Skip to main content

Republicans should leave immigration alone, focus on Obamacare

Written By | Jan 31, 2014

WASHINGTON, January 31, 2014 — The immigration debate is about one thing, and one thing only: increasing the number of Democratic voters.

Historically, Republicans attract between 25 and 35 percent of the Hispanic vote. Amnesty, or providing citizenship to illegal aliens, would produce an almost immediate influx of tens of millions of Hispanic voters who would guarantee that there would not be another Republican president for a very long time, if ever.  

In order to cater to the demands of Big Business, which wants to keep illegal aliens in America for the cheap labor supply, Republicans have decided to take the focus off of Obamacare and the awful economy Obama’s policies have produced. The will now focus on passing a bill that will give Democrats exactly what they want: full blown amnesty for illegals, which regardless of Republican intentions will end in citizenship.

While neither the Senate ‘Gang of Eight’ bill, nor the outline of the House Republican immigration plan includes a provision for amnesty or citizenship, the Democrats will pass any bill that includes any sort of legal status for illegal aliens. Democrats know that regardless of what kind of second-class status Republicans confer on illegal aliens, every one of them can quickly, and most likely prior to the 2016 presidential election, be transformed into a full citizen. The Supreme Court will guarantee that, and it would be right to do so.

The United States Constitution does not allow Congress to categorize groups of people as second-class citizens. The Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution 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.”

The phrase “any person” is used twice in that clause. The Constitution is deliberate about distinguishing which rights it confers only on citizens, and which rights apply to every person within the jurisdiction of the United States. The Equal Protection clause could not be clearer; it applies to all people within the jurisdiction of the United States.

If the Supreme Court wanted, it could stop its analysis right there, ruling that making people who are legally in America “registered provisional immigrants” for ten years, as the Senate bill does, would deprive them of their liberty. The government will  have to come up with a new set of laws that will apply only to the “registered provisional immigrants,” while another set of laws applies to American citizens. That sounds much like segregation. Brown v. Board of Education swept away “separate but equal” 60 years ago.

Other Supreme Court decisions affirm that making illegal aliens second-class citizens is unconstitutional. In its 1886 decision on Yick Wo v. Hopkins, the court ruled that the Equal Protection Clause applied to foreign nationals, and that the equal protection clause requires that equal laws be applied to all people in America.“These principles (in the Equal Protection clause) are universal in their application, to all persons within the territorial jurisdiction, without regard to any differences of race, of color, or of nationality; and the equal protection of the laws is a pledge of the protection of equal laws.”

In Plyler v. Doe, the Court ruled that illegal aliens are entitled to a free public education. In Boumedienne v. Bush, the Court extended the right to file a writ of habeas corpus to terrorists being detained at Guantanamo Bay, all of whom were non-citizens and not even in the United States.

The Court has repeatedly shown in the past that in certain circumstances, the Justices work backwards; without consideration for the Constitution, they begin with the outcome they want and find some — any — legal reasoning to support that decision. For example, the 5-4 decision in the National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, which held that Obamacare was fully constitutional, made absolutely no sense. Ultimately it upheld Obamacare as constitutional based on an argument that the Obama administration didn’t even make in oral arguments; that the individual mandate was a tax, not a penalty.

Considering the evidence, regardless of which perspective a justice may take — interpretation of the actual text of the Constitution or reliance on precedential case law — the same conclusion is ultimately reached: The Constitution does not allow Congress to designate tens of millions of people as second-class citizens. It is degrading and embarrassing even to offer people such a status. The court will be right when it turns any bill that includes the creation of a second class citizenry and dictates a new set of laws that apply only to that group into full blown amnesty.

Republicans ought to wait until a president who follows and enforces the law, even ones he doesn’t agree with and that may not benefit his party, is in office to do anything about immigration. They should keep the focus squarely on Obamacare, because it is only going to get worse. Instead, like clockwork, they will give Obama and Harry Reid exactly what they want: full blown amnesty for all the illegals currently here and all of their immediate family members via our awful chain-migration policy.

If this happens, it will be the end of the Republican Party’s chances to ever win the presidency. If a bill including some form of legal status for illegal aliens passes this year, the case will be heard by the Supreme Court before 2016, and Democrats will have tens of millions of new voters just in time for the next presidential election.

James Richard

James Edwards is a tireless advocate for federalism and minimizing the impact the federal government has on all of our lives.