The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns the First Amendment guarantee of the right to petition the government. “Congress shall make no law … abridging … the right of the people … to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” This right includes the freedom to complain to the government or to seek help from the government without being afraid of punishment.
Common sense tells us that the Founders wanted this right to apply only to U.S. citizens. Common sense tells that if a group of people who are in the United States illegally marches in the streets demanding equal rights, they should be arrested for being here illegally. Common sense is not all that common any longer, and it does not determine the law. In case after case, the courts have ruled that the Bill of Rights applies to all people living in America, even those who come illegally. The Kate Steinle case is one that proves that even undocumented immigrants have constitutional rights.
I have written numerous times about the Kate Steinle case. Ms. Steinle was walking along a seaside pier in San Francisco with her father in July 2015 when she was killed by a single bullet. Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, a citizen of Mexico who was in the U.S. illegally, was charged with the murder, and he admitted firing the gun. However, he said that he had found the gun wrapped in a T-shirt under a bench and the gun went off accidentally. A jury acquitted him of the murder in December 2017 under the “due process of law” guarantee in the Constitution. The jury was not allowed to take into consideration the killer’s criminal record, prior convictions, or immigration status, and they found reasonable doubt in his claim that the killing was an accident.
I bring up the subject of petitioning the government because illegal aliens who were brought here as children – the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – have been assembling and even marching in defiance of President Trump’s efforts to end illegal immigration. Now some of the DREAMers are petitioning in a different way.
A group of undocumented immigrants are actually threatening to leave the United States if Congress and President Trump do not make a deal to keep them here legally. They say that they would rather leave on their own than be deported by the government. They seem to think that if enough DREAMers suddenly disappear, their absence will be noted by Americans. They seem to think that their businesses, taxes, tuition, and employment will be missed, and the United States will suffer from the absence of these people who should not be here at all. They seem to think quite highly of their ability to be a blessing to America. They can only hope that Congress acts soon.
Congress has until early March to pass a comprehensive immigration reform plan. If a law is not passed to protect the DREAMers, they will be declared “illegal” at the end of their current amnesty contract. They most likely will not be targeted for deportation, but they will no longer be legally present here.
I personally hope that Congress does not grant a path to citizenship to anyone who comes to the United States illegally. No one should ever be rewarded for breaking the law of the land. President Reagan signed an amnesty bill in the 1980s that was supposed to stop the illegal immigrants from coming into the country. As we can see, it did not work because we are back at square one once again. Hopefully, Congress will get its act together soon and pass a law that will be good for America!