By Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host

A reader of Political Pistachio received an email with disturbing language in it about one’s “right to an education regardless of citizenship status.”

—–Original Message—–

From: “L”
Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2019 3:20pm
To: “Douglas V. Gibbs”
Subject: Fw: News from OMSD Superintendent Dr. James Q. Hammond
This gentleman mentions about the U.S. Constitution ………………….. “Rights on all persons , regardless of citizenship status” How should I answer that? I will make an attempt to attend a school board meeting. I’ll check and do my homework as well.
I hope to hear from you.

News from Superintendent Dr. James Q. Hammond
Important Community Message

As stated in the Ontario-Montclair School District’s (OMSD) 5 Year Action Plan, our District“is committed to providing a world-class education to our students in safe, respectful, and welcoming school environments.”
OMSD continues to support and embrace our families who come from diverse backgrounds and is home to students from 45 countries of origin who speak 28 languages/dialects. We proudly recognize diversity as one of our greatest strengths. The District stands together in doing everything possible to ensure students, families, and staff feel safe and secure when they come to school. As Superintendent, I continually encourage all parents to send their children to school every day.
Additionally, it is well established that the United States Constitution confers rights upon all persons living in the United States, regardless of their citizenship status.* Furthermore, the United States Supreme Court declared almost 40 years ago that all children in the United States have the right to attend public elementary and secondary schools regardless of their actual or perceived citizenship or immigration status, or the immigration status of their parents, including those who are undocumented.**
Daily attendance is critical to every child’s academic success. As we prepare to start the new school year this August, I urge parents, families, and community members to remain committed to prioritizing school attendance.
As previously communicated in past newsletters, I want to remind all OMSD stakeholders that all children have the right to attend public schools free from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, citizenship, and immigration status, including those in our community who are undocumented. Any such discrimination at OMSD will not be tolerated.
Our commitment to the well-being of every student in OMSD remains unwavering. We continue to build school communities where all students, families, and staff are honored and engaged. We expect everyone to be treated respectfully, without fear of bullying or intimidation.

My response:

Good to hear from you.  While we all have natural rights, we also live under the rule of law.  The word “right” does not mean we have a right to do whatever we want regardless of the law.  I can say I have a right to travel, therefore I should be able to drive without a drivers’ license.  Reality is, while I may have a right to travel, there is a law in place that requires a license to drive a motor vehicle.  One’s rights in this country also are subject to the law, and to access certain rights, we must be citizens.  Also, let’s remember how our rights are listed in the Declaration of Independence.  Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.  The last three words are key.  We don’t have a right to be happy, we have a right to pursue it.  We don’t have a right to do whatever we want, but we do have a right to pursue some of those things, based on the rule of law.  We don’t have a right to an education, but we have a right to pursue it.  We don’t have a right to health care, we have a right to pursue it.  We don’t have a right to have a cake baked the way we want, but we do have a right to pursue it.  We don’t have a right to welfare services, but if we qualify (citizenship status applies) we have a right to pursue it.  They can claim they have a right to vote, but the rule of law says you must be a citizen.  In fact, four times in the Constitution it directly states you must be a citizen to vote (Amendment 15, 19, 24, 26) and in Article IV. of the Constitution it states you must be a citizen to enjoy the privileges and immunities of each of the States (which I also place voting … I don’t believe voting to be a right, but instead it is a privilege of citizenship).  Education, while one must not necessarily be a citizen to be entitled to public education (there are non-citizens who have legally entered the country but currently maintain a “residency” status), it does require that the persons are here legally.  The very fact that illegal aliens have broken the first law they encountered, immigration law, places them at odds with the rule of law, therefore what they consider to be rights does not apply.  They have, in a way, disqualified themselves by refusing to follow the process.  Besides, how can someone who is not a citizen here claim to have rights in this country?  Do I have rights in Mexico?  Can I claim that regardless of my citizenship status Mexico, France, Britain, and other countries must provide for me benefits that I demand should I break into their country?  Must they educate my children even though I’ve paid no taxes in their country and I am currently breaking a series of laws by being in the country without going through the proper processes?

Another argument I use when it comes to achieving a legal status is I ask if the person I am talking to locked the door of their home when they left to come to wherever they are.  “Did you lock your door today?  Do you normally lock your door when you are not home?  Why?  Do you hate everyone on the outside?  What if they need to enter your home while you are gone to raid the fridge?  You lock the doors of your home not because you hate everyone on the outside, but because you love everyone on the inside.  You recognize that among the general population are those who will abuse your belongings, and steal from you or harm your family.  Even when you are home and somebody knocks you don’t just throw open the door and proclaim that they help themselves to everything.  You peek through the spy-hole, or you peek around the door as you slowly open it, and you don’t let the person into your house unless you are convinced they are a friend, family member, or someone you can trust to come inside.  You don’t have those requirements because you are a racist, but because you wish to protect your home, and its occupants.”
As for defining the Constitution based on judicial rulings, the courts do not have the authority to define the Constitution.  It says what it says, and there is nothing in the Constitution that says someone is entitled to “rights in the United States regardless of immigration status”.  In fact, going back to Article IV., it says you must be a citizen to have access to the privileges and immunities of the several states.  Would not education fall under that?
I hope this helps.
Douglas V. Gibbs
Fellow, American Freedom Alliance
President, Constitution Association
Secretary, Birth Choice Centers, Inc.
Sentinel, Heritage Foundation
Senate District 28 Director, California Republican Assembly
Radio Host, KMET 1490-AM

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *