Immigration is the movement of people from one nation-state to another. While human migration has existed throughout human history, immigration implies long-term permanent residence (and often eventual citizenship) by the immigrants.
Treating human beings differently, simply because they were born on the opposite side of a national boundary, is hard to justify under any mainstream philosophical, religious or ethical theory.
The freedom to travel and to settle where one wishes, in pursuit of political freedom or economic opportunity, is among the most basic of human rights....The principal difference between the Irish peasants who once fled the potato blight on coffin ships, and the desperate Haitian rafters that our navy forcibly repatriates today, is bad timing.
If you should turn back from this land to Europe the foreign ministers of the Gospel, and the foreign attorneys, and the foreign merchants, and the foreign philanthropists, what a robbery of our pulpits, our court rooms, our storehouses, and our beneficent institutions, and what a putting back of every monetary, merciful, moral, and religious interest of the land! This commingling here of all nationalities under the blessing of God will produce in seventy-five or one hundred years the most magnificent style of man and woman the world ever saw. They will have the wit of one race, the eloquence of another race, the kindness of another, the generosity of another, the æsthetic taste of another, the high moral character of another, and when that man and woman step forth, their brain and nerve and muscle an intertwining of the fibres of all nationalities, nothing but the new electric photographic apparatus, that can see clear through body and mind and soul, can take of them an adequate picture.
T. DeWitt Talmage was an American Presbyterian preacher.