Governors’ Threats to Exclude Syrian Refugees Are Not Only Fear Mongering — They’re Unconstitutional
Gee that desire to back the constitution sure does vary by amendment…
@CuriousLurker The most avoided question on the right-How many bad guys among refugees does it take to be willing to let the rest die? 1?— Daniel Ballard (@RW_Conspirator) November 19, 2015
1. The federal government decides who is admitted to this country, not the states.
For more than 75 years, the Supreme Court has made it clear that the federal government has fundamental control over establishing our national immigration policy and states cannot create a patchwork of different policies. Through the Refugee Act of 1980 — a law passed with wide bipartisan support — Congress reiterated that the federal government has the ultimate authority to handle refugees protected within our borders. Attempts by states in the past to regulate the entrance or residence of immigrants into their state have been struck down by the Supreme Court. States simply do not have veto power over the federal government’s admission and resettlement of Syrian refugees.
2. All legally admitted noncitizens are free to live in any state so long as they comply with any federal requirements.
In decisions stretching back 100 years, the Supreme Court has been clear: Once the federal government decides to admit an individual to the country, that person is free to live in any state in the union — without needing that state’s approval – so long as they comply with any federal immigration requirements. States cannot restrict the movement of Syrian refugees through the nation.
3. Discrimination on the basis of national origin or other protected characteristics is unconstitutional.
Under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, states generally cannot discriminate based on protected characteristics, such as race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, or alienage. “These factors [such as race, alienage, or national origin] are so seldom relevant to the achievement of any legitimate state interest that laws grounded in such considerations are deemed to reflect prejudice and antipathy,” the Supreme Court has explained, “a view that those in the burdened class are not as worthy or deserving as others.” Also, in the context of anti-Japanese sentiment during World War II, the Supreme Court rejected California’s attempts to discriminate in the granting of fishing licenses to certain immigrants, largely of Japanese descent. Therefore, states cannot decide to single out refugees on the basis of their nationality for exclusion or denial of particular benefits.