Andrew Napolitano has a new op-ed at LewRockwell.com entitled Immigration and Freedom, and it addresses the fundamental, individual right to move freely. Here is a brief excerpt:
As President Obama and Congress grapple for prominence in the debate over immigration, both have lost sight of the true nature of the issue at hand.
The issue the politicians and bureaucrats would rather avoid is the natural law. The natural law is a term used to refer to human rights that all persons possess by virtue of our humanity. These rights encompass areas of human behavior where individuals are sovereign and thus need no permission from the government before making choices in those areas. Truly, in the Judeo-Christian tradition, only God is sovereign – meaning He is the source of His own power.
Having received freedom from our Creator and, in America, thanks to the values embraced by most of the Founding Fathers, individuals are sovereign with respect to our natural rights. St. Thomas Aquinas taught that our sovereignty is a part of our human nature, and our humanity is a gift from God. In 1776, Thomas Jefferson himself recognized personal sovereignty in the Declaration of Independence when he wrote about Nature’s God as the Creator and thus the originator of our inalienable human rights.
The rights that Jefferson identified consist of the well-known litany of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. By the time his ideological soul mate James Madison was serving as the scrivener at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, the list of natural rights had been expanded to include those now encompassed by the Bill of Rights. Yet again, the authors of the Constitution and its first 10 amendments recognized that the rights being insulated from government interference had their origin in a source other than the government.
This view of the natural law is sweet to the heart and pleasing to the ear when politicians praise it at patriotic events, but it is also a bane to them when it restrains their exercise of the coercive powers of the government. Thus, since the freedom of speech, the development of personality, the right to worship or not to worship, the right to use technologically contemporary means for self-defense, the right to be left alone, and the right to own and use property all stem from our humanity, the government simply is without authority to regulate human behavior in these areas, no matter what powers it purports to give to itself and no matter what crises may occur. Among the rights in this category is the freedom of movement, which today is called the right to travel.
The right to travel is an individual personal human right, long recognized under the natural law as immune from governmental interference. Of course, governments have been interfering with this right for millennia. The Romans restricted the travel of Jews; Parliament restricted the travel of serfs; Congress restricted the travel of slaves; and starting in the late 19th century, the federal government has restricted the travel of non-Americans who want to come here and even the travel of those already here. All of these abominable restrictions of the right to travel are based not on any culpability of individuals, but rather on membership in the groups to which persons have belonged from birth.