“All of a sudden, there was a rush, and people started to move in large numbers and, to be absolutely honest, if I had been in the same situation and I would have been brave enough to do it, I think I would have done the same.” – Antonio Guterres (TED)
If they really thought it through, constitutional scholar and Governor Greg Abbott and the others pushing back on refugee relocation in Texas would recognize that their opposition undermines an important constitutional right: the right to travel.
Suppose persons in one state were limited, by any state-imposed interest, in relocating to another state. In Paul v. Virginia, the Supreme Court confirmed the right of free ingress and free egress from each State to another as a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution. Thus for one state to apply different standards to those seeking to enter from another is not allowed.
In Saenz v. Roe, the Supreme Court confirmed why we do so. It is important to our way of life that one have:
- The right to enter one state and leave another;
- The right to be treated as a welcome visitor rather than a hostile stranger;
- For those who want to become permanent residents, the right to be treated equally to native-born citizens.
While to some Abbott and his fellow litigants may seem to implicate 2’s hostility, it is actually 3 that may be more important to America. If we are to have immigration, any immigration, it is important that we give a good account of ourselves. The alternative is an objectively weaker country and one that operates outside our current Constitution.