It seems like it was a lifetime ago that I began writing these commentaries, and when I first began there were two subjects that I focused 99% of my attention upon – illegal immigration and the 2nd Amendment. My position on the 2nd Amendment has varied little over the course of the last 20 some odd years; I believe the 2nd Amendment gives me the right to keep AND bear arms; end of story. I don’t believe I need a background check, a permit, or be required to pay a fee to purchase, own, or carry the firearm of my choice.
However my position on the strict enforcement of federal immigration law has changed somewhat, and it is upon this subject that I wish to devote my attention to for the remainder of this article.
For a very long time I was a strict proponent of the enforcement of federal immigration law; now my position has changed on that as I don’t believe the federal government, under the Constitution, has the authority to enact immigration law. Now before everyone goes ballistic and starts saying that I’ve gone off the deep end, let me clarify that. I’m not saying we should just open our doors for anyone to come live here, I’m only saying that that way I currently understand the Constitution, as written, the federal government does not have the authority to enact a single law regarding who can enter these States united.
Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution is where the legislative powers delegated to Congress can be found, and in Clause 4 of that section we read that among the powers delegated to Congress was the power, “To establish a uniform rule of naturalization.” It does not say immigration and naturalization, only naturalization.
Immigration and naturalization are two distinct and separate issues, and if Congress was delegated with the authority to establish a uniform rule of naturalization, then according to the 10th Amendment, the power over deciding immigration policy was to remain with the individual States.
You see, immigration is when a person decides to relocate from one country to another, and naturalization is when that person decides, or is allowed, to become a citizen of that country. So you see, there is a big difference between the two, and the federal government was only delegated the power to establish a uniform rule of NATURALIZATION.
Look at it this way. Let’s say I decided to become a foster parent and bring a child into my home. That child is similar to an immigrant in that they are living in my home but they are not a member of the Ross family. If I decide to adopt that child it is akin to naturalization in that I am making that child a permanent member of my family. Immigrants may come to live here, but they don’t become Americans until they have become naturalized and are granted citizenship.
To understand this more fully one has to look at the States from the same perspective someone living before the Constitution was ratified looked at them. Back then they did not look at the States as part of a nation; they believed the State WAS their nation, and that they had only formed a simple Confederacy for certain common needs, with each State retaining all the sovereign powers of any other nation upon the planet other than those strictly prohibited by the Articles of Confederation.
Back then the Congress could no more tell the people of Delaware or Virginia who could come live within their borders than it could have told France or Spain who could migrate to live within their borders. The only reason Clause 4 of Article 1, Section 8 was put into the Constitution was because each State had different rules regarding the naturalization of immigrants.
Some States allowed immigrants to become citizens after a very short period of residency, while others required that an immigrant spend a much longer time living there before they would be allowed to become a citizen. Clause 4 of Article 1, Section 8 only sought to make the naturalization process UNIFORM throughout the States; it had no effect upon the immigration policies of the individual States.
A great deal of the confusion arises over how people view citizenship. If you were to be asked what your citizenship was, most likely you would say that you were a citizen of the United States. However, if you were to ask someone living in the late 1700’s thru the mid 1800’s what their citizenship was, they would tell you that they were a citizen of the State they resided in. In fact, the term citizen of the United States did not make its appearance on the stage until after the Civil War when the 14th Amendment was unlawfully forced upon the defeated Southern States as a condition upon their re-entry into the Union under the Reconstruction Acts.
The relevant text from the 14th Amendment states, “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. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States…”
If you read that carefully you will see that it clearly says that there are two classes of citizenship; United States citizen and citizenship of the State wherein the person resides. The intent of the 14th Amendment, or at least the one the people were told about, was to grant some form of citizenship status upon the newly freed slaves. As they held no legal status under the Constitution, the 14th Amendment was said to grant them the same status as everyone else…or at least that’s what people were told; but the truth about the 14th Amendment is a subject for another day and another article.
We need to examine what the 14th Amendment supposedly did before I can move on to the next aspect of this commentary. According to Black’s Law Dictionary (6th Edition), “The Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, ratified in 1868, creates or at least recognized for the first time a citizenship of the United States, as distinct from that of the states…”
In 1872 the court clearly held that the 14th Amendment DID NOT apply to any white men/women living in the United States, “No white person born within the limits of the United States and subject to their jurisdiction…owes his status of Citizenship to the recent amendments to the Federal Constitution.” (Van Valkenburg v. Brown, 1872)
The fact that most people today call themselves United States citizens is merely a testimony to their indoctrination at the hands of those we call educators; for in truth they are citizens of their State of residency and members, not citizens of a union of States.
So that leaves the deciding of who can enter each State up to the States; and even then I have heard that to deny anyone entry into any of the States the comprise this Union is to deny the principle of individual liberty; as that implies that all men are free to travel to, and live anyplace they desire. Is that so? Then if those people feel that strongly about it, why don’t they open their doors and let the poor and needy live in their home; why don’t they provide sustenance and safety for all those who cannot, or are unwilling to provide it for themselves?
I think that there have to be some limits imposed upon who should be allowed to enter these States united if we are to survive as a land based upon the principles it was founded upon. In Federalist #2 John Jay wrote, “With equal pleasure I have as often taken notice that Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people–a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence.” (My emphasis)
If you disregard that, and let just anyone come into this country, then you will begin to see the principles this country was founded upon eroded until they are no longer meaningful; which is something I believe has intentionally been allowed to happen. If you believe in open borders and no restrictions upon travel between countries, then you don’t believe in the idea of sovereign nations and are, in fact, a globalist who should have no problem with the idea of a single and all powerful one world government as well. You can’t have both; either you believe in the sovereignty of a nation, and its ability to restrict entry of undesirable people into it, or you believe that no nation is sovereign and that people should be free to travel between countries like nomads without restriction.
I think the fact that the federal government has assumed the authority, or maybe usurped it would be a better word, is just one small instance of said government usurping powers that were supposed to be left to the States to regulate and exercise. But how did it come to pass that the government assumed that power which, at one time, had been reserved to the States? Well, it came about in 1786 when the Supreme Court handed down their decision on the case of Chy Lung v. Freeman.
Back in the mid to late 1800’s California had enacted what they called Coolie Laws regarding the immigration of Chinese citizens into their State. Taxes were imposed on those who used Chinese laborers within California, and more importantly, Chinese immigrants could be denied entry for a wide variety of reasons. One such immigrant was Chy Lung, a young woman out of a group of 22 who had come to California to live and seek work.
Chy Lung arrived in San Francisco in 1785 aboard the steamer Japan; something I find ironic, a Chinese steamboat named Japan-but that’s neither here nor there for the purpose of my narrative. The immigration commissioner at the port of entry declared Chy Lung, and the other women, were lewd and debauched, (possibly meaning he probably assumed they would end up becoming prostitutes), so he denied them entry. The captain of the steamboat had the option of paying $500 per woman as a bond which would have allowed them to disembark, but he refused to pay it; so the women were confined to the ship.
The women sued on a Writ of Habeas Corpus and won, and were allowed to disembark the ship where they were held until they could be deported back to China. They then challenged the deportation order and their case was shot down in the California courts. They appealed to the Supreme Court, and the SCOTUS heard the case and overturned the decision and allowed them to stay in California.
It is not the fate of Chy Lung and the other women that is of importance though, it is the justification used by the SCOTUS for rendering that decision. The justification for the Court’s decision was basically as follows.
The powers which had been delegated to the commissioner were such so as to bring the United States directly into conflict with the nations whose citizens it was exercised upon; in this instance, meaning China; and those powers only belonged to the federal government. The SCOTUS also held that the States did retain the right to deny entry to those who were diseased, or criminals, but did not extend to any other class of people to come here and hold personal and commercial intercourse with the people of the United States. Finally, they held that the California statute extended far beyond the necessity for which the right to regulate immigration was founded, and invaded the right of Congress to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and therefore the California statute was void.
On that date, March 20, 1876, the Supreme Court took away a State’s the ability to decide for itself who could and who could not enter into it and handed that authority over to the federal government; adding immigration to the power of making uniform rules of naturalization found in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4 of the Constitution.
Yet is not the Supreme Court part of the federal government, having been delegated its authority by Article 3 of the Constitution? Therefore how can any part of the federal government decide the extent of the overall powers held by that government without it being considered usurpation?
In 1798 Thomas Jefferson wrote of this very principle in the Kentucky Resolutions, “That the several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes — delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force … that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers…”
The case of Chy Lung v. Freeman is a perfect example as to why Jefferson both feared and despised the judicial power of the Supreme Court. In an 1819 letter to Spencer Roane, Jefferson wrote, “Our Constitution . . . intending to establish three departments, co-ordinate and independent that they might check and balance one another, it has given—according to this opinion to one of them alone the right to prescribe rules for the government of others; and to that one, too, which is unelected by and independent of the nation. . . . The Constitution, on this hypothesis, is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please.”
The problem, at least as I see it, is regardless of whether it is the federal government or the State governments that decide immigration law, the people of this country have this misguided belief that we should just open our arms to any and all who want to come here, for whatever reasons they have for doing so.
What if a country does not believe in the principles of individual liberty and we begin allowing people from that country to flood into ours; what becomes of the principles this country was founded upon?
What if people come here from countries as refugees after their houses were bombed into oblivion by weapons provided by our government to theirs, or by wars we have fought against them? Don’t you think there might be just a little bit of resentment towards the country responsible for forcing them to seek refugee status outside their native country, and that they may want to someday retaliate for perceived injustices?
What about those who bring crime to this country or who come here to mooch off the many social service programs we offer with no concern for the fact that they are placing burdens upon an unconstitutional and already overstressed system?
The problem these days is that we have forgotten what true freedom entails, and we think that the government should be there to catch us if we fall; or provide for us if we fail. When the first settlers came here there was no welfare, no welcoming committee to great them; they either lived or died by their own resourcefulness and willingness to work towards their own survival. The waves of immigrants that came here later were the same; they came for the opportunity to succeed – not for the promise of benefits and subsidies.
I hate to say this, but now many of those, not all, but many come here only for the promise of benefits, not because they love the freedom that America offers. Some bring with them beliefs and ideologies that are toxic to the concept of individual liberty; and are we just supposed to welcome them into our country with open arms, hoping that they someday change their beliefs to conform to the principles this country was founded upon?
Gee, I’ve been writing these articles directed towards people who were born here and should have understood the concept of individual liberty, and they haven’t had much success in changing how people view the purpose of government and their desire to defend their liberty from attack by their own government. So why in the world would they think that people whose cultures run counter to our beliefs are going to miraculously change those beliefs the moment they enter the U.S., or have lived here for a few years?
This is just my personal opinion, but I think that for a very long time there has been this move to undermine the belief in individual liberty and that it has taken a two pronged attack to do so. First they have sought to erase the teaching of liberty in our schools; to be replaced by the concept of loyalty and allegiance to the state, while at the same time opening the door for immigrants who do not share our belief system.
That may not sit too well with some people, but as long as there is a First Amendment I am free to say whatever I want; and to hell with political correctness! I am glad to discuss the issue with anyone, but the moment someone starts tossing out terms like racist, xenophobic, or anything of similar nature I’m inclined to believe that they have no facts to support their position, and insults and slurs are all their emotionally based beliefs can come up with.
I think America is in serious trouble. We have generation upon generation of people living here who have not been taught the true meaning of liberty, and it shows by what they expect of their government and who they vote for at the polls. We also have allowed people to enter into this country who do not share our beliefs about liberty, and the more of them we allow to enter into this country the stronger their political voice will become.
That does not bode well for liberty, and the few remaining people in whose heart beats the same spirit of liberty that led our ancestors to fight the British so that they could be free from tyrants. I fear the time is coming, and maybe faster than some realize, that the two forces, (those who love and cherish liberty and those who seek to deny it) will come into open conflict with each other. The signs are all there for those willing enough to but open their eyes and see it.
I suppose the only real question worth asking is, which side will prevail? Will those who believe that our rights come from our Creator, and that government exists to preserve those rights come out on top, or will those who love an all powerful government that provides for their every need replace the one that was promised to those who ratified the Constitution back in 1789?
I suppose only the future can tell, but in the meantime I’ll be here, rattling cages and trying to get people to think for themselves instead of relying upon the garbage they have been taught, and what they see and hear on their TV’s.
The truth is out there, and it only takes a willing mind to go out and find it.