According to New York Magazine the Trump administration has “declared war” on immigrants. How so? It doesn’t want stoners with a connection to the violent trade in illicit drugs becoming U.S. citizens.
In a piece titled “USCIS: Immigrants Linked to Legal Weed May Be Morally Unfit for Citizenship,” the online news outlet recently claimed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that, “Immigrants with ties to marijuana, including in states where it has been legalized, can be denied U.S. citizenship.” According to NYMag, this, “is but the latest hard-line stance taken toward immigrants and immigration by the Trump administration.”
Of course, NYMag is completely mistaken. In reality, USCIS simply updated its Policy Manual, “to clarify that violations of federal controlled substance law, including violations involving marijuana, are generally a bar to establishing good moral character for naturalization, even where that conduct would not be an offense under state law.”
That shouldn’t surprise anyone. Applicants for naturalization have always been required to demonstrate good moral character. 8 U.S.C. § 1101(f)(3), which has been in effect since 1996, mandates that a “violation of any law on controlled substances, except for simple possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana, is a bar to the establishment of good moral character. Immigration law has long disfavored immigrants who display a propensity to disobey federal law.
In fact, the Trump administration hasn’t changed any of the laws or policies relating to naturalization. It has simply made it clear that the legalization of marijuana pursuant to state laws has not rendered the use, possession, or sale of cannabis lawful under federal statutes. And that should have been patently obvious to any news organization that did even a minimum of research on this issue.
Nevertheless, NYMag insists that the Trump administration is perpetuating “the antiquated notion that smoking weed is somehow immoral,” in order to deny citizenship to otherwise deserving immigrants “of color.”
But the woke smokers advocating on behalf of migrant marijuana users are missing the point entirely. The U.S. is a nation of laws. We expect citizens to obey our laws, state and federal. And we expect the same from migrants who wish to become members of our polity and our nation.
There is nothing remotely unfair about denying citizenship to immigrants who violate federal drug laws. Similarly, there is nothing inappropriate about charging U.S. citizens with federal drug violations, even when they live in states that have ostensibly “legalized” marijuana. Cannabis remains a prohibited drug under the Controlled Substances Act. And that will remain the case, unless Congress sees fit to amend that legislation.
The Trump administration isn’t waging a war on immigrants. It’s the victim of a war on immigration enforcement, waged by irresponsible journalists who opt to tell only part of the story whenever they encounter facts that don’t support their open-borders narrative.