Immigration Is Not a Civil Right

Center for Immigration Studies: Immigration and Civil Rights in the Wake of September 11th

Testimony prepared for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights October 12, 2001

By Mark Krikorian Executive Director, Center for Immigration Studies

“Immigration is not a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution to everyone and anyone in the world who wishes to come to the United States. It is a privilege granted by the people of the United States to those whom we choose to admit.”-Barbara Jordan, August 12, 1995

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this briefing on immigration and civil rights in the wake of the September 11 jihadist atrocities. We are faced with two questions relating to civil liberties: First, Is immigration a civil right? And second, What is the best way to create an environment respectful of immigrants living among us?

Immigration Is Not a Civil Right

Article I, Section 8, Clause 4 of the Constitution grants Congress the power to establish a “uniform Rule of Naturalization.” From this has developed the “plenary power doctrine,” which holds that Congress has complete authority over immigration matters. The Supreme Court has said that “over no conceivable subject” is federal power greater than it is over immigration. As a consequence, as the Court has said elsewhere, “In the exercise of its broad power over naturalization and immigration, Congress regularly makes rules that would be unacceptable if applied to citizens.”

This is as it should be, since control over immigration is fundamental to national sovereignty. If “We the People of the United States” have ordained and established the Constitution, then we by definition retain the power to determine who is, and is not, a member of the American people. Thus, the decision to admit or exclude foreign citizens is a matter solely in the hands of the elected representatives of the people, and any one from abroad who is admitted to travel or live among us does so as a guest, remaining here at our pleasure, until such time as we agree to permit him to become a member of our people. In effect, foreign citizens, even if they are here illegally, enjoy the human rights endowed to them by God, but they remain here at our discretion and the specifics of their due process rights are determined by Congress…

To Maintain a Pro-Immigrant Climate, We Need Lower Levels of Immigration

Given that coming to America is a privilege and not a right, we still should seek to create a climate welcoming to those immigrants we do admit. In other words, although we have the right, and the duty, to regulate immigration to the benefit of the American people, it is desirable as a policy matter that the climate we create for immigrants is as welcoming as possible. How may we accomplish this?

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Posted on April 11, 2006, in News and politics. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.


    Josh Roberts double-locked the door behind him and anxiously peeked through the curtains. He didn’t see any of the dreaded black uniforms of the Federales.
    Roberts turned on his computer and re-set the preferences for English grammar instead of Spanish. Ever since Texas independence turned the state into Nuevo Tejas, all English language publications were illegal. If anyone found out about Liberty, Robert’s underground newspaper, he and his family would be tossed into the Dallas County jail for . . . well, who knew for how long?
    Roberts had worked for the Dallas Morning News before it was banned and re-born as the Dallas Reconquista. Reconquista stood for re-conquest; the acquisition by immigration of the lost Mexican territories of Texas, California, New Mexico and Arizona. It once seemed like a ridiculous idea, but the numbers made it a reality.
    After the 2006 amnesty bill gave citizenship to fifteen million illegal immigrants, another twenty million Latino illegal immigrants promptly moved to Texas. What Mexico lost at San Jacinto they won back with immigration. Once they had a majority of the electorate, the Latinos simply voted in Latino mayors, chiefs of police, state legislators and – finally – the Governor.
    Vicente Diaz was the Governor until he declared Texas independence from the U.S. and made himself Presidente. The 1876 Texas constitution vaguely allowed independence. But the real power behind independence came from the Mexico/Venezuela oil embargo and the millions of immigrants marching in the streets. The U.S. politicians quickly bowed to the wishes of Latino voters in their own states and let Texas go.
    However, an aide on Diaz’s staff had slipped Roberts secret documents which proved that the Mexican drug cartels provided the financing for Diaz. This was the bombshell Roberts planned for the front page of Liberty. As Roberts opened his newspaper layout program on his laptop, he heard a knock at the door. He went to the door and looked through the peephole.
    All he saw were black uniforms.

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