This past Thursday, Nov. 2 in Sykes Ballroom C, the West Chester University Students for Liberty hosted a presentation from David Bennion. Bennion is the founder of the Free Migration Project, a non-profit centered around advocating for immigrant rights.
The Free Migration Project provides pro-bono legal representation for DACA recipients, as well as educates the public on the need for free migration and supports advocacy campaigns. While a large portion of the audience were from Students for Liberty, there were also representatives of College Democrats and students in the Political Science department.
Bennion gave a presentation focusing on some of the situations he experienced with his clients as a result of strict immigration laws. For example, as a DACA recipient, one of Bennion’s clients was barred from purchasing insurance through the Affordable Care Act.
After suffering a complete loss of mobility, only able to blink as communication, this woman passed in her home, being cared for by her mother without medical help.
Bennion detailed philosophical and empathic reasons for working with the people he represents. He explained that the traditional ways citizenship is transferred, either by location of where an individual is born or by the citizenship of their parents, both rely on one’s birth.
Bennion argues that since one’s birth is a lottery of chance, outside of any individual’s control, to grant citizenship on this basis is inherently discriminatory and unethical.
Bennion made a point to also address issues with immigration policy that are often ignored in mainstream political discussion. While opposed to many conservative immigration policies which would further impair the ability of people to immigrate, Bennion also criticized liberal Democratic solutions as well.
He pointed out that some commonly proposed policies, like granting a path to citizenship for those already here and allowing more work visas, while they are improvements, do not actually help people migrate freely. In practice, he argues, people will still have to go through the massive bureaucratic process that takes years before gaining citizenship.
Those who are in this process and have any imperfection on their record, even the pettiest of crimes, are still at risk for deportation and loss of opportunity at citizenship.
Bennion argues that, in most situations, nation-states should allow free movement, both for the ethical reasons discussed earlier as well as the benefits it brings to our country and the world.
Echoing lines of reasoning from many other pro-immigration advocates, Bennion explains how great immigration is for the economy and how it could be even better with less restriction as a result of immigrants contributing through their work, their purchasing of goods and payment of taxes, which documented and undocumented immigrants do pay, contrary to common belief.
For those who wish to learn more about David Bennion’s work with the Free Migration Project, you can visit their website at freemigrationproject.org.
In addition, Students For Liberty often do immigration advocacy, which you can learn about in their meetings every Wednesday at 7:00 p.m., in Sykes 254.
Alexander Habbart is a third-year student majoring in mathematics and philosophy. He can be reached at AH855541@wcupa.edu.