Here’s Why Trump’s Calls To End Due Process For Immigrants Are Dangerous

What President Trump is proposing appears to be unconstitutional, and would set a terrifying precedent

A mother migrating from Honduras holds her 1-year-old child as surrendering to U.S. Border Patrol agents after crossing the border Monday, June 25, 2018, near McAllen, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

A mother migrating from Honduras holds her 1-year-old child as surrendering to U.S. Border Patrol agents after crossing the border Monday, June 25, 2018, near McAllen, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The day after the 242nd anniversary of the United States’ Declaration of Independence from British monarchical rule, President Trump once again called for the end of constitutionally protected due process rights for undocumented immigrants.

This is not the first time President Trump has argued for abolishing these due process protections or ending political asylum. In late June, he also expressed his distaste for the rights in a series of tweets, suggesting that unauthorized immigrants should be sent back to their countries of origin without any “judges or court cases.”

Due process as a concept can be traced back to the Magna Carta and is enumerated in the Fifth Amendment of our Constitution. And while some may incorrectly believe otherwise, it does not only extend to citizens of this country. As the Fifth Amendment is written, those protected by the rights enshrined in the text are all “persons.”

Not all citizens. All persons.

In the writing of the Constitution, there exists a clear difference between the concept of citizenship and that of generalized personhood. The clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment specifically delineate between protections that extend to citizens and those that extend to persons.

Additionally, there are Supreme Court cases spanning over a century which support this interpretation of “persons.” Zadvydas v. David reaffirmed this reading in 2001, stating:

“But once an alien enters the country, the legal circumstance changes, for the Due Process Clause applies to all ‘persons’ within the United States, whether their presence is lawful, unlawful, temporary, or permanent.”

Beyond the Zadvydas v. David ruling, there is no dearth of other opinions to chose from which support the application of due process to all persons present in the United States. Yick Wo v. Hopkins, Wong Wing v. United States, Plyler v. Doe – take your pick.

While immigration law and executive power do complicate the lengths to which due process protects undocumented persons, to suggest that these protections only extend to citizens is categorically false. As such, any desire for the removal of these protections should be concerning to all residents of this country.

Calls from the President of the United States to remove constitutionally enshrined rights which exist to defend against tyrannical and authoritarian government is highly alarming – no matter your status of citizenship. For if he were to somehow remove these protections from migrants, what’s to stop him from removing them from other groups? When one combines this rhetoric with other efforts by the Trump administration, including the creation of a new United States Citizenship and Immigration Services task force dedicated to exploring potential cases for denaturalization, it’s clear that these tweets should not be taken lightly.

Threats to due process are dangerous to every resident of America – and as such, every resident should be highly concerned by the President’s rhetoric.

News // Donald Trump / Human Rights / ICE / Immigration