In response to a recent article published on IVN about the White House petitions page, some have argued that the rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution do not apply to people who are not citizens of the United States. Yet, this idea seems to misunderstand the meaning of the Bill of Rights.
The argument posed is that Piers Morgan’s right to free speech is not protected in the First Amendment because he is not a citizen of the United States. It is true that he is not a citizen, but he is a legal resident.
Currently, there is a petition on the White House petitions page to deport Morgan because he has been very outspoken about stricter gun control. Petitioners have called it an attack on the Second Amendment and the U.S. Constitution and now demand Morgan be deported because they do not agree with him.
Those that want Morgan out of the country because of his views on the Second Amendment likely believe that the Second Amendment protects a fundamental right. It is here that a paradox emerges.
The argument that Piers Morgan’s free speech is not protected by the constitution because he is not a U.S. citizen seems to imply that not only is the right reserved only for American citizens, but that it is also not a fundamental right.
The Bill of Rights mentions a number of rights and liberties, both individual and collective, that are not bestowed upon the people by the U.S. Constitution, but are guaranteed and protected by it. The right to free speech is not reserved for a select few, but is a right every man and woman is born with.
To say the U.S. government should deport someone who is a legal resident in this country merely because there are disagreements about what he or she said on a hotly debated issue is to say his or her speech is not free, because they are not a citizen. It is an elitist attitude, to say the least.
The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land. The rights protected therein apply to everyone living within its jurisdiction. To say otherwise is to claim our laws do not protect U.S. residents who do not have citizenship, which would be a misguided assumption to make.
Piers Morgan has a right to voice his opinion just like anyone living in the U.S. His words may be perceived by some as a verbal attack on the Second Amendment, but even it if was, how much influence does Morgan have on policy makers? He is not the first TV personality to call for strict gun control and he will not be the last.