I made a comment on a friend’s post on Facebook, which turned into quite the exercise in the Socratic method toward challenging Federal jurisdiction over immigration. Dreamers, as they are called, are the children of immigrants, allegedly illegal, who were brought at a very young age, but having already been born. I know or have known many Dreamers, even dated one my final year in high school. There are an estimated 1,000,000 Dreamers in the US. Here’s the conversation among three people, myself, Caroline, and Brandon, sans irrelevant chiming in by third parties and edited for clarity and consistency.
Skyler: Dreamers’ parents didn’t sin. ^_^
Caroline: Well, they sinned in a secular way, they broke the law.
Skyler: How do you know that? What does the law have to do with them?
Caroline: If they came here illegally then they broke the law, no? And then we get shit like this. As long as they come here illegally, don’t contribute but drain the system and commit crimes I’m arguing they are breaking the law and need to go.
Skyler: Are you claiming that immigration laws apply to them?
Caroline: Yes, they do, why wouldn’t they?
Skyler: What evidence do you have to support your claim that US immigration laws apply to them?
Caroline: What evidence do you have that it doesn’t? They are immigrants to a foreign country and they don’t come here legally, but there are laws for immigration. There is your proof. It’s the definition of immigration (laws). If it doesn’t apply to them, who does it apply to? Are you just gonna ask another question or are you actually gonna argue a point you are trying to make? If it’s just another question, I’m done with the trolling.
Skyler: The laws apply because the laws say so? Isn’t that circular reasoning? Is circular reasoning a valid form of evidence when you have the burden of proof to use violence against another person, in your view?
Caroline: You obviously don’t want to have a productive discussion, why don’t you go and troll someone else.
Skyler: You don’t find it productive to challenge someone making seemingly arbitrary claims that involve using violence against other people? Are you able to support your claims, or not?
Caroline: It’s not a discussion, and in my opinion quite disrespectful, when one person just asks questions, whether they are legitimate or not, and doesn’t engage. Even if I’m the one that makes claims why does the burden of proof sit with me? Why don’t you bring proof for your claims and questions? You haven’t produced any proof or explanation, all you do is ask questions and when I try to answer them, you avoid the answer itself and only attack the way I presented the answer, with more questions. I’m not buying into that tactic.
Skyler: I’m trying to understand the foundation of the claims you are making. I’m not making claims. I’m not making arguments. You are. Aren’t you able to provide supporting evidence for your claims? If not, is it right or wrong to posit unsupported claims? Is doing so respectful, or not?
Brandon: Holy Cow Skyler. If you enter another country in a way that violates their immigration laws then their laws most certainly apply to you. In what arrogant and asinine way do you think they don’t?
Skyler: Brandon, you wrote, “in a way that violates their immigration laws…” That is what’s under dispute here. What evidence can you provide to show that immigration laws apply to Person A?
Caroline: BTW Skyler, what violence are you talking about? Just because I don’t support illegal immigration, doesn’t mean I call for violence. On the other hand, there are a lot of illegals who come here and commit serious crimes. I guess you are ok with that violence, but if there is violence used to protect the borders, that’s not ok, huh. Maybe one of these illegals needs to harm your family and then maybe you will learn that in order to help others, one has to help themselves first.
Skyler: The violence inherent in enforcing immigration laws. Aren’t laws enforced with violence, typically? You keep calling them “illegals”. You are presuming facts not in evidence. Why do you keep doing that? Is that fair? Is that respectful? Is that justified?
Caroline: I am not sure how I can prove that a law applies to someone or not other than stating that if a person falls within that law and is in disobedience to that law then the law applies to them. But what is your proof for the violence? I mean if the law doesn’t apply to illegal immigrants then how can the violence enforcing these laws apply? Can’t have your cake and eat it too!
Skyler: If I attack you, you would want to know why, correct? Wouldn’t you demand that I justify my actions? Wouldn’t the burden of proof to support my claims of the right to attack you fall upon me, the attacker? And if I couldn’t support my claim, my supposed right, or authority, to attack, what would that make me, and how much support should my claims receive by others?
Caroline: If not breaking the law, what do you call it when someone from Country A goes to Country B without permission and starts doing things they aren’t allowed to? And what do you call it in the context of someone from Country B trying to do the same thing in Country A, being thrown into prison or worse instead of being given welfare and the right to vote?
Skyler: “without permission…” This is another presumption without supporting evidence. Permission depends on immigration laws applying, do they not? Is it valid to keep saying (in different ways) “the law applies” over and over without offering any supporting evidence? “aren’t allowed to…” Like what? Using violence against peaceful people?
Brandon: Are you trying to suggest that just because a law is written regarding immigration and states that it applies to ANY person entering through undocumented and unauthorized means, that said law does not necessarily apply to said persons? That it basically all depends on each individual person’s interpretation of the law? Without laws there is chaos, have you not read Lord of the Flies? Anarchy ultimately devolves into dictatorship or some other form of government, but true anarchy can not long remain. Societies that have devolved into such states have become tribal and nomadic warring with each other until eventually they are conquered by outside forces or die out. The Olmecs are a prime example of this, and even the ancient Roman empire.
Skyler: Do you have any evidence to support your claim that said law does apply to any given person? This is a question that must be answered before we even attempt interpretation. Does what the law say matter if it doesn’t even apply to begin with? The rest of your post is irrelevant to the question at hand.
Brandon: How the hell does it not fricking apply?
Skyler: Why should I believe it applies? Is the burden of proof on you claiming the right to use violence against me, or on me? Presumption of innocence, or nah?
Brandon: WTF? (in animated GIF)
Caroline: You know what Skyler, you show me your evidence that explains how “Dreamers’ parents didn’t sin”. That’s what started all this and you haven’t given any evidence for that, nor have you constructively participated in the ensuing conversation. So go ahead, I’m interested to see this.
Brandon: He’ll just respond by asking for you to provide proof that the law applies.
Caroline: I know right, he will just counter with another question instead of actually contributing to the conversation. While we are having this, thanks to him, pointless conversation, illegal immigrants are out there killing Americans, that’s how I look at it.
Skyler: Why is the burden of proof on me? To say they have sinned (violated a law) is to say that you (or the enforcers) have a right to use violence against them. Who has the presumption of innocence here? Or do you not believe in the presumption of innocence, and due process?
Caroline: Again, nothing but questions. I should be a fortune teller. So let me get this straight. If you make a claim the burden of proof is on me, the reader. But if I make a claim, the burden of proof is on me, the claim maker. You do know, that’s not how it works, right?! Let me ask you this: show me your proof that the sky is blue! Go!
Skyler: Do you believe in the presumption of innocence and in following due process, or not?
Caroline: I’m just done. If you can’t follow basic rules for having a discussion, there is no point of having a discussion at all.
Skyler: How am I not following basic rules? I’m asking questions. You’re dodging. You’re asserting facts. I’m challenging them. You aren’t supporting them. Now you’re accusing me of not following the rules. Huh?
Brandon: Ahh, I see where he is partly going with this. Going back to the US Constitution, a person is innocent until proven guilty. Yes, I understand that, however, he also wants us to prove that the law even applies. Feeling that if the law does not apply (ie, the individual doesn’t agree with the law as written) they they don’t have to abide by the law, nor are they subject to the consequences of breaking said law, because the law never applied to them in the first place. Unless by some miracle you are able to convince them that the law does in fact apply to them, but that would entail getting them to agree with said law.
Skyler: It’s a question of jurisdiction. Should anyone be allowed to assert jurisdiction without supporting evidence?
Caroline: I went back to your original claim that Dreamers’ parents didn’t sin and asked you to provide proof for that statement, and instead of doing so, you keep demanding proof for my claims, which came after yours. That’s how you are not “following the rules” of a discussion, and that’s why I will not argue with you further, because there is no point, and therefore no real discussion.
Skyler: I’ve seen no evidence that they’ve sinned, because I’ve seen no evidence that some group of people calling themselves “government”‘s immigration laws apply to them. Should I believe something that hasn’t been proven with evidence? Should I believe something just because someone says so? Is that rational?
Caroline: So in your opinion these people have done absolutely nothing wrong and you have no qualms with them being here in the fashion that they are?
Skyler: Not because they are so-called “illegals”. If they’ve hurt people or taken their stuff, yes, but present your evidence, and we can judge them on the merits. I have no issue with immigrants, whether from Mexico, Iraq, or Chicago.
Caroline: Great, let’s just have everybody come here, get on welfare, vote Democrat, and demand more government programs, and therefore more taxes for everybody but them, and call it all good. Yay anarchy!
Skyler: People have kids, too, who do the very same things. Should we prohibit that? In any event, why is that their (Dreamers’) problem?
Brandon: They entered the country in a way contrary to the laws of the United States. You ask who has jurisdiction. The US government with its border and immigration law enforcement agencies. It’s just like if someone comes into my house uninvited, I have the authority to throw them out. If my children sneak their boyfriend or girlfriend in and I find them I have the authority to kick the unwanted guest out even at the objection of my children. If a friend of my child breaks a rule of mine I can send them home. Even if they and my child disagree.
Skyler: Brandon wrote, “in a way contrary to the laws…” So what? What do those laws have to do with them? Do my laws apply to them as well? May I hurt them or take their stuff because my laws say that I can, and solely on the basis of my laws?
Brandon: It is evident that you have a complete disregard for authority. The only authority you seem to respect is your own. You keep asking for proof that US immigration laws apply to the parents of the Dreamers. It is evident that you feel if they don’t agree with the law then the law does not apply. That is both arrogant and asinine. To quote Billy Madison, “What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”
Skyler: Why should I regard people who call themselves “US government” and their written instruments as valid authority over myself, or any immigrant? What evidence can you provide, besides “because we say so” for their jurisdiction over other people?
Brandon: You just have a complete disregard for any authority other than yourself. Nothing I say will convince you and you are demanding proof that cannot be had, because no matter the proof I supply you would reject it. To accept such evidence would require acceptance and recognition of authority outside yourself, namely a higher power, a supreme creator.
Caroline: Correct. No point in discussion with such a person.
Skyler: Why don’t you supply some evidence, and we can judge it on its merits? So far, you’ve refused to do so. What am I supposed to conclude from that?
And thus it ended. Not a word back, so far. Should I be hopeful that said evidence is forthcoming? I don’t see why. Nobody’s ever been able to prove their claims of jurisdiction, that their laws, their scribbled opinions, their written instruments, apply to anyone.
I particularly like being accused of disregarding authority. That’s 100% true, within the context of political authority. Don’t you? Do you accept arbitrary claims of jurisdiction over your life, liberty, and property? Seems irrational to me.
Facts are, people who call themselves “government” have zero jurisdiction over anybody else. Do you have any evidence to the contrary?