While the Declaration of Independence establishes our God given rights of ,”life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, ” the Constitution by the rule of law insures that those rights are protected even from the federal government.
When I posted the series the amnesty bill which thankfully failed in Congress was in full swing and I felt it necessary to include in the series what the Framers and our Constitution established on the hot bed issue of illegal immigration. Following is that post and in light of the legal and needed bill which is now law for the State of Arizona, knowing what our Constitution establishes concerning immigration is even more prudent now than it was in 2007.
Amendment 14, Section 1 – “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
Whenever a question arises concerning an important issue such as immigration, the best and most reliable source for finding what this Nation should do in solving any problem that we face is to look to the Constitution.
While there are only two specific references in the Constitution to immigration , stated in this most important of documents as , “naturalization, ” there is clear evidence by the Framers as to what they intended concerning the rights of the people who live in this country and how those rights affect immigrants both legal and illegal.
The two references in the Constitution that specifically mention , “naturalization, ” are found in Article I, Section 8 in creating the authority of the Congress, “To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.” Thus from a Constitutional stand point it is the responsibility of Congress to establish all laws and rules of naturalization or immigration.
The second reference is located in the 14th Amendment shown above stating that , “All persons born or naturalized in the United States,” are, “citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
The key thought in the 14th Amendment which along with several other provisions established in the Constitution shows that the intent of the Framers was that only citizens of the United States whether born or naturalized are granted the rights and privileges that are available in America.
While Congress has the Constitutional authority to establish laws of naturalization or immigration they do not have a true Constitutional authority to create blanket legislation that allows non – citizens the rights of born or naturalized Americans. In other words amnesty is technically unconstitutional because it bypasses the laws which are established for immigrants to become American citizens.
The beginning of the Preamble of the Constitution states clearly who gives authority to the government and in whom the rights established in the Constitution belong to and they are,” We the People of the United States.”
The Framers clearly show that the laws governing this country as established in the Constitution and the rights that are available are for citizens of this land. Even the very Representation in our government from the President to the Congress are established that eligibility to hold public office is reserved for citizens only with the President required to be a natural born citizen of The United States and not a naturalized citizen.
Throughout the Constitution our rights are continually shown to be for citizens of the country, even when the word citizen is not specifically mention. The Preamble calling the establishment of the Constitution by, “We the people, ” clearly indicates that each of the rights and privileges as recorded by the Framers are for the citizenry of this country only.
This does not mean that those who immigrate legally to The United States are treated as second class people or that the laws that protect our citizens whether civil or criminal do not afford the same protections and freedoms to all whether citizen or legal immigrant.
But the rights that we have to vote, to speak freely, to worship as we will, to keep and bear arms, protection from illegal search and seizure, all are rights given by authority of the people for the people, the citizens of the land. It then is also established that any of these rights that may be afforded or not afforded to non-citizens are given ONLY by the authority of the people of The United States.
Anyone who enters in or resides in this country has the privilege given by the authority of the people to share in our freedoms and rights. Citizenship though is not a right that is given nor the privileges of citizenship to any immigrant whether legal or illegal until they have been established by the laws of naturalization as Americans.
Birth gives Americans the right of citizenship but to those who immigrate citizenship must be given by the rule of law. The Framers made it very clear that the law must first be satisfied before the rights of citizenship are available. Each Constitutional reference to our rights and privileges are for the people who are the citizens only.
The Framers realized that once the freedoms and liberties that we have in this country became known to the world that The United States would become a melting pot of cultures and nationalities from all over the world. But they also understood the necessity of keeping our identity as Americans and in establishing a uniform rule of law for gaining citizenship in America and having as born and naturalized citizens the rights and privileges as an American!
Ken Taylor The Liberal Lie, The Conservative Truth