Sunday, March 19, 2017

This Argument for Immigration sits in the Constitution, Patiently Waiting

   Here's a pitch for the 'illegal' immigrant that might someday receive attention, maybe even making them legal.
   This argument sits there in the Constitution, patiently waiting.
   Pick up that venerable document, if you will, and go down to the 14th Amendment, which was enacted following the Civil War.
   Doesn't that last part of Section 1 of the amendment say no state shall deprive any person in its jurisdiction of equal protection under the laws? That means any person living in that state. Any. All you need to qualify, is to live there. It doesn't break it down into those who have been invited and those who haven't.
   It says, "nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
   Strictly reading the words, for what they say and what they're worth, doesn't that give undocumented residents the right to remain? Doesn't it legalize them? "No state shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law."  Deporting folks is (surely), depriving them of liberty. Depriving them of simply existing on American soil is depriving them of life -- life here, anyway. 
  If you disagree, you are going to have to point out that the Fourteenth Amendment says life, liberty and property can be deprived through due process. I disagree with using that Due Process Clause to deport them. The Due Process Clause is for those accused of having done harm to society. Simply living and breathing on American soil is not a harmful thing. Existing on American soil is not a harm. If you are to use the Due Process Clause to deprive immigrants of their right to be here, you could also use it to deprive those who were born here of their right to be here. You could as well say, we will pass a law that we can deport any of our choice, even though they were born here -- and as long as you gave them due process, the law would be legal.
  My closer today, in this argument that the Fourth Amendment frees our undocumented residents, is to again point to the part of the amendment that says, "nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
   Any person living within the jurisdiction of a state, then, is entitled to the protection of that state. And, to what protection do we refer? The protection of rights and liberties, surely. 

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