Those concerned about how illegal aliens are eligible to obtain special privileges not available to citizens because of their unlawful status may take heart in the fact that when these privileges involve rights protected under the U.S. Constitution, the grant of this special treatment is likely in violation of federal law. Not only that, but the persons granting these exceptions are specifically subject to criminal sanctions that superseded the normal immunities available to government officials for official acts. Not that the law was written with the intent of protecting citizens this way, but the plain language of the law is not too hard to discern.
Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death. (18 U.S.C. §242)
We already see plenty of special privileges extended to illegal aliens lately, whether it be that they’re excepted from providing valid identification to the Transportation Security Administration before boarding a flight, obtaining immunizations before enrolling in school, establishing legal domicile in a state in order to qualify for in-state tuition rates, qualifying for federal entitlement programs or being subject to penalties for failure to file income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service. The list of special exceptions to the law that are afforded to illegal aliens, but not American citizens is lengthly and growing. Should anyone take exception to a specific instance and successfully prove that a constitutionally-protected right was involved that this law concerns itself with, some government officials are going to end up in jail especially if “fair notice” of such discriminatory treatment had previously been provided sufficient to satisfy the standard established by United States v. Lanier, 520 U.S. 259 (1997).
Boy, would that change things quickly.
Civil rights laws protecting non-citizens from unfair treatment had to be crafted in a way as to ensure the standards applied to citizens and aliens were identical, otherwise they couldn’t possibly pass constitutional muster since similarly-situated people have to be treated in similar ways under the 14th Amendment and longstanding legal precedent. While the intent when these passed were to afford protections for aliens, the plain language of these laws does provide protections for citizens when they’re subjected to a different standard absent some reasoning that would survive the application of the legal standard of “strict scrutiny” that applies to all constitutionally-protected rights.
This presents an interesting legal opportunity to reign in all sorts of recent government malfeasance. I sure hope some attorney out there takes advantage of this opportunity to protect the interests of America’s most recent downtrodden class - the American citizen.
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