Rights of Non-Citizens

One of the most controversial issues in the past few years was Trump’s strict policies regarding immigrants. While known as the land of free, America has some of the most absurd protocols for its non-citizens, challenging the concept of fundamental human rights.

The question arises that while a non-citizen or a person claiming asylum might enjoy the protection under the flag, what are some of the rights that he will have to forgo. A non-citizen is defined as a person who is not a national of the state or place where he is residing.

Multiple conventions have been ratified by the United States that protect the rights of non-citizens. UDHR and ICCPR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.) are universally recognized by states. They have specific content that speaks against the non-treatment of immigrants. They focus on certain rights that should be provided to non-citizens. The deprivation of rights or derogation from these conventions is only allowed in scenarios where national security is in jeopardy, or the non-citizen in question affects national security.

Many rights can be taken away from non-citizens if national security becomes a priority, such as the right to freedom of expression and freedom to join unions, but the United States has ratified many minor conventions on immigrant and non-citizen rights. It allows the non-citizens and immigrants to order their lives and enjoy the same rights as the citizens. On paper, the non-citizens are entitled to enjoy many rights like the right to life and security of the person, including freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention, protection against arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence, equality before the courts, including the free assistance of an interpreter, the right to choose a spouse, to marry, and to found a family, freedom of thought, opinion, conscience, the right to retain the language, culture, and tradition, the right to transfer money abroad.

These are some of the rights that are non-negotiable to be provided to every non-citizen; other rights can be restricted. However, these rights are extremely limited for the non-citizens of the U.S.; despite the convention on discrimination, they still face great impartiality when it comes to employment, residence, any social interaction, financial transaction, and even face profiling by the authorities.

The U.S has to make great efforts to overcome the havoc that ‘making the walls’ caused in the previous years. There has been discrimination and reckless behavior by homeland security and authorities that have caused extreme controversy. Since the U.S has ratified these countless conventions, it should follow through with its compliance. To fix the system, there needs to be a just system with a sense of equity that is sympathetic towards these undocumented non-citizens. The U.S needs to create instruments that ensure compliance with the conventions and thus, make platforms to provide reparations to impacted non-citizens.


Authors at University of Minnesota, http://hrlibrary.umn.edu/edumat/studyguides/noncitizens.html

The Rights of Non-Citizens, https://www.ohchr.org/sites/default/files/Documents/Publications/noncitizensen.pdf

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