Constitutional Confusion at Penn/Annenberg

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Last summer, the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APCC) at Penn elected to test Americans’ Constitutional awareness but may have contributed to historical misconceptions in the process.

“More than half of Americans (53 percent) incorrectly think it is accurate to say that immigrants who are here illegally do not have any rights under the U.S. Constitution,” the Annenberg Center claims. Yet and still, when they elaborate on that finding, they have to qualify it by using Supreme Court rulings because the original Constitution and Bill of Rights are so clearly geared towards American citizens:

“The APPC survey, conducted Aug. 9-13 among 1,013 adults in the United States, finds that 53 percent think that people who are here illegally do not have any rights under the Constitution. That incorrect belief is especially strong among self-identified political conservatives – 67 percent think it is accurate, compared with 48 percent of moderates and 46 percent of liberals.”

“In fact, immigrants who are in the United States illegally share some constitutional protections with U.S. citizens. More than a century ago, in Yick Wo v. Hopkins (1886), a case involving a Chinese immigrant, the Supreme Court ruled that non-citizens were entitled to due process rights under the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. Other cases have expanded upon those rights.”

 

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