The immigration issue is as old as America itself. One of the Founders’ primary complaints against King George was that he restricted immigration. This complaint carried such weight that it was one of the grievances listed in the Declaration of Independence. Because of the Founders’ apparent open-border mentality, the Constitution only mentions two immigration powers, and delegates them both to Congress. First, Congress was given the power to restrict human trafficking, better known to history as “slavery,” after 1808. Congress was also given exclusive power to provide “an uniform Rule of Naturalization.” James Madison explained in Federalist Paper Number 42 that Congress was given this power to establish uniform “rights of citizenship” and “privileges of residence,” and therefore prevent the states from setting different standards of citizenship.
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