On the website of Norma Torres, a Democrat member of the United States Congress from Southern California, is an article bragging about the Congressional Central America Caucus meeting with Juan Orlando Hernandez, the President of Honduras. The purpose of the meeting was to followup regarding a letter signed by 77 other Members of Congress calling on President Obama to grant Temporary Protected Status to individuals from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala who are now in the United States illegally.
The Congressional Central America Caucus was founded by Representative Torres on February 24, 2016. It currently consists of 34 Members of Congress and is co-Chaired by Representative David Valadao (R-CA).
A reader of Political Pistachio sent me the information, and asked if there is a constitutional argument that can be used in response to what Torres and her cohorts are doing.
Before I answer whether or not the federal government's refugee program is constitutional or not, let's get a full overview of the issue of immigration so that we are fully informed when I get to the answer of the question.
When asked about the U.S. Constitution and Immigration, we first want to go to Article I, Section 8, Clause 4 where the Constitution gives the power to Congress "To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization." This clause gives Congress the authority to ensure that the rules for naturalization are uniform in all of the States. While reasoning that Constitutional authority over naturalization exists for the U.S. Congress, it does not necessarily mean they have all authorities regarding the immigration issue. Immigration is a concurrent issue, meaning that both the States, and the federal government, have certain authorities regarding it. Since Congress does have the authority to ensure there are uniform rules for naturalization, it would make sense that the U.S. Constitution allows Congress to also determine how the immigrants can come into our country in the first place, or at least who they can reject certain persons by rule of law.
Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the authority to "prohibit" the "migration... of such Persons" with legislation. Notice, there is no authority to force the States to accept any particular persons. Congress has exercised the authority to prohibit persons from entering the country a number of times. In particular, during World War II legislation was passed to prohibit Germans, Italians and Japanese from immigrating into the United States. The United States was not being insensitive, or racist. We were at war with the countries these people were coming from, so it made sense. Simply put, we were unable to, through vetting, to truly separate the good from the bad. It might be interesting to note that both houses of Congress during that time period had a Democrat majority, and President Roosevelt was also a Democrat.
Democrat President Jimmy Carter also signed a bill restricting immigration. In his case, it was people from Iran during the Iran Hostage Crisis.
Article IV, Section 4 reads: "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 be convened) against
The question that arises, then, is whether or not illegal immigration is an invasion, and does the
influx of illegal aliens lead to domestic violence in the States?
The American Heritage College Dictionary defines "invade" as:
1. To enter by force in order to conquer
2. To encroach or intrude on; violate.
3. To overrun as if by invading; infest.
4. To enter and permeate, especially harmfully.
In the same dictionary the third definition of "invasion" reads: "An intrusion or encroachment."
By entering illegally, which means the potential immigrants broke American immigration laws, illegal aliens are entering by force, and are violating the laws to do so. Illegal entry into the United States, especially by specific groups, falls clearly within the realm of invasion.
If Article IV, Section 4 tasks the federal government with protecting the States against invasion then it is the duty of the federal government to protect and secure the borders, and to not invite members of enemy factions into the country through any special programs. It is also the federal government's job to ensure only people who have properly navigated the immigration process enter this country.
The reasons behind the authorities given to Congress and the federal government that they must "prohibit" such persons, and secure the border are because it is the federal government's job to protect Americans from an invading force, or persons who may seek to cause harm to our country. Yet, as shown by the Members of the Congressional Central America Caucus who have been meeting so that they may grant Temporary Protected Status to individuals from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala in the United States, these Congressional members are not seeking to protect the American public by prohibiting persons from coming into this country who may pose a danger, but instead are encouraging those people to come to the country, and are doing it without the consent of the States (which ranks among the reasons the 17th Amendment has been so dangerous), and without consideration of the danger these persons may pose to our society.
In fact, the actions by the Congressional Central America Caucus could be considered treasonous, since, if illegal aliens are indeed an invading force, and gangsters and terrorists may be mixed into the population of those being welcomed, these Congress-critters are giving the enemy "aid and comfort" (Article III, Section 3).
Not all aliens from Central America seeking refugee status are Central Americans. Among those seeking to cross into the United States are sleeper terrorists, drug cartel associates, and other persons who seek to destroy the United States.
The reality is, whether our government is willing to recognize it or not, we are in a war against terrorism committed by the Islamic Jihad, and we are in a war with the drug cartels who have been threatening to spread their madness into our country. Also, in reference to what the Congressional Central America Caucus is doing, and sanctuary cities for that matter, U.S. Code, sections 1324 and 1325 considers it a felony to be "concealing, harboring, or sheltering illegal aliens," as well as violating the Immigration and Naturalization Act sections 274 and 275 which reads similarly. Illegal entry into the United States - entry without inspection - is a misdemeanor, according to INA section 275, (8 USC Section 1324). Repeated illegal entry is a felony.
Are the entry into this country by people being shipped in by the federal government, and encouraged by groups like the Congressional Central America Caucus, accompanied by proper administrative processes including a complete immigration inspection?
Furthermore, the federal government is not specifically authorized regarding the administration of these persons once they are within the borders of any particular State. Prior to the Constitution, the States held all authorities on all issues. Amendment 10 states that if an authority is not granted to the federal government, nor prohibited to the States, it's a State issue, and a State responsibility. Therefore, once an alien is inside a State, if that person is not a citizen, the State has the authority to administer as it sees fit regarding that person. And, if the State wishes to refuse the person from being a part of their population, the State has that authority.
A person who disagrees with my assessment may argue that Article IV, Section 2 and the 14th Amendment both require all persons to be treated equally, entitling them to all privileges and immunities. When these folks argue that point with me, I carefully point out that the clauses specifically apply to "citizens," as is carefully articulated in each of the two clauses.
I get it. We hear it all the time. We are all descendants of immigrants. I believe that the strength of this country is largely derived from the fact that we are a melting pot. However, immigration with the purpose of following the law, and going through the proper administrative processes because the immigrant wishes to assimilate into the American culture is one thing; purposeful violation of the law by crossing the border illegally or being shipped in under the guise of being a refugee is a crime against the U.S. Constitution no matter how you slice it. For the federal government to encourage such behavior, and even assist that kind of behavior, is unacceptable. The United States prides itself in being a nation that follows the rule of law, and to pick and choose which laws to follow, or to ignore the Constitutional authorities given to the federal government and to refuse to protect this nation against invasion is, in a word, irresponsible - and in some circles may be considered treasonous. The Founding Fathers would certainly think so, anyway.
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