Alison Parker

Recent Articles

Inalienable Rights

The United States, famous as a nation of immigrants, should also be infamous for its bouts of anti-immigrant sentiment. Often our intolerance has been fueled by national-security fears. At other times, Americans have made misguided assumptions about who immigrants are and the rights that protect them. Foreigners in the United States illegally get a lot of publicity, but a substantial majority of noncitizens in America are here legally. They include permanent residents; people legally admitted for work, education, or tourism; refugees; asylum seekers; and people with temporary protected status. All of these noncitizens -- including those here illegally -- are guaranteed almost all the same rights as citizens. In fact, only three constitutional rights -- voting in elections, holding certain political offices, and the absolute ability to enter and remain in the country -- are denied noncitizens outright. Otherwise, the Constitution grants to “the people” or “persons” -- not just to...