty.

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