Although to most it is considered common sense, the concept that well-defined and protected borders keeps our nation secure is still lost on some. Protecting American lives, property, culture, sovereignty, jobs, and resources are just some of the obvious benefits. Yet, as the anarchy-leaning, foreign and domestic enemies to our Constitution see the resurgence of effective law enforcement across America, the tired cries of Federal Supremacy versus State Sovereignty arguments begin to rear their ugly head.
While many point to Article I, Section 8, Clause 4 of the U.S. Constitution for the source of authority for immigration in general, this clause only grants authority to Congress “[t]o establish a uniform rule of naturalization…“. Webster’s original definition of “naturalization” in 1828 reads as follows: “The act of investing an alien with the rights and privileges of a native subject or citizen.” However, the acts of a) entering a country (with or without authorization), and b) being naturalized are very distinct. The correct source of authority for all immigration laws begins with the Law of Nations, written by Emer de Vattel in 1758 and is codified in our United States Constitution in Article I, Section 8, Clause 10 which reads “[t]he Congress shall have power to…define and punish …offenses against the law of nations“.
What does Vattel’s Law of Nations have to say about immigration?
“The sovereign may forbid the entrance of his territory either to foreigners in general, or in particular cases, or to certain persons, or for certain particular purposes, according as he may think it advantageous to the state. There is nothing in all this, that does not flow from the rights of domain and sovereignty: every one is obliged to pay respect to the prohibition; and whoever dares to violate it, incurs the penalty decreed to render it effectual. But the prohibition ought to be known, as well as the penalty annexed to disobedience: those who are ignorant of it, ought to be informed of it when they approach to enter the country. Formerly the Chinese, fearing lest the intercourse of strangers should corrupt the manners of the nation, and impair the maxims of a wise but singular government, forbade all people entering the empire: a prohibition that was not at all inconsistent with justice, provided they did not refuse humane assistance to those whom tempest or necessity obliged to approach their frontiers. It was salutary to the nation, without violating the rights of any individual, or even the duties of humanity, which permit us, in case of competition, to prefer ourselves to others.” –Law of Nations, Book II, Section 94
And as a reminder, Article VI, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution states:
“This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.”
So, the next time you hear someone say that enforcing immigration laws is unjust, unfair, inhumane, or not governed by federal law, kindly let them know that not only is it fair, just, humane, and Constitutionally an enumerated authority granted to Congress by the Constitution, but that it has also been affirmatively asserted by the internationally community since at least 1758!