Page:The Green Bag (1889–1914), Volume 25.pdf/312

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The Administration and International Justice of State. That our states should feel free to deal with matters not expressly covered by treaties, yet to be amicably settled only through the usual diplo matic channels, is in the highest degree impolitic, even though the states are not exceeding their constitutional powers. Moreover, apart from considerations of policy, the United States owes cer tain obligations to the immigrant whom its laws do not exclude from this coun try, and to the nation from which he comes. The admitted alien, once he has settled in this country — and the right of immigration implies the right to acquire a permanent residence — is a member of our community and under the protection of its laws, and is not the less responsible to the community of which he is a part for the fulfillment of certain duties because the law regards him as still an alien. His obligation to obey the laws of the United States arises as soon as he enters the country. While it may not be true that naturalization, un der the existing state of the law, affects solely his political status and not his civil rights, that would seem to be the ideal meaning of naturalization. There are reasons why an alien should not be compelled to expatriate himself or to render himself liable to military service until he chooses to alter his political status, and why he should not become eligible for the franchise as soon as he enters the country, but there are no reasons why he should immediately not acquire purely civil rights and liabili ties in accordance with a wider applica tion of the principle of equal protection of the laws than was made in the San Francisco laundry case.1 While he re sides in the country he is a natural citizen, even though under political dis ability, and the fuller citizenship which 1 Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U. S. 356.


in course of time he may acquire by naturalization, while it may confer a new political status, ought not to confer a new civil status. The mere fact that an alien is admitted to the country ought to carry with it the recognition of his right to the usual incidents of residence, including the rights to acquire and possess real and personal property. If for any reason there is need of withholding these rights, he is not the type of alien who should have been admitted, and the remedy should be found in a change of the immi gration laws. If the naturalization laws exclude from naturalization certain aliens whom the immigration laws deem eligible for residence in this country, there is an injustice founded on inconsistency, and surely no ground is afforded for the argument that the rights of the alien ineligible for naturalization should be curtailed. Morally the admitted alien is equally entitled to certain primary rights, whether he is eligible for naturali zation or not, for his eligibility for naturalization does not affect those rights The but question is a right of of thea equity differentofkind. our naturalization laws is involved in the dispute with Japan, notwithstanding the effort to keep it in the background. We still have an antiquated naturalization law which is likely to lead to much dissension in future with Asiatic coun tries. The decision of the Supreme Court holding a Hindu eligible for naturalization, within the clause "free white persons," is a step in the right direction of liberalizing the law, but has already created a new problem, that of Hindu immigration, for this Govern ment. We do not desire a stream of Asiatic immigration to this country, but it is possible for us to impose restric tions on immigration without wounding the sensibilities of Asiatic countries, by