All Eyes Are on Texas
From the Tom Woods Letter:
All eyes are on Texas, with numerous states having indicated their support for the Lone Star State’s defiance of the federal government.
Constitutionally, Texas is on solid ground.
I’ve heard some people say this: since immigration per se is not mentioned in the Constitution (although naturalization is), then the relevant power rests with the states. Such people proceed to deploy this argument in defense of so-called “sanctuary cities.”
But if that argument can defend sanctuary cities, it can also and to the same extent defend the Texas move to try to staunch the flow of illegals coming through the southern border. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, after all.
Now you may say: Woods, I don’t care about the Constitution. I care only about liberty!
You are free to say and think such a thing, and other people are free to be curious as to what American history and its constitutional tradition might have to say about the present situation.
And the facts are these:
The United States is not now, never was, and was never intended to be, a single, undifferentiated blob whose central government exercised plenary power.
The states preceded the Union, the same way the bride and groom precede the marriage. The Declaration of Independence speaks of “free and independent states” (and by “states” it means places like Spain and France) that “have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do.” The British acknowledged the independence not of a single blob, but of a group of states, which they proceeded to list one by one.
The states performed activities that we associate with sovereignty. Massachusetts, Connecticut, and South Carolina outfitted ships to cruise against the British. It was the troops of Connecticut that took Ticonderoga. In New Hampshire, the executive was authorized to issue letters of mar
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