This crisis is due in large part to a failure of Congress to exercise some of its enumerated powers.
Open access migration has a number of dangers for our Union, including the unwanted introduction of disease and violence (criminal and terrorist), depletion of resources, and depression of jobs and wages for citizens and legal residents.
However, as with many political issues, things are not really what they appear to be. The root cause is not immigration but control and cultural change. The current agenda of today’s Progressives and Globalists is to destroy American exceptionalism and culture by flooding the union with people that do not share our culture and values, and to do it with such rapidity as to prevent the necessary assimilation which previously resulted in a prosperous “Melting Pot” effect.
It is truly a crisis. There is, however, a Constitution Solution. The problems are separate but related: immigration and naturalization.
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4 of the Constitution clearly states that “Congress shall have the power to establish an uniform rule of naturalization…” To turn off the “magnet” that draws uninvited migrants, Congress needs to rewrite the naturalization laws to make the rules very specific, with significant negative reinforcement for violations. For example, it could be stated that citizenship or legal residence status could only be granted if very specific protocols were followed with respect to visa acquisition and Port of Entry rules. Violators would never be eligible for legal status or citizenship if the protocols were not strictly followed. There would be immediate deportation, and no more catch and release. The category of Asylum has been so abused as to render its further use obsolete.
Why did the framers include naturalization in the enumerated powers of Congress? It was because, in the period from Independence to constitutional ratification, there was such discord among the States as to the definition of citizenship. Centralization of that power was felt to be the only answer.
What about immigration? Clause 4 uses no such word. It must be assumed, following the dictates of the 10th Amendment, that immigration is a power reserved to the individual States. Constitution scholars actively argue on both sides of this issue. Some maintain that Article 1, Section 9, Clause 1, the so-called “Migration and importation of persons” Clause, prohibits Congress from regulating such activity prior to 1808. Others, including Madison (who actually composed most of the document), expounded in Federalist 42, that the clause was a euphemism for slavery, and that it was not meant to “prevent voluntary and beneficial emigrations from Europe to America.”
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 10 specified that “ Congress shall have power to define and punish offenses against the law of Nations.” The framers had great reference for certain philosophers, and one work they often cited was the “Law of Nations” by Emer de Vattel (1758). An exhaustive reference, it mentions the duties and responsibilities of sovereigns toward citizens, immigrants, and travelers. This would imply an argument in favor of Congressional input on immigration. Vattel also had much to say about birthright citizenship. Citizenship, he maintained, followed the parents, not the soil.
If taken literally, the existence of 50 separate immigration policies could lead to such discord and friction as to literally threaten the existence of our Union. However, members of Congress need to keep in mind that their prime directive is to judge legislation not on its utility, but rather on its constitutionality. What is easy, convenient, and popular is not always the correct decision.
It will take wisdom and virtue on the part of Congressional members to thread this very fine needle. It may require a Constitutional amendment to add the word “immigration” to Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4.
Lastly, what about “The Wall”? That is, actually, not much of an issue. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 states that “Congress shall have power to regulate commerce with foreign Nations…” So, if Congress authorizes a wall and appropriates funds for its construction, then the executive is to see that it is built. This would be for the purpose of regulation of commerce with foreign Nations. Congress must protect the Union and its citizens and do its job! If Congress is not doing its job, then it is a time for change.