Ever wonder how immigration got to the place where it is today? Some careful study on the issue shines a light on what happens when the Constitution is stretched to say things it doesn’t say.
First, you may remember that the word “immigration” never appears in our U.S. Constitution. If it’s not in the Constitution, the rights are reserved to the states or to the people, not to the federal government, according to the tenth amendment:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
So, we would naturally conclude that the states can make rules concerning immigration. However, it only took about 80 years for the federal government to get involved in immigration through congressional legislation, a Supreme Court ruling, and presidential action, even though the text of the Constitution does not give the federal government jurisdiction in immigration matters. Yet, here is a sequence of events over time that helped to bring about the situation we have today.
*Congress passes the Immigration Act of 1875
*In 1876, the Supreme Court ruled that immigration is solely a federal responsibility.
*Congress established the Immigration Service in 1891.
Ellis Island opens in 1892 as the immigration entry port.
*The first sanctuary city opened in Los Angeles in 1979
“The Refugee Act of 1980” is influenced by United Nations protocols.
*Churches join the effort to offer sanctuary, but an unintended consequence is that criminals with records were now offered shelter in these cities.
*Not by executive order or legislation, but by a simple presidential memorandum, DACA is created (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) in 2012. States sued, but the issue is still alive in the court system.
Let’s look at Article IV, section 4 of the Constitution, which says:
“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot convene) against domestic Violence.
This phrase stands out boldly: “…. and shall protect each of them against invasion.”
When I see the pictures of the southern border and utilize different news services and reports, I can’t help but wonder why Article IV isn’t being enforced against invasion. After all, the U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Check out Article VI, clause 2a:
“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land…”
It is good practice to stand back from the emotion of issues and put them under scrutiny. It’s also good practice to be sure we don’t vote for promises. We vote for action.
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship. 🇺🇸