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  • Bloggings: White House Misses the Main Point in Its Response to the Gun Lobby's Petition to Deport Piers Morgan by Roger Algase

    Bloggings On Immigration Law

    by Roger Algase

    Bloggings: White House Misses the Main Point in Its Response to the Gun Lobby's Petition to Deport Piers Morgan. By Roger Algase

    On January 9, the White House responded to a petition which has now garnered a hundred thousand signatures by gun fanatics calling for the Deportation of CNN anchor Piers Morgan to the UK for speaking out against the gun lobby in the wake of the Newtown shootings. The full text of the reponse is available on the White House website.

    The key portion of the reponse, written by White House spokesperson Jay Carney, is as follows:

    "President Obama believes that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. However, the Constitution not only guarantees an individual right to bear arms, but also enshrines the freedom of speech and freedom of the press - fundamental principles that are essential to our democracy. Americans may disagree on matters of public policy and express those disagreements vigorously, but no one should be punished by the government simply because he or she expressed a view on the Second Amendment - or any other matter of public concern."

    This statement is all well and good, but it does not address the main point, which is whether the government would have the power to deport someone who had broken no law and not committed any deportable offense, even if there were no First Amendment. It is clear that the government has no such power, because of the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.

    The petition against Piers Morgan assumes that the executive branch has absolute power to decide which foreign citizens should be allowed to remain in the United States (as opposed to a Constitutionally protected right for a foreign citizen to come to the US - which the Supreme Court has ruled does not exist). This assumption that the executive has quasi-totalitarian power over foreign citizens who are lawfully in the United States is rather curious, to say the least, coming from the same people who argue that the government has no power under the Constitution to prevent the mass murder of innocent schoolchildren by an armed madman.

    It is also quite curious that many of the same people who would like to attribute dictatorial powers to the president to deport any foreign citizen who speaks out against the gun lobby are at the same time vigorously protesting when the same president, in the exercise of executive discretion, sets priorities relating to which classes of deportable foreign citizens should be removed first, and which should be given a deferment.

    Perhaps the president might be able to respond to the Piers Morgan petition in a way that should please both hard right gun lobby supporters and liberals who are calling for more tolerant and humane immigration enforcement policies.

    This would be to issue an executive order granting deferment from removal to any otherwise deportable foreign citizen who opposes gun control. The only problem with this idea is that it might cause many immigrants to sign groundless petitions against someone like Piers Morgan in order to protect their own chances of remaining in the US!

    About The Author

    Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing business immigration law in New York City for more than 20 years.

    The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) alone and should not be imputed to ILW.COM.
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Harry DeMell's Avatar
      Harry DeMell -
      Second amendment rights, and first amendment rights are not our issue. If we focused more on improving the immigration, visa and nationality system and laws and less time being self righteous we might have accomplished something in the last 22 years.
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