Skip to comments.Who is covered by the Bill of Rights
Posted on 10/18/2001 10:05:22 AM PDT by RebelDawg
I have seen several posts lately where people have made statements that illegal immigrants as well as those persons from abroad visiting here on student, work and travel visas are NOT protected by the Bill of Rights. I have also seen posts by people vehemently opposing that view. I thought about it a while and decided to side with the first group: that is that those individuals who ar enot citizens of this country are not granted the rights listed in the Bill of Rights of the United States of America. My reasoning is quite simple. If you take the stance that the Bill of Rights covers ALL people then what about the gvernments of other countries? does our Bill of Rights supercede those governments? Should we overthrow other governments who violate their citizens first and second ammendment rights? What about China? Good you say??? Well what about England, Canada and Australia? they have clearly violated their citizens second ammendment right! Or is it that they do NOT have those rights and that the Bill of Rights ONLY covers citizens of the United States of America?
Here is a quick quote that I pulled from a sight about the Bill of Rights of the United States of America:
During the debates on the adoption of the Constitution, its opponents repeatedly charged that the Constitution as drafted would open the way to tyranny by the central government. Fresh in their minds was the memory of the British violation of civil rights before and during the Revolution. They demanded a "bill of rights" that would spell out the immunities of individual citizens. Several state conventions in their formal ratification of the Constitution asked for such amendments; others ratified the Constitution with the understanding that the amendments would be offered.Bill of Rights
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, 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.From Article IV
Section 2. The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.Ammendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievancesAmmendment II
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.Ammendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.Ammendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.Ammendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.Are some of you telling me that the term the people as written in the Bill of Rights refers to a global notion of people? I think that is completely absurd, it has the same meaning as in the opening paragraph of the United States Constitution and that is We the People of the United States.
All Rights pertain but rights do not extend beyond the border so your statement about foreign governments is moot.
First of all the ONLY people who have Admendment rights are here in the united States. They have no 2nd rights to infringe in Britian, because there are no gun rights in Britain.
Secondly your highlighted words mentions "the people" not the "People of the united States" If they are here they are protected by the rights of this country. Why? I don't know! I guess it keeps us from murdering foreigners!
Not really contradicting you but adding another angle.
Look, I'm not sure I know what the answer is, but consider the following. Many over the years have argued that what is important about the bill of rights is that it didn't GRANT rights, it RECOGNIZED rights, rights that inherently belonged to people, by virtue of their being, well, people. As the Declaration says, "that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights". Notice that the common construction of the amendments is "the right of . . . the people to . . . shall not be infringed", not "the right to.. . is granted to"
However, I don't see where it says we can't control who comes into the country, and deport non-citizens as we see fit.
I'm not a constitutional lawyer.
I didn't even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
The terrorists likely exercised their First Amendment Right to political expression when they wrapped them selves in the American Flag. American flag wavers merely confuse the issue about patriotism. Exercise your uniquely American LEGAL RKBA!
It does appear that the SCOTUS has interpreted the constitution to apply to anyone on US soil. But what does this mean to US citizens traveling to other countries? If I visit Canada, do I in effect forfeit my constitutional rights?
First of all the ONLY people who have Admendment rights are here in the united States. They have no 2nd rights to infringe in Britian, because there are no gun rights in Britain.Thanks that is exactly what I had said. I hope you didn't think I was saying that they did have a second ammendment. That was the exact opposite of my point.
Secondly your highlighted words mentions "the people" not the "People of the united States" If they are here they are protected by the rights of this country. Why? I don't know! I guess it keeps us from murdering foreigners!I don't read it that way. Do you have some other insight as to what "the people" refers to or just your own opinion?
I'm no legal beagle but I'll give it a shot by suggesting that they (the foreigners) are subject to our laws and gain certain rights, not from the constitution, but from treaties with other countries which spell out understandings about how things will be done in certain cases.
I have no idea if I am correct about this but I'm guessing I'm on the right track. Anyone care to inform me about this?
You forfeit your guarantee that those rights will not be infringed (at least to the extent that they're not infringed in the U.S.).
ALL humans have these rights, it's just that nearly all the governments of the world refuse to recognize and guarantee them to their citizens.
Do you conclude that "the people" really means "the citizens?"Yes as a matter of fact I do. What do you confer it to mean? "the humans of the world"???
The Bill of Rights says nothing about the rights being granted by God.
I would say instead that the US is the only government that RECOGNIZES these rights of all men...
All persons within the borders of the USA are protected by our Constitution, including the Bill of Rights. This is why the Constitution refers to the people and persons and not citizens.This is just "your" interpretation. Pleas epost facts to back up your opinion.
That's because it had already been said in the Declaration of Independence: "...endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Notice that Jefferson did not intend his enumeration of 3 rights to be taken as a complete list...
This is not quite accurate. In fact, SCOTUS has walked a fine line on this question, never definitively settling the question of whether "the people" refers to the citizenry of the US or people in general. For example, non-citizens were found to be partially protected by 4th ammendment prohibitions regarding search and seizure in the late 60's. The court's reasoning for this, and the limits of partial protection were extremely murky. It is my belief that if the current, more strictly constructionist, SCOTUS were forced to decide the issue you would have a good chance of establishing that constitutional rights apply exclusively to citizens of the US.
Since these rights are inalienable, they don't come from the government, therefore cannot be limited to the governments jurisdiction. They come from God, and are limited to HIS domain.Sorry but you are referrin to the Declaration of Independence not the Consgtitution or the Bill of Rights.
Generally speaking, the Bill of Rights doesn't "apply to" citizens or non-citizens. It applies to government.
It is for the most part a list of things which Congress and/or government is not allowed to do.
The First Amendment says that "Congress shall make no law" to do various things. The Second Amendment says a certain right "shall not be infringed" (by government, presumably). Amendment 3 forbids gov't from quartering soldiers. Amendment 8 forbids government from enacting excessive bail and "cruel and unusual" punishments. Amendment 4 effectively forbids government from searching and issuing Warrants without "probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." Amendment 5 mentions a grab bag of things government cannot do, too numerous to reiterate here.
These are all instructions to government.
Of course, in the course of these instructions to the government, at several points many (pre-existing) "rights" are mentioned (not "granted"). Often they are described as "the right of the people" to do something.
Amendment 2 mentions "the right of the people to keep and bear arms"; I guess this means the author thought that "the people" possess the right to keep and bear arms. Amendment 4 mentions "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses," etc. I guess this means "the people" possess that right to. Article 1 even mentions "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Others go along these lines: Amendment 7 mentions "the right of trial by jury", without describing who has this right. In the process of forbidding the government from depriving any "person" (it begins with, "No person...") of "life, liberty, or property" except under certain conditions, Amendment 5 seems to be saying that each "person" currently possesses that right by default.
Amendment 6 is the only one which seems to me to actually create or "grant" certain rights: the right of speedy jury trial, the right of Counsel, etc. And in a way, these, too, are instructions to government - namely, government is not allowed to prosecute people except under these conditions.... To whom does Amendment 6 grant these "rights"? To "the accused", whoever that is.
Finally we have the underappreciated 9th and 10th Amendments, which say effectively (1) just because it ain't written here don't mean it ain't a right, and (2) when in doubt, the right belongs to the States or "the people".
So in all these cases, when it actually mentions (again, not "grants") certain "rights", these "rights" appear to belong to each "person", or to "the people". Unless I am mistaken, immigrants too qualify as "people", so the Bill of Rights applies to them too. (And if you are going to say it doesn't, because of Amendments 9 and 10, you really need to justify this somewhere else in the Constitution, or among the several State Constitutions.) This means, in summary, that government cannot violate the rights of immigrants just because they are immigrants.
None of this implies that government cannot kick them out of the country, however. There is no intrinsic "right" to come to this country from another and to stay here, and Congress is specifically granted certain power over immmigration issues, namely "To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization ... throughout the United States", in Article 1 section 8. Since Congress is granted that power, and the power to "make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers", one can safely conclude that Congress can do things like Kick Immigrants Out For Not Obeying Its Naturalization Policy.
And since this power is specifically "delegated to the United States by the Constitution", this would be also in perfect accord with Amendment 10.
As for Wars and what we can do to people like foreign leaders, I would just say that it is fairly clear that "the people" mentioned in the Constitution were never meant to be overseas people in other countries. That would just be ridiculous. For one thing, Wars (which specifically are mentioned in the Constitution) would be essentially impossible if that were true.
In sum I would say that the Bill of Rights, if it can be said to "apply to" anyone other than government, applies to "the people" within the borders of this country, and no others. Immigrants like all other "people" have pre-existing "rights" which government is forbidden from violating.
However, "the right to stay here" is not among them and Congress has all the power it could ever need to kick them out. Which is the key point.
The conspiracy of ignorance masquerades as common sense!
The only difference between an alien resident and a US citizen is the former cannot vote or become President or Vice-President. You still pay taxes, you are still subject to our draft, etc.
You can be a citizen of a state by reason of residency and it's this usage that is referred to by the US Constitutency.
The conspiracy of ignorance masquerades as common sense!
The fact is obvious. The Bill of Rights begins with We the people of the United States. The people of the United States are those who reside here. Where is the confusion?So are you saying that a citizen of China here on a work visa is a member of "the people of the United States"?
Protect our borders...remove the illigals
Can you point to any Amendments in the Bill of Rights which explicitly "grant" rights to the people? Thanks.
The philosophy of the founders was clearly natural rights, they clearly believed that rights were bestowed by the Creator, and they clearly intended that the Bill of Rights protect God-given rights. Just because the document doesn't say doesn't mean it isn't so.
So our representative government could abolish religious freedom, RKBA, freedom of speeech, etc?
I don't think you really mean this. Read the BOR. The BOR does not say the rights are "granted", but that they shall "not be infringed."
I wish I HAD stayed at the Holiday Inn Express.