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The Fifth and 14th Amendments to our United States Constitution guarantee our right to due process. Due process affirms our right to be held innocent until proven guilty by a court of law that is composed of a jury of our peers. Then the equal protection clause requires that each state provide equal protection under the law to all people, “including all non-citizens” within its jurisdiction.

This little ditty was put in our Constitution to assure that we reject irrational or unnecessary discrimination against people belonging to various groups (German-Russians, for instance). The interesting note here is how many people are willing to apply these rights to their group but nobody else.

Both my loyal readers know that I’ve been saying walls create more problems than they solve. Think about the never-ending battle of the “haves versus the have nots” or the walls of Jericho, the Berlin Wall and the great Chinese wall that can be seen from space — all of them have been breached by folks who either wanted to get out or get in.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a firm supporter of our constitutional rights. Some of you may recall all the effort we’ve put into not only preserving them as well as trying to propagate these “human rights” around our globe (think World War I, World War II, etc.). Contrary to what some would like us to think we’re not being invaded by some dark-complected hoard.

The issue can’t be solved with a wall alone; walls can create funnels to legal entry, so if we truly believe that all men are created equal and entitled to the assumption of innocence until proven guilty we need to create an army of judges rather than sending our military to our boarder (which is unconstitutional). The language is “including all non-citizens,” which means that anyone entering our country, legally or illegally, is entitled to their day in court. So my question is “Are we going to fund the real solution to this issue or once again try everything else before we do the right thing?”

Here’s the data that I heard on NPR from an immigration judge. The backlog exceeded 1.2 million cases in 2017. There are two types of judges: those who hear detention cases and those who process the others. The average case takes over two years and the judges’ caseloads average over 4,000. Obviously the entire immigration system is stuffed to the gills.

There are two types of illegal immigrants, improper entry and unlawful presence. Entry is someone who jumps the wall, and presence is someone who overstays their visa. The latter far outnumber the former, but the former has become the hot-button issue.

Immigrants can only enter this country through designated immigration centers and attempting to elude inspections or concealing, falsifying material from immigration officers is cause for deportation. Even then the person gets a hearing that proves his innocence or guilt using the standard of reasonable doubt.

Then there are the refugees/asylum seekers, folks who have to prove that they reasonably fear persecution in their home country and that persecution was due to their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or because of their political opinion.

I’ve always been proud to live in the Peace Garden state, which means we’re close to the longest un-walled peace-filled international boarder in the world. As such it really rankles me when I hear too many folks willing to forgo the basic principles that really make this country the greatest in the world. For the record, I’m willing to fight to keep it that way— better yet, I think that’s what Jesus would do, too. Here’s hoping that you never have to abandon your life here or have to live in a place where such rights are denied.


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Dan Ulmer is a parent, grandparent, as well as a retired teacher, counselor, politician, lobbyist, public employee, nonprofit executive and opinionated citizen who believes that we need to do what we can to leave the world better off than we found it.