By Thomas L. Knapp
“Any activists who doubt President Trump’s resolve in the slightest are making a drastic error,” Trump advisor Stephen Miller tells the New York Times. “Trump will unleash the vast arsenal of federal powers to implement the most spectacular migration crackdown.”
The disgraced former president’s promised second-term program includes (according to the Times) “round[ing] up undocumented people already in the United States on a vast scale and detain[ing] them in sprawling camps while they wait to be expelled,” using money illegally appropriated for other purposes, as he did with his “border wall” boondoggle.
Legally speaking, here’s the “vast arsenal of federal powers” regarding immigration that Miller references:
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The U.S. Constitution not only doesn’t mention any federal power to regulate immigration (meaning, per the Tenth Amendment, that the federal government enjoys no such power), it unambiguously forbade any such power prior to 1808 (per Article 1, Section 9), after which a constitutional amendment would have been required to create one.
The moral side of the equation is even simpler: Where a peaceful individual chooses to travel to (and possibly settle down at) isn’t Donald Trump’s business, or yours, or mine, except to the extent that we may choose to associate, or do business with, them (or not to).
Not that Trump, or the Republican Party, or any other political class leader or institution, cares what the Constitution says, what they’re legally “allowed” to do, or what’s right.
Laws are for the little people, not them. Your rights aren’t due any respect whatsoever, unless they find it convenient to pretend such respect. Which is rarely, since the powerful always crave more power whether or not they’re entitled to any power at all.
Thus, it’s reasonable to expect that if Trump is elected to the presidency again, he’ll try to implement what he promised an Iowa audience in September: “The largest domestic deportation operation in American history.”
Do Americans bear a responsibility — a moral duty — to resist such lawlessness on the part of Trump and his minions?
I’m tempted to say no, for the same reason that I don’t think you’re morally obliged to park in front of my house each night and make sure it isn’t burglarized.
On the other hand, if you buy the burglar a set of lock picks and loan him your car, you’re part of his burglary ring.
Do you pay taxes? Unless you own nothing, buy nothing, and earn nothing, the answer is yes. As do those Trump wants to victimize.
Where does he plan to get the money to build those camps and pay those kidnappers? From the aforementioned taxes, of course — even if he borrows it on the promise to tax you for it later.
He plans to make you part of his criminal conspiracy whether you like it or not. So pretty much anything you do to thwart that conspiracy is at least justified, if not obligatory — up to and including burning the camps and incapacitating (in whatever manner) the kidnappers.
Resist much, obey little.
Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org).