Our ruling classes reject our right to govern ourselves, writes Edward J. Erler

Controversy about immigration in America is as old as the nation itself. The Declaration of Independence presents as one of the “Facts…submitted to a candid world” that “the present King of Great Britain” intends to establish “an absolute Tyranny over these States” because he has obstructed “Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither.”

The Declaration had proclaimed that “the Laws of nature and of Nature’s God” entitled the American people to assume, “among the Powers of the earth,” a “separate and equal” sovereign nation. This nation would be based on the “consent of the governed” and dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created equal.” The clear message conveyed by the Declaration was that a sovereign nation-state has plenary power over matters of citizenship and immigration.

The framers understood that only a nation-state could support constitutional government and the rule of law. Constitutional government is grounded in the sovereignty of the people who grant limited powers to government for the protection of their “safety and happiness,” including the protection of their natural rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

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