Some confusion as to what rights should be afforded to illegal immigrants in the United States may actually stem from the confusion of the general public about what rights are afforded to its citizens, in contrast with the rights that are afforded to residents devoid of legal citizenship. As the label suggests, illegal aliens are not legal citizens of the United States. Nonetheless, the idea that an illegal alien is not meant to have any civil liberties whatsoever is a contradiction of the terms under which the United States was founded.
While citizens are entitled to privileges that no other class of resident can touch, there are basic rights that apply even to illegal immigrants. However, throughout American history, courts and other official bodies have sought to prevent illegal alien groups from realizing their legal potential, so to speak. The following are considerations on what rights illegal immigrants should be afforded, and in turn, what rights should not be afforded, but are yet taken advantage of by undocumented foreigners and their employers:
The Constitution effect on legal residents
The issuance of public benefits have prompted frequent criticism of immigration reform and immigration law, revolving around the idea that deportation policies do not go far enough in protecting American interests. The people who draw these criticisms point to poor, unemployed illegal aliens and accuse them for hogging welfare monies, or for those who do work, Social Security benefits.
However, barring instances of fraud, an illegal alien will not be legally able to collect welfare assistance, and furthermore, while he or she may contribute to the Social Security program, without a Social Security card or lawful permanent residence, the odds of him/her collecting on that “investment” are slim.
The involvement of illegal migrant workers in the American workforce
The allowance of legal rights to illegal immigrant comprises one of the biggest arenas of discussion in the United States judicial system. In fact, several cases involving what liberties illegal aliens are afforded under the United States Constitution have gone to the Supreme Court, and the majority decisions overturned discriminatory statutes that sought to deny them these liberties.
It must be noted that the Constitution applies for all residents of the United States of America, not just citizens. Specific court cases have illuminated this principle, ruling, among other things, that an illegal alien is protected by the Bill of Rightshabeas corpus, and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, especially as it applies to the free public education of illegal immigrant children.