Court extends Second Amendment rights to undocumented immigrant
The decision comes in the case of U.S. v. Mariano Meza-Rodriguez, who pointed a weapon at someone during a bar altercation before fleeing. Meza-Rodriguez was subsequently caught, found to be in possession of a weapon and charged as an undocumented immigrant possessing a firearm.
Meza-Rodriguez was brought to the U.S. when he was a child by his parents but never became a citizen.
Meza-Rodriguez claims the prosecution violated his Second Amendment rights. Two lower courts denied that undocumented immigrants had any Second Amendment rights, but the 7th Circuit Court disagreed.
Chief Judge Diane Wood said in her opinion, “Meza-Rodriguez resided here from the time he arrived over 20 years ago at the age of four or five. He attended public schools in Milwaukee, developed close relationships with family members and other acquaintances, and worked at various locations. This is much more than the connections our sister circuits have found to be adequate.”
Rosemary Jenks, director of government relations with NumbersUSA, a Washington, D.C.-based group that supports controlled immigration, told the American Media Institute the decision is ludicrous.
“It is absurd in our view that a court could find no principal way to distinguish illegals from everyone else in the country,” she said. “There are differences between U.S. citizens, who are entitled to rights and protections, compared to those, such as those here illegally, who are not entitled to the full array of constitutional protections.”
Jenks argues undocumented immigrants, due to the 14th Amendment, are not under the United States' jurisdiction.
“Moreover, the Constitution gives Congress the power to set immigration laws any way they want to," she said. "Congress could pass a law that bans illegals form being here at all, or grant them the legal right to purchase weapons. For this [the 7th] court to say that illegals have constitutional right to bear arms when Congress banned them from bearing arms is a total contradiction. This ruling is going to go down as one of the most ridiculous in history.”
Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, also located in Washington, called the ruling “absurd.”
“The point is someone here illegally doesn’t have the right to obtain documentation to own a gun,” he said. “The rights of our Constitution are conditional if the alien can be here at all and those rights attached legal protection arguments. These rights are conditioned upon being lawfully in the country; someone living in Mexico doesn’t have a Second Amendment right to own a gun.”