Presidential candidate Donald Trump has been under fire for his statement that we should ban all Muslim immigration and visa visitors for a temporary span of time until we can better vet the background of these individuals. I have heard several criticisms of this proposal that are both ludicrous and ignorant. Senator and presidential candidate Marco Rubio has stated that such a prohibition is unconstitutional. Others state that it violates the principle of freedom of religion as espoused in the first amendment. A third claim made Thursday evening by former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, was that “we do not have the right” to prohibit a group or class of individuals from entry into our country.
The first objection that it is unconstitutional belies a lack of understanding of our Constitution (something I would think an attorney, Senator and President-wanna-be should know). To support this assertion we must ask “For whom was the Constitution written?” One needs look no further than the Preamble to the Constitution to ascertain the answer to this question.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to…secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
It was the citizens of the several states through either direct election (Rhode Island) or through their representatives in either their legislatures or conventions who comprised “We the People.” This did not include everyone who resided in the territory of the states at that time. It wasn’t until the passage of the 13th, 14 th and 15 th amendments that the securities of the Constitution were expanded to those previously enslaved (both black and white). The Constitution was ordained and established for the citizens of “the United States”, not “we the people of the world.” The Constitution says nothing about our obligation or requirement to admit any and all who wish to enter our borders.
Having established that the sureties given in the Constitution are for citizens, not for any and everyone who comes or wants to come to our shores, the answer to the second objection is also rendered moot. However, I will make just a couple of brief points on it specifically. There are only three references to religion in the Constitution. Article VII references the date of the finalization of the Constitution as being “in the Year of our Lord,” a common phrase that has nothing to do with the practice of a religion. The first amendment has two clauses referencing religion, namely that
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”
By prohibiting the importation of those practicing Islam the federal government is not “establishing a religion” for the United States. Nor is the government prohibiting these individuals from “the free exercise” of their religion – they are at liberty to practice it in their home countries or some other Islamic country. It is no different than when a couple of years ago we prohibited individuals from countries experiencing an outbreak of Ebola from migrating en mass to our shores.
Finally, the statement that we have “no right” to prohibit any group of individuals from entering our land is patently absurd. Coming to the United States and living among us is a privilege, not a “right.” A true “right” is of the caliber identified by Jefferson in our Declaration of Independence, i.e., one that comes from our Creator. Migrating to one country from another falls far short of this bar. I might add to this that citizenship is also in this category inasmuch as citizenship can be taken away or revoked by the government since it is the entity that bestows citizenship (see Article I, Section 8, Clause 4 of the Constitution). It is the inalienable “right” of the citizens of this country to be secure in their life and liberty and it is the responsibility granted to the government by those citizens to make those rights secure, which includes keeping out those who might do harm to those rights.
One final question to be addressed, is “Why not adopt the position of Senator Rand Paul and only limit Muslims from a list of countries known to pose a threat?” To answer this I merely point to the recent atrocities in Paris, France. Some of those perpetrators came across the French border from other European countries. There are millions of Muslims living in France, England, Sweden, the Netherlands, etc., and if these countries were not part of the “list” of forbidden countries, then there would be no way we could prevent Muslim radicals from entering the US from one of those nations.
It Is past time that our leaders quit being so “politically correct” and began looking out for the welfare and safety of Americans first. If you would not throw open the doors to your home and let anyone and everyone enter and live with you without first thoroughly ensuring they posed no threat to your family, then neither should we do so to our country, “America, my home sweet home.”
-December 11, 2015