MALDEF

Undocumented Immigrants DO Have Legal Rights - VIDEO

False Claim: Undocumented immigrants have no legal rights.

BECK: Let me get something straight here for those illegal aliens that might be watching the program. You have human rights. You do not have legal rights.1

(CLICK ON OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO BELOW)
Truth:
Undocumented immigrants DO have legal rights under the U.S. Constitution and federal statute.
As far back as 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that:

“The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution is not confined to the protection of citizens. It says: ’Nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law.’ These provisions are universal in their application to all persons within the territorial jurisdiction, without regard to any differences of race, of color, or nationality; and the equal protection of the laws is a pledge of the protection of equal laws.” 2

All persons in the U.S., therefore, have constitutional rights. Among these are the right to equal protection of the law and the right to due process.

Also, undocumented persons have a constitutional right under the Fourth Amendment to deny any officer from entering their residence without consent, absent a search warrant.

Further, the Supreme Court has held that all children, regardless of their immigration status, are entitled to free public education, as required under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. 3

Additionally, under federal law publicly funded hospitals must provide emergency medical services to all patients, regardless of their immigration status. 4  Immigrants are also protected from workplace discrimination under state and federal laws.

Moreover, under federal law, a person may recover money damages for loss of property, personal injury or death where damages occurred as a result of the “negligent or wrongful act or omission of any employee of the Government while acting within the scope of his office or employment, under circumstances where the United States, if a private person, would be liable to the claimant in accordance with the law of the place where the act or omission occurred.” 5

These are just a few of the rights that our Constitution and federal laws grant to all persons living in the U.S. These rights are intended to protect all U.S. residents from discrimination and arbitrary government action. These rights are especially critical in times where hatred based on race, color, and national origin is on the rise.

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1. Glenn Beck. CNN Headline News. February 7, 2007.
2. Wong Wing v. United States, 163 U.S. 228 (1896)
3. Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982)
4. 42 U.S.C. § 1395dd, Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1986 (EMTALA).
5. The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346(b), 2671-2680.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund