The United States has faced significant pressure to amend policies on immigration issues since the Obama administration. America, under President Trump, is dealing with the issue of immigrants attempting to seek economic asylum in the United States. Among the Trump Administration’s agendas are border security and the reduction of undocumented immigrants in America. This strategy under President Trump’s attempt to restore America to its political glory as a social, political, and economic giant in the West leaves out the issue of the ‘dreamers’ who were born and raised in the United States and would seek equal opportunity to demand their rights and freedoms as law abiding citizens.
The safeguards held within the 14th Amendment do not provide significant precedence for how the immigrants should be treated constitutionally especially on issues of attaining resident status.
The 14th amendment protects the rights and freedoms of citizens, and is exempt from being superseded by the Equal Protection, Due Process, and Privileges and Immunities clauses that deal with state regulation of the rights and freedoms of state residency.
The Equal Protection clause holds that all individuals have the assurance that similar security of laws shared by others in similar conditions. The Due Process under the 14th Amendment states that the protections within the American Constitution and practiced by the national government and States should adhere. The Privileges or Immunities Clause under Section 1 of this amendment restricts state laws which reduce the rights and freedoms of American residents (Chemerinsky, E 128).
These were some of the Constitutional holdings cited in a decision betweenin the legal case Plessy v. Fergusson (1896). Where an appeal was filed challenging the State of Louisiana’s 1890 statute requiring every railway company transporting passengers in their coaches in Louisiana to create similar but distinct lodgings for Caucasian and passengers categorized as people of color. This attempt at segregation required African Americans to be conditioned to adhere to the law and occupy seats in their designated racial areas, be they partitioned or separate coaches. The preliminary case which involved Plessy, the defendant, a seven-eighths Caucasian with white pigmentation, being denied a seat in an all-white railroad car and found him guilty. The trial court decided that the statute provided a rational application of the state’s law enforcement strength on matters of practice, utility, and institution in the state. ¶The only opposing verdict of the case came from Justice Harlan who observed that the separation of residents on racial grounds on a public highway has no legal backing. How did Harlan interpret the 14th Amendment? ¶In Korematsu v. United States, the defendant, an American citizen of Japanese descent was sentenced for violating exclusion order No. 34; a decree during the Second World War requiring all individuals of Japanese ancestry to leave the military region of Western America. Korematsu, who stayed in the San Leandro military zone of California in 1942, when a commanding General ordered their removal for national security reasons demonstrates an Equal Protection Clause case protected under the Constitution’s 14th Amendment. The verdict passed upheld the eviction and exclusion of the defendant from military activity following support by Congress. The verdict held that exclusion on such grounds was racially biased holding, however, that during periods of war the military should be accorded significant reverence with military claims and should have reasonable judicial grounds. Furthermore, a Civil Court should not be permitted to mandate an order that violates constitutional limitations despite the presence of reasonable military power activity. The grounds for a direct, inevitable and approaching danger held as reasons for not holding the Civilian Exclusion Order true to the Equal Protection Clause (Chemerinsky, E 128, 211, 206).
These reconstruction era cases such as Plessy v. Ferguson reveal a pattern of lawmaking about the 14th Amendment that applies in defining contemporary immigration policies (Jones, M.S.). The issue of immigrants as per such cases would be on the rights of Immigrants who obtain citizenship gaining the ability to demand their rights to equal opportunity in the workplace and society. These residents who are employed within the American job market and pay taxes similar to other citizens can be said to be in a social contract with the State and would be obligated to live within the confines of statutes and the Constitution to enjoy individual rights and freedoms (Contreras, R. L.). Each State, especially those with a higher proportion of undocumented immigrants would be expected to pass statutes that protects these rights and freedoms while providing reasonable restrictions that require them to be identified as and enjoy similar rights to citizens. However, this would require a national motion for a comprehensive immigration issues bill.
The issue of immigrant rights also integrates with other policies such as gun control and military recruitment requirements. This need to amend immigration policies affects the future of lawmaking with clearly defined grounds for a living providing precedence for possible obstruction of rights towards immigrants. This shift does not come unobstructed as even former slaves, and African Americans faced subsequent struggles in seeking their civil rights. The Fourteenth Amendment also provides a safeguard for the right to speak freely and not be punished or intimidated by the State (Wood, J). Therefore, these immigrant residents would be able to gain these among other rights such as the right to bear arms and to enroll for military service against a country of their ancestry. This is on the condition that the national government passes comprehensive immigration issue policies outlining conditions for residents to acquire citizenship in the United States.