A piece recently published in The Federalist, about the Mollie Tibbets murder case, demonstrates everything that is wrong with open-borders arguments on immigration. According to the author “The Murder of Mollie Tibbetts is Reason to Loosen Immigration Laws, Not Restrict Them,” because “if we went to fix our immigration system we should start by making it easier for people to come here and work – legally.” After all, “illegal migration is a victimless crime.”
There are two significant problems with this approach, however. It show’s a stunning naiveté about causation and the law. And, as a result, it is utterly nonsensical.
The only reason to view the murder of Mollie Tibbets as a valid basis for loosening our immigration laws would be if one could clearly demonstrate two things: 1) that restrictive immigration regulations somehow contributed to Ms. Tibbetts’ death; and 2) that we could loosen those immigration rules without the accrual of any other negative consequences. Of course, neither test could be satisfied with respect to the murder of Ms. Tibbetts.
Based on the available evidence, it appears that Christhian Bahena Rivera intentionally abducted and murdered Mollie Tibbetts after he encountered her while she was jogging in Brooklyn, Iowa. He’s been charged with willful, deliberate and premeditated homicide pursuant to the Iowa Code Annotated § 707.2. In that sense, restrictive U.S. immigration laws cannot be said to have contributed to the death of Ms. Tibbetts. Her death was not a direct result of Mr. Rivera’s efforts to cross the border unlawfully or remain here in violation of American law.
On the other hand, but for the fact that he violated our immigration laws, Mr. Rivera would not have been present in the United States to commit a crime against Ms. Tibbetts. His illegal entry into, and unlawful presence within, the United States were both predicate offenses which enabled him to commit murder in the United States. Accordingly, The Federalist’s argument that unlawful migration is a “victimless crime” fails miserably in this case.
First, it fails the simple logic test. Rivera’s breach of the border was a crime against American sovereignty. He then committed identity theft in order to obtain the documents necessary to apply for a job. And he followed-up by defrauding his employer, in order to accept work So, the trail of victims began with the American people, continued to whoever may have been victimized by Rivera’s identity theft, extended to his employer, and ultimately to Ms. Tibbetts.
But it also fails a second time when one notes that the term “crime” does not refer merely to a personal injury for which the law provides a remedy. Rather, it refers to a violation of those duties which an individual owes to the community and for the breach of which the law has provided that the offender shall make satisfaction to the public. And American law is explicit: foreign nationals are welcome here only when they observe the dictates of our immigration laws. When they violate those laws, the satisfaction owed to the community is for the United Stated government to enforce their departure to their home nations, where they possess the rights of citizenship.
Had the United States met that obligation with regard to Christhian Bahena Rivera, he would not have been here at all – and, therefore, would have been unable to kill Ms. Tibbetts. And only one enslaved to a particularly dangerous kind of willful blindness would argue that making it easier for the Riveras of the world to come here lawfully would offer any measure of protection to the likes of Mollie Tibbetts, or any of the others who suffered less egregious victimization at his hands.