By: Suzanne Sherman
On April 12, 2019, the Los Angeles Times published an article headlined “Trump Threatens to Dump Immigrants into California’s ‘Sanctuary Cities.” The article explains that the plan involves busing migrants held in detention centers near the border and releasing them into districts of Democratic lawmakers who oppose the president’s immigration policies.
Trump told reporters, “California certainly is always saying, ‘Oh, we want more people…and they want more people in their sanctuary cities. Well, we’ll give them more people. We can give them a lot. We can give them an unlimited supply. Let’s see if they’re so happy.”
There is nothing in these statements to leave anyone with the impression that Trump is concerned about the consequences or legality of this proposal.
According to the Times, “It’s not clear what legal authority, if any, the government would have to transport detainees a long distance before releasing them.”
As I explained in a previous article, the federal government has no constitutional authority to declare whether immigrants are here legally or not, much less to bus people to other cities. Article I section 8, clause 4 of the United States Constitution empowers Congress to “establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.” Naturalization is the process by which an individual becomes a United States citizen. It has nothing to do with immigration – controlling who may or may not cross the country’s borders.
In Federalist #39, James Madison explained that establishing the Constitution would not be a national, but a federal act. What does this mean in terms of immigration? It means that the authority to control immigration rests with the states. The states should also be fiscally responsible for the consequences of their policies in this area.
People are confused because they mistakenly consider immigration and naturalization synonymous. Another source of confusion is an erroneous interpretation of the Supremacy Clause, found in Article VI of the Constitution, which states, in relevant part, that the Constitution, and the laws of the United States made in pursuance thereof are the supreme law of the land.
The Tenth Amendment says that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited to it by the States, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Accordingly, the power to determine immigration statuses and policy rests with the states. This administration has no authority to detain immigrants or bus detainees anywhere, let alone to the districts of political opponents.
Former President Obama was accused of abusing the system in the same manner, by using his refugee policy to plant Muslims in areas politically opposed to his administration. One of the consequences was the election of Democrat Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Michigan, a Somali who married her brother so she could stay in the United States.
Critics of the previous administration’s abuses are now applauding the abuses of the current administration, for purposes of payback and political one-upmanship. They find the president’s statements to be humorous, and at best, we are told not to take him too seriously.
Fear not, both sides of the issue can look to history as a precedent for this behavior.
On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which “freed” slaves. Thanks to this act, he is falsely hailed by the indoctrinated as “The Great Emancipator,” yet what has been taught as a humanitarian act was nothing more than a military tactic. First, Lincoln wanted to keep England out of the war, and from acknowledging the CSA as a belligerent nation. The second was the logical and likely intended outcome – slaves would revolt against their masters, meaning woman and children left home while the men fought. Slaves in States remaining in the Union were not affected, nor were slaves in the South in areas of federal control; any State rejoining the Union within 100 days would be allowed to keep their slaves.
United States immigration policies, particularly since 1965, have been aimed at shifting political dynamics. Federal policies have, however, benefited one entity, and that is Big Government. The importation of people from third world countries has fundamentally changed the political climate, to the benefit of top-down central government the founders and ratifiers rejected.
Rather than seeing the current debacle as amusing a form of payback, no one seems to realize that actual human beings are affected. We have dehumanized real, living, breathing people for political theater. Obama brought migrants IN to benefit his policy objectives; Trump is advocating keeping them OUT to keep his campaign promises. Trump cannot, in good faith, argue that these immigrants are a danger to society, and subsequently threaten to relocate them as punishment into communities not supportive of his political policy objectives.
Ignored completely is the system put into place when the Constitution was ratified; a system to intended avoid this very crisis, yet we have sunk to new lows. Those who care not for the rule of law claim they are right and demand open borders; those citing the Constitution claim they are right, and demand the nation’s borders be shut down and illegals be removed. What both sides are guilty of is failing to understand the original intentions of the Constitution which was put in place to ensure that the states would be the ones to determine who would remain within their sovereign borders.
From Lincoln to present-day administrations, we are witness to the weaponization of marginalized classes of people for political gain. Those cheering this behavior on should take a hard look at the real issue and ask whether those who fought and died for our independence would wish they had simply stayed home.