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Who is covered by the Bill of Rights
Self | October 18, 2001 | Self

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

I see several mentions of “Citizen” or “people of the United States” contained withinin the United states Constituion but absolutely no references to “non-citizens”.

Examples:
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 grievances
Ammendment 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.

My final thoughts.
I see absolutely nothing in these documents staing that anyone other than citizens of the United States of America are covered and protected by them. I also find it to be absurd to think that our forefathers set out to write documents that would cover and if you believe that then also govern the entire world. If this were the case they would have been stating that no government in the world was no longer valid except for the new American government. I think it is quite clear that this was not their intention but I see that others disagree...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Miscellaneous
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Open for discussion. I really want to hear the arguments on both sides of this issue.

Please post what stance you take on this issue and any facts that you have to support that stance.
1 posted on 10/18/2001 10:05:22 AM PDT by RebelDawg
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Comment #2 Removed by Moderator

To: RebelDawg
I believe your assessment on only CITIZENS have rights guaranteed by Constitution and Bill of Rights to be the correct one. How can we protect rights of those under dictatorships and wacko-elitist Arab rulers?
3 posted on 10/18/2001 10:11:07 AM PDT by RasterMaster
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To: RebelDawg
In general, SCOTUS has held that Constitutional Protections extend to resident and non-resident aliens, which is why a deportation hearing is held before sending an illegal home. It is why arrestees are read their Miranda rights. It is why attorneys are provided by the State if the alien cannot afford one.

All Rights pertain but rights do not extend beyond the border so your statement about foreign governments is moot.

4 posted on 10/18/2001 10:13:44 AM PDT by The Shootist
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To: RebelDawg
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?

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!

5 posted on 10/18/2001 10:15:29 AM PDT by Bommer
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To: RebelDawg
Mmmmmm...my first thought is that it would cover anyone who is on U.S. soil. After all, aren't foreign visitors obliged to obey our laws when they're here? If the BOR doesn't apply to them, how do any other laws?

That's a genuine question, not a rhetorical one. Any legal eagles out there?
6 posted on 10/18/2001 10:15:48 AM PDT by alpowolf
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To: Manny Festo
The constitution enumerates rights to the federal government and limits its power - It conferes no rights to any person or group, but states that the governments purpose to to protect or God given rights. All the rights granted to thegovernment are detailed, all othwers are retained by the states and the people.

Not really contradicting you but adding another angle.

7 posted on 10/18/2001 10:16:44 AM PDT by artios
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To: RebelDawg
So all the references in the Bill of Rights to "the people" really means "the citizens"?

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.

Disclaimer:
I'm not a constitutional lawyer.
I didn't even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

Harry K.

8 posted on 10/18/2001 10:17:42 AM PDT by HarryKnutszacke
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To: The Shootist
Ok, thanks for that info. i was wondering if there was a government document stating for a fact that these rights were extended to "visitors".

Could someone please post this for me?

Thank you! ;-)
9 posted on 10/18/2001 10:17:54 AM PDT by RebelDawg
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To: RebelDawg
Do you conclude that "the people" really means "the citizens?"
10 posted on 10/18/2001 10:18:24 AM PDT by BikerNYC
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To: RebelDawg
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.
11 posted on 10/18/2001 10:20:43 AM PDT by CharacterCounts
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To: RasterMaster; RebelDawg
The BoR only enumerates Rights granted by GOD to all of mankind. The differentiation lies, for instance, in the Second Amendment. Only AMERICANS enjoy the RKBA legally! Dissenters must cite the document, of equivalent weight as the BoR, granting legal RKBA to any other nation. The only Rights we enjoy are the Rights we defend from abrogation by the government.

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!

12 posted on 10/18/2001 10:21:28 AM PDT by dhuffman@awod.com
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To: alpowolf
Very compelling thoughts. I've always sided with those who think that constitutional rights are guaranteed only to citizens.

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?

13 posted on 10/18/2001 10:23:02 AM PDT by rogers21774
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To: Bommer
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?

Also you may wnat to read the Bill of Rights again. Theres nothing in there that even mentions murdering people foreign or otherwise. I think you must have been referring to the 10 commandments...
14 posted on 10/18/2001 10:24:29 AM PDT by RebelDawg
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To: RebelDawg
Since these rights are inalienable, they don't coem from the government, therefore cannot be limited to the governments jurisdiction. They come from God, and are limited to HIS domain.
15 posted on 10/18/2001 10:24:44 AM PDT by camle
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To: The Shootist
Correct. And it is for this same reason that when Americans travel abroad they do not carry their “rights” with them. Many countries treat resident and non-resident aliens as they would their citizens (except those with diplomatic immunity).
16 posted on 10/18/2001 10:25:31 AM PDT by thtr
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To: RebelDawg
From the constitution ... "secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity". Our future generations surely would include others other than our children who are currently not citizens. If it doesn't then we run the risk of defining our future in purely physical terms. In addition, our rights are from our creator and are inaleanable(sp?).
17 posted on 10/18/2001 10:26:05 AM PDT by gjenkins
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To: alpowolf
After all, aren't foreign visitors obliged to obey our laws when they're here? If the BOR doesn't apply to them, how do any other laws?

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?

18 posted on 10/18/2001 10:27:00 AM PDT by Protagoras
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To: rogers21774
If I visit Canada, do I in effect forfeit my constitutional rights?

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.

19 posted on 10/18/2001 10:27:06 AM PDT by freedomcrusader
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To: rogers21774
In effect you do. I know when I was in the Navy, we were always warned about port visits in countries that don't have agreements to let the U.S. govt handle offences committed by the sailors...like Turkey. We were warned that if you got busted, you would be tried under their law..."Midnight Express".
20 posted on 10/18/2001 10:28:24 AM PDT by alpowolf
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To: BikerNYC
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 phrase "the people" obviously has a context and the context i believe was stated in the opening paragraph of the Constitution.

Not trying to be argumentative but really what do you conclude the term to mean and how did you arrive at that conclusion???
21 posted on 10/18/2001 10:28:49 AM PDT by RebelDawg
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To: dhuffman@awod.com
The BoR only enumerates Rights granted by GOD to all of mankind.

The Bill of Rights says nothing about the rights being granted by God.

22 posted on 10/18/2001 10:28:58 AM PDT by thtr
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To: RebelDawg
My main problem with the view that the Bill of Rights applies only to citizens is that such a distinction would view the government as the entity that bestows the rights mentioned within, rather than those rights being inherent to every man by virtue of his existence. After all, that view would hold that the government can strip non-citizens of the rights mentioned. That would seem to imply that it is the government itself bestowing the rights. Such a view, in my opinion, would put us precariously close to the liberal position...

I would say instead that the US is the only government that RECOGNIZES these rights of all men...

23 posted on 10/18/2001 10:29:07 AM PDT by MWS
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To: CharacterCounts
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.

I was hoping for facts not opinions.

Can someone post a document stating that visitors to this country are protected by the BOR or not?
24 posted on 10/18/2001 10:31:01 AM PDT by RebelDawg
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To: RebelDawg
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?
25 posted on 10/18/2001 10:34:12 AM PDT by thtr
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To: thtr
The Bill of Rights says nothing about the rights being granted by God.

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...

26 posted on 10/18/2001 10:34:23 AM PDT by freedomcrusader
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To: The Shootist
SCOTUS has held that Constitutional Protections extend to resident and non-resident aliens

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.

27 posted on 10/18/2001 10:36:07 AM PDT by Lonely NY Conservative
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To: camle
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.
28 posted on 10/18/2001 10:36:33 AM PDT by RebelDawg
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To: RasterMaster
I believe he was referring to non-citizens within our borders such as tourists, illegal aliens, and legal aliens not seeking citizenship.
29 posted on 10/18/2001 10:37:40 AM PDT by Blood of Tyrants
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To: RebelDawg
Who bestowed the rights innumerated in the Bill of Rights? Do we have those rights because they are given to us by the government, or do we have them because they belong to us naturally?
30 posted on 10/18/2001 10:38:24 AM PDT by MWS
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To: RebelDawg
He's referring to a universal truth as stated in the Declaration of Independence. Government's round the world violate and infringe these rights routinely, but that doesn't mean that ALL humans don't have these rights.
31 posted on 10/18/2001 10:39:02 AM PDT by freedomcrusader
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To: RebelDawg
My take:

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.

32 posted on 10/18/2001 10:39:57 AM PDT by Dr. Frank fan
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To: HarryKnutszacke
Look at the 14th Amendment:

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.

There is a distinction made between "citizens" and "persons." I don't think we should be reading "citizens" unless the word "citizens" is actually used.
33 posted on 10/18/2001 10:40:09 AM PDT by BikerNYC
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To: RebelDawg
agree you are correct as to the document, but the intent is also in the BOR.
34 posted on 10/18/2001 10:41:09 AM PDT by camle
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To: MWS
General note to all since I have seen alot of confusion here...

Neither the United States Constitution nor the Bill of Rights says anything about inalienable rights granted by God. You have the wrong document in mind. That si the Declaration of Independence.

On another note I just thought of this... Can you legally purchase a firearm in the United states if you are not a citizen? I'm not sure if you can or not. Does anyone know this?

Thanks for the great replies! Keep em coming.
35 posted on 10/18/2001 10:41:52 AM PDT by RebelDawg
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To: freedomcrusader
Thank you. You were gentler than I would have been.

The conspiracy of ignorance masquerades as common sense!

36 posted on 10/18/2001 10:41:59 AM PDT by dhuffman@awod.com
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To: dhuffman@awod.com
If our founders only knew that in the country they founded, the people had either no knowledge of, or disdain for, the principles on which they founded the country...
37 posted on 10/18/2001 10:44:55 AM PDT by freedomcrusader
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To: RebelDawg
Still, I did not mention God as bestowing the rights... I merely mentioned that they are natural rights inherent to men by virtue of our existence... or, would you say that the government bestowed these rights upon us?
38 posted on 10/18/2001 10:45:04 AM PDT by MWS
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To: RebelDawg
All inhabitants of the US and its protectorates are protected by its laws and the Constitutions. Alien residents included. Illegal Aliens included. Animals, pets included. With due process resident aliens can be deported.

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.

39 posted on 10/18/2001 10:45:22 AM PDT by Bob Burnett
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To: thtr
And no comment on my instructive example of the uniquely American Legal RKBA?

The conspiracy of ignorance masquerades as common sense!

40 posted on 10/18/2001 10:45:29 AM PDT by dhuffman@awod.com
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To: thtr
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"?

hmmmmm, interesting but I disagree.

If I go to China on a weekend vacation then am I a member of the "people of China" for that weekend? Seems like a strange idea to me...
41 posted on 10/18/2001 10:45:57 AM PDT by RebelDawg
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To: freedomcrusader
The rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights are not granted by God. There is no mention of it being so in the document. The Declaration of Independence states that “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” are granted by God. All other “rights” are granted by the people (or taken away by the people) through their representative government. That is WHY there is a written constitution. God did not grant that “Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation”.
42 posted on 10/18/2001 10:45:59 AM PDT by thtr
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To: BikerNYC
Correct, the 14th Ammendment applies the rights in the Bill of Rights to "all people within its jurisdiction". It does not say "citizens". It does not say "resident".
43 posted on 10/18/2001 10:48:36 AM PDT by PFC
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To: RebelDawg; Uriel1975
I see the bill of Rights as belonging to the citizens PERIOD!

Protect our borders...remove the illigals

44 posted on 10/18/2001 10:48:49 AM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: dhuffman@awod.com; RebelDawg; artios
dhuffman said it well:

"The BoR only enumerates Rights granted by GOD to all of mankind."

artios went into a bit more detail:

"It conferes no rights to any person or group, but states that the governments purpose to to protect or God given rights."

Bottom line:
My rights are not given to me by the government of the place where I live.
They are inherently mine from the day that I was born.
Someone may attempt to take them away from me (as happens in most countries),
but here, a person's G*d-given rights are (supposed) to be recognized -not granted- by our government.
Those G*d-given rights are the same for everyone.
If a person is in this country -no matter what his nationality- our government should recongnize those rights.
(The reason that religion is under attack should be obvious when the concept of individual rights is considered.)
The documents that define our government are supposed to be for limiting government, not granting individual rights.
Our founding fathers were not that arrogant.
45 posted on 10/18/2001 10:48:54 AM PDT by freefly
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To: thtr
The rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights are not granted by God. [...] All other “rights” are granted by the people (or taken away by the people) through their representative government.

Can you point to any Amendments in the Bill of Rights which explicitly "grant" rights to the people? Thanks.

46 posted on 10/18/2001 10:49:26 AM PDT by Dr. Frank fan
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To: RebelDawg
If a person from China is granted Visa to reside in the United States for any period of time, then yes, that person must follow all of the laws of the United States and is afforded all of the rights. That is implicit in granting the Visa. China does not have a constitution that affords those rights to people to whom it grants visas.
47 posted on 10/18/2001 10:49:37 AM PDT by thtr
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To: Dr. Frank
Wow! Nice post. Very informative.

Thank you for the excellent post! ;-)
48 posted on 10/18/2001 10:49:39 AM PDT by RebelDawg
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To: thtr
Oh brother. What is it about the words 'that among these' that don't you understand? Jefferson stated right there in the Declaration that his list was not complete!!!!

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.

49 posted on 10/18/2001 10:50:40 AM PDT by freedomcrusader
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To: thtr
The Declaration of Independence states that “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” are granted by God. All other “rights” are granted by the people (or taken away by the people) through their representative government.

!!!!????

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.

Harry K.

50 posted on 10/18/2001 10:51:16 AM PDT by HarryKnutszacke
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