Tags: Immigration | citizenship | states rights

Is Citizenship A Matter of States' Rights?

By    |   Sunday, 02 Aug 2015 10:46 AM

In recent years, legislation has been proposed to allow states to grant citizenship to immigrants, citing states’ rights.

According to Guardian Liberty Voice
, the benefits and opportunities that would be granted to immigrants-turned-state-citizens in these types of bills could lead to such legislation being challenged in the court system, especially with the lack of precedent.

Many in favor of these forms of laws, however, argue it is within states’ rights for them to grant citizenship.

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Al Jazeera cites the 1856 Dred Scott decision, arguing while Dred Scott, a slave, was considered a citizen in Missouri, he was not a citizen of the United States. This decision, then, could provide the possibility for state citizenship.

At the time of that Supreme Court decision, however, slaves had legal residency in the United States. Illegal immigrants currently do not.

New York assemblyman Fransisco Moya said in a statement that DREAM Act legislation, which would provide amnesty to undocumented aliens, must first be passed.

“Only once the DREAM Act is passed, can we begin to examine opportunities for additional rights expansions for New York’s immigrants,” Moya said in the release, according to the Queens Chronicle.

Nonetheless, many still argue the duality in governmental structures provides for the opportunity for states to recognize who within their bounds can be considered a citizen.

It’s “exercising a firmly established, constitutionally enshrined authority of the state to determine the boundaries of its own political community,” Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law professor Peter Markowtiz told Bloomberg.

The 14th Amendment contains the citizenship clause, detailing all citizens born or naturalized in the country and subject to the U.S. rule of law are citizens of both the nation and the state in which they live, but does not detail who naturalizes citizens.

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Additionally, the amendment only restricts states from abridging citizens’ rights.

Article I Section 8 of the Constitution, however, permits Congress to create “an uniform Rule of Naturalization.” If the states’ legislation is contradictory to the federal rules, the laws may not hold up in court.

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In recent years, legislation has been proposed to allow states to grant citizenship to immigrants, citing states' rights.
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2015-46-02
Sunday, 02 Aug 2015 10:46 AM
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