On the June 26, 2018 episode of America First, white nationalist Nick Fuentes celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold President Trump’s travel ban in Trump v. Hawaii. Fuentes explained that the Court found that this was not an order discriminating on the basis of religion, but remarked that it should have been, and falsely asserted that non-citizens have no rights.
“But for starters it should’ve been a ban on Muslims, why should this be wrong?” Fuentes asked. “You know, we talked about this yesterday. This has to be driven home: Non-citizens do not have rights in this country! They don’t! Maybe they have human rights — oh spare me the waterworks, please, with this, ‘Oh they have, under the Atlantic Charter, under the UN Charter they have human rights which are healthcare and education for girls’ and all this gay stuff.”
He explained that the “only rights that we have in the United States are God-given,” and that these rights are “for citizens of the United States” only. Fuentes lumped together undocumented immigrants with foreigners who simply want to come to America, and claimed there’s “no difference” between them.
“They’re not of the country!” he exclaimed, explaining that granting rights to non-citizens would be akin to visiting a foreign country and demanding its inhabitants enforce our constitutional laws.
However, on this point Fuentes is simply wrong. It is true that an immigrant is not afforded the full range of rights in immigration court as they are in the criminal justice system. However, undocumented immigrants and their children who reside in the U.S. do have constitutional rights, including due process rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc.
In Yick Wo v. U.S. (1886), the Supreme Court invalidated a race-neutral law that, in practice, discriminated against Chinese immigrants. In Wong Wing v. U.S. (1896), the Supreme Court ruled that non-citizens are protected by the 5th and 6th Amendments.
In Almeida-Sanchez v. U.S. (1973), the Court declared that the warrantless search of a Mexican citizen’s vehicle near the border violated the 4th Amendment. And in Plyler v. Doe (1982), it ruled that a law which denied undocumented children a public education violated the 14th Amendment.