In 2004 the late United States Senator from West Virginia, Robert Byrd, convinced the Congress to pass a law that requires all colleges and universities receiving federal aid to have an annual program on the Constitution. Sept. 17, the day when the Constitution was enacted in 1787 has since been referred to as Constitution Day. For the past six years our Village Justice Court invites distinguished speakers to address different aspects of the Constitution on that day, Sept. 17.
Up until now our focus has been on the Bill of Rights or the first 10 amendments of the Constitution adopted in 1791. Our programs have included the First Amendment’s speech, association and religion provisions; the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms and the Fourth Amendment’s search and seizure mandates.
In 2015 we intend to branch out by joining in the national debate regarding the 14th Amendment and immigration. The 14th Amendment was adopted in 1868. It provides that all persons born or naturalized in the United States are citizens of the United States with all the privileges or immunities attendant thereto. This language would seemingly protect so-called “anchor babies” against deportation even if they are the offspring of undocumented or illegal immigrants. This will be part of our program to which you are invited—Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. at Village Justice Court where we will address the impact of immigration, both legal and illegal, in our schools and village.
Ultimately we are hopeful that our program may provide solutions to a vexing problem that thus far has escaped concrete resolution except for the dogmatic, pandering rhetoric of some. Let’s learn more together about the issues and find solutions to them. I look forward to seeing you on Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. at Village Hall, 235 Lincoln Place, in Westbury.