The perversity of anti-immigration policies

Not only are we all descended from illegal immigrants, but worse: our predecessors took territory by force. If we look back far enough, we always find that our ancestral homeland was someone else’s first, until by violence or cunning our predecessors appropriated territory from its prior inhabitants for themselves and their progeny — us. Even First Peoples, even if they were truly the first people and did not conquer the territory of other indigenous people, dominated other species and altered the environment. We are always strangers creating a strange land.

This universal, however, does not have to mean there is no standard, that anything goes, that might makes right. It can mean, instead, that we are all in the wrong, and thus have no authority to restrict peaceful immigration, at least not until we acknowledge and redress the crimes of our forbears. And since there is no turning back the clock on people subjugated, on nature exploited, the only redemption is a new morality of harmony with other people and other living things, of recognition that they are not other at all, but us.

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