One cannot understand U.S. immigration law without understanding U.S. Constitutional law and the relationship between Constitutional law and all other areas of federal law (including immigration). In this lecture, we introduce the U.S. Constitution and the system of law that it has set up. We explore topics such as:
- The dual system of government set up in the United States - State and Federal and the relationship between the two;
- Federal jurisdiction: where the federal government has exclusive jurisdiction (such as with immigration), where it has concurrent jurisdiction with the States (such as with interstate lawsuits, which is called "diversity jurisdiction"), and where it has no jurisdiction (such as pardoning individuals convicted of criminal offenses under State law);
- State jurisdiction: where the State governments have exclusive jurisdiction (such as with crimes committed within a State, outside of federal property, and against individuals who are not employees of the federal government), where they have concurrent jurisdiction (such as with crimes committed in that State but on federal property), and where they have no jurisdiction (such as with immigration law or patent law);
- The First Amendment, including: freedom of speech, freedom of association, the free exercise (of religion) clause, and the establishment clause;
- Due Process (from the Fifth Amendment for the federal government and from the Fourteenth Amendment for the State governments).
- Equal Protection (from the Fifth Amendment for the federal government and from the Fourteenth Amendment for the State governments).