Secession and Immigration: Who Should Be In Charge?

In light of the Arizona immigration bill just signed into law, I’ve had some thoughts about this whole issue. And grant me this: I’m no lawyer, but I am a thinker…and I can read. Hang with me as I chew this over.

Columnist Patrick J. Buchanan has a column in “Human Events” entitled Whose Country Is This? He asks a lot of questions, and pretty much blames President Obama and Washington for the mess at our borders.

But is it really THEIR fault that things are so horribly messed up?

That ragged, toothless old document, the US Constitution, authorizes Congress only one duty remotely related to immigration…with only seven words. Article I, Section 8 says: “(Congress shall have the power) To establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization.”

That’s it, friends and neighbors. There isn’t even a definition of the word “naturalization” in the Constitution. But generally speaking, naturalization is the acquisition of citizenship or nationality by somebody who was not a citizen or national of that country when he or she was born.

But that has NOTHING to do with immigration or securing borders against illegal immigration. Remember that not all that enter the USA WANT to become citizens. Some just want to live here.

The rule of naturalization, in its simplest form, would define which persons are eligible for citizenship, and the steps whereby they would become US citizens.

Beyond that, I cannot see any authorization for the United States to enact laws or enforce laws dealing with ANY persons entering any state legally or illegally. That would include those who enter any state legally but remain in the state after their legal immigration documents expire.

Seems to me that immigration laws are the purview of the states, since under 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.”

At first, immigration in America happened slowly. Historians estimate that under one million immigrants…perhaps as few as 400,000…came from Europe to the Americas during the 200 years after the settlement of Jamestown in 1607. But immigration began its long boom period around 1820. Between 1820 and 1860, over 5 million immigrants crossed the Atlantic.

And the flood of immigrants continued: in the 1860s, 2.3 million came; in the 1870s, 2.8 million came. Between 1880 and 1920, nearly 26 million men, women and children flocked to America.

All during these centuries, the Federal Government set no limitation on immigration. In fact, at least thirty states actively recruited overseas. Most of the barriers to immigration were set by European nations, not American states. For example, England prevented the emigration of skilled artisans until 1820. But soon, those barriers fell and foreign governments released their people to emigrate to America.

But in 1921, it came to an abrupt end. Congress bowed to pressure from those who had already immigrated and settled here to stem the tide of immigrants. Congress passed The Emergency Quota Act of 1921, a strict law based upon national origins, that limited immigration to no more than 150,000 entrants annually. This law favored immigration from those of British and European origin. This law was further tightened by the Immigration Act of 1924.

All during the period from 1776 to 1921, the Federal Government played almost no role in immigration, leaving the responsibilities to the states. In 1790, Congress had set a two-year residency requirement for naturalization…but it did not interfere with the rights of the states to accept as many immigrants as they desired. After Jefferson’s inauguration, the term of residency was set to five years, and remains the same to this day.

The Immigration and Nationality Act, or INA, was created in 1952. Before the INA, a variety of statutes governed immigration law but were not organized in one location. The McCarran-Walter bill of 1952, Public Law No. 82-414, collected and codified many existing provisions and reorganized the structure of immigration law. The Act has been amended many times over the years, but is still the basic body of immigration law.

Once again, seems to me that Congress has entirely overstepped their Constitutional authority and enacted law upon law upon law dealing with an issue that should be handled by each state.

What if Michigan decides that they want to increase the number of immigrants into their state? That should be their business alone. If neighboring Ohio doesn’t want immigrants and passes laws that effectively close its borders, so be it.

And the same thing should be happening at the border between Mexico and the Southwestern states, from the Pacific Ocean to the mouth of the Rio Grande in Texas. Each state should decide their own immigration policy, enact laws pertaining to it, and go about enforcing the law.

I know that present immigration woes are hopelessly intertwined with US drug policy and the stupidly-called “War on Drugs.” But acknowledging how the DC criminals have bungled many issues, costing billions of dollars and countless lives, only shows how much Americans need to separate themselves from Washington.

The schizophrenia of Washington is writ large in this issue. If Washington understood the Constitution, it could tell the states that immigration is their problem, thereby saving Washington jillions. But DC likes power and the jillions it takes to screw up immigration for all 50 states and the rest of the world. So DC muscles everyone like a mob enforcer.

So, to answer the title question: the 50 states all bear principal responsibility for the woeful immigration debacle in America today. If the states would have asserted their sovereignty over the last 160 years, they would control immigration and the DC criminals would have no voice whatsoever in the matter.

Any seceding state would instantly face immigration and naturalization issues. Why not start dropping off the shackles of DC tyranny NOW? If Arizona can tell Washington to go pound sand, why can’t the politicians in YOUR state do the same…even before secession? Even if you never want to secede?

I call on all 50 states to nullify ALL Federal immigration law beginning with the 1921 law, and all subsequent laws regarding immigration. Then the states can re-assume their sovereignty in this matter and pass their OWN laws.

Secession can cure all the terminal political illness of the United States. Who will be first?

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

© Copyright 2010, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

18 Responses to Secession and Immigration: Who Should Be In Charge?

  1. Dale says:

    Good piece – It does raise a couple of questions in my mind, however – not that you were making any attempt to present this a the TOTAL answer – One would be, say one is from Mexico – and Minnesota is welcoming Mexican immigration – however the states between the border and Minnesota are not – transiting the intervening states might pose an issue to be resolved. (wow suddenly that “trade corridor between Mexico and into Canada might well have a useful function) – would love to perhaps read what you think would be possible ways of addressing that issue. As I would rather see it addressed between the states and EVER allowing the Central Government to “help out” and handle it.
    One final thought – related to this and to the Arizona law – So we are violating some magic human right by wanted to control and stop the entrance of ILLEGAL ALIENS into this country .. and this “moral outrage” is going to be the pretext for lawsuits and these lame weekend protests … hmmm, interesting – that this country has immigration QUOTAS in place for countries and has had those quotas for decades and decades … and suspiciously no protests that I can recall have ever been mounted.

    • dumpdc says:

      Just offhand, seems to me if you have a visa from your national government or a passport, you should be able to move freely from one nation or state to another. Immigration is an entirely different matter. Last time I visited Panama, no immigration issues came up because I was just visiting. But if I apply for a work visa, or permanent residency, an entirely different set of considerations come into play. The free market should be allowed to work out the details of getting Mexicans to Minnesota.

      • Dale says:

        LOLOL, isn’t that a novel idea … people coming into this country – to visit – to settle — LEGALLY – with a passport or visa … what will they think of next.

  2. Dale says:

    The premise of the piece was so correct – IT IS THE STATES who should decide.

  3. Lauren says:

    The Constitution states that the federal government has the responsibility to protect the states from foreign invasion. Illegal immigrants are considered so.

    • dumpdc says:

      Immigrants are only considered invaders by those willing to pervert both the definition of the word and the spirit and intent of the Framers of the Constitution.

  4. Glimmer says:

    What if the states refused to recognize legal citizenship of those immigrants who were made U.S. citizens en masse and outside the proper order of doing so? Could they outlaw these people in their own states as illegals? Can the states restrict their residents to only their own state citizens and those living there by permission (assuming that state “citizenship” becomes more than squatter’s rights)?

  5. 15 Minutes of Fame says:

    This writer gets it dead on.

  6. raymond says:

    I think this issue on Immigration should be handled,by the states only!!!! Washington lacks legality to intervene,and should stay away!!!

  7. Pennsylvania WILL be first we are already started and moving forward.

  8. Scotty Covar says:

    Hey could I use some of the insight found in this blog if I provide a link back to your site?

  9. […] written recently HERE and HERE about the immigration issues plaguing Arizona. But even those articles don’t fix the problem. So, […]

  10. […] written recently HERE and HERE about the immigration issues plaguing Arizona. But even those articles don’t fix the problem. So, […]

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