The Constitution and Immigration


This edition of Liberty Law Talk is a conversation with Vincent Cannato, author of American Passage: The History of Ellis Island, about America’s constitutional and policy history regarding immigration. In this podcast, we discuss the recent Supreme Court decision Arizona v. United States that substantially limited the rights of states to set their own immigration policy apart from the federal government. Cannato recounts the history of the authority exercised by the federal and state governments for immigration which diverges substantially from the holding in Arizona. In addition, we discuss at length the evolution of immigration policy from the early nineteenth century to present day. Our evolving immigration policy, to note one of Professor Cannato’s recent musings on the subject, closely tracks our expectations for the role of the federal government.

Vincent J. Cannato

Vincent J. Cannato teaches history at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and is the author of American Passage: The History of Ellis Island.

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