Over at Blackademics There is a post regarding Elvira Arellano who had holed up in a church in order to avoid deportation. This individual was compared to or called "the next Rosa Parks" in that she supposedly is standing up to unjust laws in the US. I, among others object to the comparison. Those comparing the two claim that both were standing up for human rights, which I doubt given a couple of things which includes the hidden history of Rosa Parks political ideas. But I wanted to focus on the human rights issue because I think it is a term oft used and rarely understood much less defined. What exactly are human rights? Well the UN, in 1948 produced a document that codifies what global human rights are. So let's take a look and see what is relevant to the issue of illegal immigration.
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
basically everything in the document applies to everybody. Fair enough.
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
Even the illegal immigrant is recognized as a person. Fair enough.
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
So the immigrant who has broken the law by entering the country without permission or who has overstayed their visa has broken the law. The law states that such persons can be subject to immediate deportation. This is not discriminatory. The illegal immigrant is a person before the law. The law states what it states and the illegal immigrant is being dealt with in accordance to the law irrespective of their gender, race, class, color, national origins, etc. So no violation of human rights yet.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Elvira was not arbitrarily arrested detained or exiled. Any arrest was effected by her violation of law which we covered above.
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
Yep, in the US it's called immigration court. So even if it is determined on sight that one is in the country illegally there is still a legal proceeding to attend before being sent to ones country of origin. The person may not want to go but that is beside the point. No one said that a person had to like the decision of the host country. The only provision is that the host country impartially observes proceedures in regards to the "legal person".
(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.
After the last Amnesty, to my recollection immigration law was still in effect. Furthermore the penalties for being in the country illegally have been and still are the one can be deported. Therefore Elvira has no case since at the time she either entered the country or overstayed her visa, she was already in violation of the law. That the law finally caught up to her is entirely irrelevant.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
Pretty much self explanatory. Elvira can go where she pleases in her country. That freedom is explicitly not discussed as it pertains to a citizen in one state going into another country. Therefore it is clear that even the UN charter on Human Rights recognizes that a country has the right to limit the movement and residency of "aliens" so long as that state does not interfere with the free movement of said citizen to return to his or her own country. In the case of illegal immigrants they conflate the right to leave their country with a supposed right to enter another. there is no human right to do so.
(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Illegal immigrants may in fact be persecuted and the US has a system of applying for asylum. Doesn't mean it will be granted (unless you're a Cuban) but it exists. As is noted in this article, economic hardship is not grounds for seeking asylum.
(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
Section 2 is an interesting issue. Clearly on the basis of this document a country that denies medical attention at publicly funded hospitals are acting in accordance with stated "human rights" though I would find that highly unethical and immoral to do. Oddly the illegal immigrant in the US has access to many public services that the host state is under no obligation to give. In other words the illegal immigrant in the US is in a way making out good which of course is the reason the risk to enter illegally is done in the first place. This is in contrast to article 25:
(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
I'm not entirely sure how section 1 of Article 25 squares legally with Article 21 and 13. I read it as article 25 discusses the obligations of the state to it's citizens. If all states are obligated to provide that which is in Article 25 then regardless to what country a citizen enters they could expect the same. As I've said before I would have a low opinion of a country that denied even those in it's borders illegally medical attention.
Now lets contrast that with Rosa Parks. Rosa parks was a citizen of the US. As a citizen, she was being denied equal access to travel freely on the basis of her race. This is a clear cut violation of Article 2. The voting situation in the US was also a clear violation of Article 21. Those who suffered at the hands of the authority, all citizens of the US were clearly victims of violations of articles 6,7,9 and 11.
So it is pretty clear from a human rights perspective that Elvira is not comparable to Rosa Parks by any stretch of the imagination because nothing in her case or the case of just about any illegal alien in the US rises to the level of a violation of human rights.
This is entirely different than the issue of corruption in places such as Mexico and the predatory corporations operating there (I target Mexico since most illegal immigrants in the US originate from there). These issues should and must be addressed for the benefit of both Mexicans AND US citizens. However, the continuous mis-appropriation of Rosa Parks is wrong and needs to stop.