What does "No human being is illegal" mean and is global citizenship an unrealistic dream?

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besure77's profile pic

besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

The statement "No human being is illegal" does not sound very rational to me. I agree that this stems from the new laws in Arizona that allow law enforcement officials to demand proof of citizenship. If an individual has not gone through the proper steps to become a legal citizen then they are considered to be in the country illegally. People have the right to move to another country if they choose but they should go about it in the correct manner.

Global citizenship is an unrealistic dream. There are far too many contrasting views and opinions in the world to allow this to happen. It would be nice if this were possible but I do not think it will ever happen.

brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The phrase "No Human Being is Illegal" raises a legitimate point and issue.  According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the UN in 1948, everyone has a right to their own identify, and to life.  Therefore, to declare someone illegal, or under automatic suspicion of being illegal, because of their identity, violates these principles.

Behavior or actions can be declared illegal, but these can be committed by anyone.  The phrase also likely refers to the ethical argument for unrestricted immigration - that there are jobs available for immigrant workers here, and people are moving here to escape economic poverty, so to deny them entry is to deny them economic sustenance, and therefore their right to exist on Planet Earth.

Global citizenship is an unrealistic dream, but we can realistically move closer to that and already are in some ways.  In the European Union, citizens of many countries share the same rights and may travel freely within the zone with little or no identification.  We also encourage a move towards global citizenship when we champion and practice economic globalization, because it removes economic boundaries between countries, and political ones become more transparent when that happens.

The problem with the Arizona law where this concept is concerned is that it empowers and requires law enforcement to verify citizenship, and allows them to ask for verification based on mere suspicion.  Therefore, to be Latino in Arizona makes you an automatic suspect, while it is much less likely they will be profiling white male Canadians.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The slogan "No human being is illegal," is meant to oppose the new law down in Arizona.  It means that all people should be allowed to live wherever they want without being called illegal.

To me, this is a silly idea.  I do not think that global citizenship can possibly become reality any time within the foreseeable future.

If citizenship were global, just about everyone who could would flock to a small number of rich countries.  This would put intolerable strains on those countries as they tried to adjust to an influx of poorer people who did not have a background in common with that of most of the population.

This does not mean I approve of the Arizona law.  What it means is that I think that countries must be able to control who they allow to enter their country.  Therefore, people will continue to be illegal if they do not follow these rules.

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