Words mean things


Something of a re-hash of an older post, but tied to a recent FB discussion on the Constitutionality of Federal immigration laws. An argument was put forth that they are constitutional based on the "Guarantee Clause", which reads:

(Article IV, section 4)

"The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence."

So the pro-restriction argument is somehow linked to the notion that illegal immigration is akin to "invasion".

My response:

"What was the original public meaning or understanding of "invasion" at the time of ratification? Why has the Guarantee Clause only recently been invoked to "legitimize" our current immigration infrastructure when in ages past it's clearly aimed at a Federal military force and ensuring we have a federal republican form of government? (at least you didn't try to shoehorn art. 1 section 9 in there like David Oldham did that one time).

Before 1875, why did the States assume they were responsible for their own immigration laws? (Chy Lung v. Freeman said California's anti-Chinese immigration law was unconstitutional)

I'm not arguing the point over whether unrestricted immigration is good or bad: I'm arguing that if SCOTUS ruled California's law was unconstitutional on its application, they should have also been ruling the Chinese Exclusion Act unconstitutional. I'm arguing that the Founders who wrote the document passed laws in accordance with their limitations, such as the Naturalization Act.

I'm arguing words had meanings back then. I'm arguing for consistency in how we interpret the founding legal documents of our nation. We don't get to pick and choose how to interpret them based on whether we agree. For instance, you wouldn't say the General Welfare clause means that a UBI would be Constitutional, and conservatives generally think that the Commerce Clause has been mangled beyond recognition.

UNARMED people flocking to our borders from Mexico are no more an "invasion" than the millions of Irish who poured into this country in the 19th century. "

(end quote)

Open to a rational discussion on this, but the two arguments I've seen so far that purport to support the constitutionality of federal immigration laws are based on a weird interpretation of "Invasion" or even worse, "importation of Persons" from article I section 9 which dealt with the **slave trade** of all things.


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