Constitution 101: Immigration vs Naturalization
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Constitution 101: Immigration vs Naturalization


Did you know there is a difference between immigration and naturalization under the Constitution? Most people assume that the federal government has complete control over immigration. This is partly due to the fact that they confuse immigration and naturalization. In fact, they are two very distinct things. The Constitution delegates to the federal government the power to establish a “uniform Rule of Naturalization,” but it does not expressly delegate any power to regulate immigration. Both James Madison and Thomas Jefferson said the individual states have the power to regulate immigration and to deal with any foreigners within their borders. Madison insisted the only time the federal government could deport a foreigner . was if they were from a country at war with the United States. So what’s the difference between immigration and naturalization? Well, immigration is the movement of people over a border and into a country. On the other hand, naturalization is the process of making a person a citizen. As Black’s Law Dictionary defines it, naturalization is “The act of adopting an alien into a nation, and clothing him with all the rights possessed by a natural- born citizen.” Naturalization is not the same thing as immigration, and vice versa. A person can immigrate without ever becoming a citizen. These are two distinct functions. The federal government has expressly-delegated power over one – naturalization – and none over the other – immigration.

3 Comments

  • MRGF78

    But… when they immigrate here, they're given more rights than the natural born citizens without being a citizen… they should never be considered to have the benefits of being a citizen if they immigrate through our border… those borders being federal borders… the southern border isn't between the individual States and Mexico… it's between the United States and Mexico… and the federal government has the duty to protect us from an invasion… like the ones we're seeing… they're waving their flags and carrying weapons… attacking military along the way… might as well be considered a war… that's how wars start…

  • Jormungand13324

    @Tenth Amendment Center If you're referring to Article 1 Section 9 Clause 1 of the constitution which reads "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".

    There was an expiration date written into the prohibition meaning as of 1808, congress has the authority to supersede the states in regards to immigration.

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