paul’s words

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WHOSE RIGHTS?  ALL PERSON’S RIGHTS

Kathleen Parker (columnist for The Orlando Sentinel, published in The Salt Lake Tribune, March 30, 2006) wrote “the right to protest was a gift from America’s Founding Fathers to the nation’s citizens... .” Not quite.

The Bill of Rights protects all, not only citizens, from government power: “Congress shall make no law...abridging...the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

New citizens could tell her that the right they gain with citizenship is the right to vote.

Freedom of speech, press, religion; freedom from unreasonable, unwarranted searches; freedom to remain silent, have a lawyer, confront witnesses - those rights are preserved to all persons. Amendment V: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital...crime, unless upon a presentment or indictment... .” Amendment VI: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial... .”

Every person here, citizen or not, is endowed with certain unalienable rights.

The “illegality” of some persons’ presence within the US carries no criminal sanction - at the moment. Do the people of the US want to spend money and court time to try (no deprivation of liberty without due process) and then incarcerate millions of persons?

Maybe privatized prison owners do.

W. Paul Wharton