According to Democrat Rep. Judy Chu of Pasadena, California, Republicans who oppose amnesty have turned their backs on the founding principles of our country. Is she right?

The U.S. Constitution says little about immigration policy, although it does dictate that “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion” [emphasis added].

According to law professor Bill Ong Hing, author of Defining America: Through Immigration Policy, U.S. colonies and states imposed numerous restrictions on immigration during the colonial and post-colonial eras:

The early colonies opposed the immigration of persons convicted of crimes … In 1788, the Congress of the Confederation adopted a resolution recommending that states “pass proper laws for preventing the transportation of convicted malefactors from foreign countries into the U.S.” Within a year, several states responded. Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia prohibited the importation of persons who had been previously convicted of a crime. In later years, after the federal Constitution had taken effect, other states enacted similar legislation: Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.

Hing says that colonies also tried to limit immigration of paupers:

The Statue of Liberty’s “give us your tired, your poor” refrain written by political dissenter Emma Lazarus in 1883 was definitely not the philosophy of the colonies … The colonies were comfortable with the notion of members of the lower class fleeing the overcrowded, rigid social structure of Europe, as long as they were hardworking and honest. But the colonists feared that Europe was using the New World as a dumping ground for the lazy and disabled. After all, English judges could banish vagrants along with felons to the colonies. Thus, after independence, a number of states instituted legislation aimed at the poor from abroad as well as those from other states.

In other words, Rep. Chu is touting a fictional version of U.S. history in order to peddle open borders and amnesty.

Unfortunately, she’s not the only one.


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