Sovereignty, the Law of Nations, and Immigration in the American Founding – American Political Thought – article

Sovereignty, the Law of Nations, and Immigration in the American Founding

Kevin Portteus | American Political Thought

2019-11-05

The United States is a sovereign nation in a community of nations. Like any other sovereign nation, it is governed by the law of nations, which is, in its foundations, an application of the law of nature to sovereign nations. Inherent in the concept of sovereignty under the law of nations is the power to maintain the nation’s territorial integrity and regulate entry into the nation. America’s founding fathers understood these concepts and sought to incorporate them into the Constitution. There are at least two provisions in the Constitution that confer sovereign power over immigration to the federal government. The principles of the American founding and a sound exposition of the Constitution both concur that regulation of immigration is the province of the federal government.

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