The Right To Migrate:
Once upon a time, there was no migration on earth. Nothing went anywhere except for the wind and the splashing waves. Before living things grew up and began to move, nothing swam in the sea, walked on the land, flew in the air, or blasted off into space. Today, lots of living things migrate, including many animals and a few humans. Some of us go so far as to think that we have a right to migrate. I believe that you have a right to migrate unless you are in jail or your parents tell you that you are still too young to migrate alone.
Animals began migrating long before humans had rights. When the first fishes opened their eyes, they saw that the sea was large. By moving their tails from side to side, they could go forward and find food anywhere. Early plants drifted with the waves, and later plants grew and climbed all over the land. As the grass got greener on the other side of the seashore, some animals crawled or hopped from the sea up onto the land to find new food and fresh air. Later, air-breathing animals such as dolphins and whales moved down off of the land and back into the sea.
Birds began flying around above the land and the sea. Penguins swam to Antarctica. Above the Arctic circle, polar bears walked around. Yaks climbed over the Himalayas. Men went to the moon.
Here on earth, people get in the way of each other. Billions of people (including me) agree that we need some rules when we migrate. We need to stop at red lights and go at green lights. We need a license to drive a car or a ticket to ride a train. We need to remain seated during takeoffs and landings. We need to buckle our seatbelts.
No special rules are needed when we want to move from one city to another city. We just go. Many, many rules block our paths, though, when we try to move from one country to another country. Immigration officers tell us to stop or wait or go back home. If we want to go forward, they push us backward. National governments have pushed us people into pens.
Most birds, fish, insects, etc., still get to choose where on this planet to live. Adult humans should be free, too, to move from the homes they have now to the homes they hope to have. Those who move shouldn’t need permission from those who sit still.
To have peace and happiness, citizens in each nation or community must obey some rules. These rules might improve life for just the dictator who wrote them or improve life for most of the citizens that form a democratic government. A national government can care very much about its citizens and care less about noncitizens. International governments can treat all people as citizens and improve life for everyone, including you and me. At least that’s the goal.
Rules and laws that stop migration make some people happy and others sad. When the rules hurt more people than they help, we should change the rules. Nations that put up walls to keep citizens safe also take some freedom away from every noncitizen. Nations that build fences to keep poorer noncitizens away from their richer citizens hurt many people to keep a few happy. Noncitizens outnumber citizens, and thus walls often do much more harm than good.
The goal regarding migration should be laws that seem fair to each person, and more happiness in general for everyone. In democratic nations, governments already have such goals for their citizens. At least that's what they say. Within such nations, citizens can move around and choose where to live. Within nations, we let people migrate.
A bird may migrate outside of his nation. Do birds really need to fly so far, or should they stay in the nations where they were born? Life for birds might be less work within cages than living free, but also less fun. A cage or a wall or a fence can keep harm away from you, but also can keep you away from some good things on the other side.
You can be on my side. I won't tell you where to live and you won't tell me where to live and we could each find happier lives. If we take away the borders that separate us, we’ll all be on the same side. Our governments should give us that choice. Our rules should say that migration is right. Then all of us will live happier ever after.
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