immigration and the US Constitution

The US Constitution in our lives- WHICH PARTS RELATE TO IMMIGRATION? Notes from my personal research project include the relevant constitution articles, who has the power to change immigration, and a bit about how we got to the massive immigration numbers in now (2009).

Article I Section 2 Clause 3: “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”
Note: modified by section 2 of the 14th amendment.
AMENDMENT XIV -Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868.Section Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2.
Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age,* and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
– Census data are used to distribute Congressional seats to states, to make decisions about what community services to provide, and to distribute $300 billion in federal funds to local, state and tribal governments each year.
o historically illegal immigrants have been included, but undercounted
o Should illegal numbers count towards representation, if the illegals can’t vote?
♣ In the past it has
♣ Arizona, and Texas. Florida would gain seats under any scenario
♣ California, Texas and Arizona, have more seats in Congress per legal resident than many states where the number of illegal immigrants is much smaller. Lopsided representation?
♣ Immigration has doubled our natural population growth
o Can illegals count for funding, but not for representation?

Immigration reform- constitutional amendment, Supreme Court Ruling or something else?

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; …

Article. I. Section. 1.
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Section. 8.
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
– To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization…

Section. 9.
The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.
So how come we now have quotas?

Article III. Section. 1.
The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.

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.

Q. It is frequently asserted that the Supreme Court nullifies an act of Congress. Is this correct?
A. No. The Court has repeatedly declared that it claims no such power. All it does–all it can do–is to examine a law when a suit is brought before it. If the law in question is in accordance with the Constitution, in the opinion of the Supreme Court, the law stands. If the law goes beyond powers granted by the Constitution, then it is no law, and the Supreme Court merely states that fact

Q. Does not the Constitution give us our rights and liberties?
A. No, it does not, it only guarantees them.
Q. How many amendments to the Constitution have been repealed?
A. Only one — the Eighteenth (Prohibition).

Civil Rights Act of 1866

This act declared, “all persons born in the United States, and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States

The Supreme Court has never explicitly ruled on whether children born in the United States to illegal immigrant parents are entitled to birthright citizenship via the 14th Amendment,

1815 The first great wave of immigration begins, bringing 5 million immigrants between 1815 and 1860.

1819: The first federal legislation on immigration requires notation of passenger lists.

1862: The Homestead Act encourages naturalization by granting citizens title to 160 acres.

1875: First limitations on immigration. Residency permits required of Asians.

1890: New York is home to as many Germans as Hamburg, Germany.

1900: The U.S. population is 75,994,575. More than 3,687,000 immigrants were admitted in the previous ten years. Ellis Island receiving station reopens with brick and ironwork structures.
1906: Bureau of Immigration is established.

1900: The U.S. population is 75,994,575. More than 3,687,000 immigrants were admitted in the previous ten years. Ellis Island receiving station reopens with brick and ironwork structures.
1906: Bureau of Immigration is established.
1910: The Mexican Revolution sends thousands to the United States seeking employment.
1914-8: World War I halts a period of mass migration to the United States.
1921: The first quantitave immigration law sets temporary annual quotas according to nationality. Immigration drops off.
1924: The National Origins Act establishes a discriminatory quota system. The Border Patrol is established.
1940: The Alien Registration Act calls for registration and fingerprinting of all aliens. Approximately 5 million aliens register.
1946: The War Brides Act facilitates the immigration of foreign-born wives, fiances, husbands, and children of U.S. Armed Forces personnel.
1952: The Immigration and Naturalization Act brings into one comprehensive statute the multiple laws that govern immigration and naturalization to date.
1954: Ellis Island closes, marking an end to mass immigration.

Who Was Shut Out?: Immigration Quotas, 1925–1927

In response to growing public opinion against the flow of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe in the years following World War I, Congress passed first the Quota Act of 1921 then the even more restrictive Immigration Act of 1924 (the Johnson-Reed Act). Initially, the 1924 law imposed a total quota on immigration of 165,000—less than 20 percent of the pre-World War I average. It based ceilings on the number of immigrants from any particular nation on the percentage of each nationality recorded in the 1890 census—a blatant effort to limit immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe, which mostly occurred after that date. In the first decade of the 20th century, an average of 200,000 Italians had entered the United States each year. With the 1924 Act, the annual quota for Italians was set at less than 4,000. This table shows the annual immigration quotas under the 1924 Immigration Act.

(Total Annual immigrant quota: 164,667)

IMMIGRANT VISAS (Green Cards) Family-based green cards 226,000 (current total quota)
Employment-based green cards 140,000 (current total quota)

The US government provides a yearly minimum of around 226,000 family-based immigrant visas, which are divided into two main categories, immediate relatives and family preferences. The family preference category is further subdivided into five preference categories.

Quotas: All family preference categories except for immediate relatives are limited by the 226,000 annual quota. After the annual quota is reached for a certain category, there is a waiting period to process the remaining visa applicants. These waiting periods are listed below.

Green Card Lottery 55,000 (current total quota)


The legal process through which a green card holder becomes a legal US citizen, with all the rights and privileges of a US citizen.

Length of Process: After ten years of residency in the US without interruption, many green card holders may apply to become naturalized citizens.


The number of immigrant or non-immigrant visas available during a particular year for certain types of visa categories. Not all visa categories have quotas. Check the quota page for details on each visa.

Under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, aliens who depart the United States after being unlawfully present in the United States for certain periods can be barred from admission, even if they have obtained Advance Parole. Those aliens who have been unlawfully present in the United States for more than 180 days but less than one year are inadmissible for three years; those who have been unlawfully present for a year or more are inadmissible for 10 years.

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
An Act to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to revise and reform the immigration laws, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) (P.L. 99-603, 100 Stat. 3359) amended the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 to better control unauthorized immigration. Many members of Congress felt immigration was “out of control” because legal and illegal immigration had come to account for approximately thirty to fifty percent of U.S. population growth.

Congress determined the best way to control immigration was to take away the incentive to enter the United States by preventing illegal immigrants from working or receiving government benefits. The Immigration Reform and Control Act provides sanctions for knowingly hiring an employee who is not legally authorized to work. It requires employers and states to check work authorization documents for every new employee or benefit applicant, including U.S. citizens, and to complete a related form.

US Citizenship & Immigration Services
Sec. 103. [8 U.S.C. 1103] (a) (1) The Attorney General shall be charged with the administration and enforcement of this Act and all other laws relating to the immigration and naturalization of aliens, except insofar as this Act or such laws relate to the powers, functions, and duties conferred upon the President, the Secretary of State, the officers of the Department of State, or diplomatic or consular officers: Provided, however, That determination and ruling by the Attorney General with respect to all questions of law shall be controlling .

The Secretary of State shall be charged with the administration and the enforcement of the provisions of this Act and all other immigration and nationality

Since 1970, more than 30 million foreign citizens and their descendants have been added to
the local communities and labor pools of the United States.1 It is the numerical equivalent of
having relocated within our borders the entire present population of all Central American

Legal immigration into this country has quadrupled over the
traditional American level for only one reason: Congress and the president made it happen.

Legal immigration could be stopped with a simple majority vote of Congress and a stroke of
the president’s pen-as early as next month, if they desired. Or it could be increased just as
quickly. The volume of legal immigration is entirely at the discretion of Washington.

But research from numerous sources converges to show that the new massive
volume of immigration has played an important “spoiler” role in efforts to reach at least four of
America’s goals: (1) a middle-class society; (2) equal opportunity for the descendants of slavery;
(3) harmonious and safe communities; and (4) a protected and restored natural environment.

Drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776
Preamble [“We the people….”]
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Article I [The Legislative Branch] House, Senate, bills, Legislative Power, state limits
Article II [The Presidency]
Article III [The Judiciary] One Supreme Court
Article IV [The States]
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;
Article V [The Amendment Process]
Article VI [Legal Status of the Constitution]
Article VII [Ratification]

Amendment I [Religion, Speech, Press, Assembly, Petition (1791)]
Amendment II [Right to Bear Arms (1791)]
Amendment III [Quartering of Troops (1791)]
Amendment IV [Search and Seizure (1791)]
Amendment V [Grand Jury, Double Jeopardy, Self-Incrimination, Due Process (1791)]
Amendment VI [Criminal Prosecutions – Jury Trial, Right to Confront and to Counsel (1791)]
Amendment VII [Common Law Suits – Jury Trial (1791)]
Amendment VIII [Excess Bail or Fines, Cruel and Unusual Punishment (1791)]
Amendment IX [Non-Enumerated Rights (1791)]
Amendment X [Rights Reserved to States (1791)]
Amendment XI [Suits Against a State (1795)]
Amendment XII [Election of President and Vice-President (1804)]
Amendment XIII [Abolition of Slavery (1865)]
Amendment XIV [Privileges and Immunities, Due Process, Equal Protection, Apportionment of Representatives, Civil War Disqualification and Debt (1868)]
Amendment XV [Rights Not to Be Denied on Account of Race (1870)]
Amendment XVI [Income Tax (1913)]
Amendment XVII [Election of Senators (1913)
Amendment XVIII [Prohibition (1919)]
Amendment XIX [Women’s Right to Vote (1920)
Amendment XX [Presidential Term and Succession (1933)]
Amendment XXI [Repeal of Prohibition (1933)]
Amendment XXII [Two Term Limit on President (1951)]
Amendment XXIII [Presidential Vote in D.C. (1961)]
Amendment XXIV [Poll Tax (1964)]
Amendment XXV [Presidential Succession (1967)]
Amendment XXVI [Right to Vote at Age 18 (1971)]
Amendment XXVII [Compensation of Members of Congress (1992)]

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