Foreigners have no right to emigrate to the United States. How many immigrants we want to take in, and who those immigrants should be, are issues decided by us in our sole discretion, through our political process. This has always been the law, and has always been the fact.
But there are ominous signs that the Democrats may be trying, surreptitiously, to effect a radical change in these basic principles of American sovereignty. Senator Pat Leahy proposed, in the Senate Judiciary Committee, an amendment to Title 18 of the U.S. Code, which provided as follows:
It is the sense of the Senate that the United States must not bar individuals from entering into the United States based on their religion, as such action would be contrary to the fundamental principles on which this Nation was founded.
Earlier today the Judiciary Committee passed the amendment on a 16-4 vote, with Senators Sessions, Cruz, Vitter and Tillis voting no. News accounts portray the vote as a symbolic repudiation of Donald Trump’s talk about excluding Muslim immigrants, and characterize the amendment as having little or no legal significance.
In fact, the amendment creates an extraordinarily dangerous precedent. If given legal effect, it would, for the first time, purport to create legally justiciable rights in foreign persons who want to enter the United States but are barred from doing so by our laws, or by a presidential proclamation under Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Naturalization Act. Jeff Sessions delivered a blistering denunciation of Leahy’s feel-good camel’s nose:
The adoption of the Leahy Amendment would constitute a transformation of our immigration system. In effect, it is a move toward the ratification of the idea that global migration is a “human right,” and a civil right, and that these so-called “immigrants’ rights” must be supreme to the rights of sovereign nations to determine who can and cannot enter their borders….
Fundamentally, foreign nationals living in foreign countries have no constitutional right to enter the United States. If they did, any alien denied entry could file suit to demand entry and claim damages for lost employment, lost welfare benefits, lost income…. The rules governing the selection of immigrants are, by definition, opposite the rules governing the treatment of citizens living or naturalized in the United States…. Our goal is to choose for admission those likeliest to succeed and flourish and, crucially, to support our Constitutional system of government and our values of pluralism and Republican governance.
As stated by the Supreme Court, quote, “Whatever the procedure authorized by Congress is, it is due process, as far as an alien denied entry is concerned”… What this amendment would do, would turn this fundamental principle on its head, and apply some of our core, legal, constitutional protections to foreign nationals with no tie to the United States. The natural extension of this concept would fundamentally undermine entire provisions of immigration law, and the results would quickly become radical if this principle were to be adopted.
The logical extension of this concept results in a legal regime in which the United States cannot deny an alien admission to the United States based on age, health, skill, family, criminal history, country of origin, and so forth….
If we say it is improper to consider religion – to even consider it – then that means it’s improper for a consular official to even ask about a candidate’s religious beliefs.
If Democrats wanted to destroy the United States, or transform our country into something unrecognizable, one of the first things they would do is to erode our ability to control our borders and determine who will be permitted to live here, and ultimately become voting citizens here. Today’s vote represents one more step in that direction.