Keep International Law Out of American Courts

Press Releases

September 4, 2019

IRLI fends off foreign interference in our immigration system

WASHINGTON – In federal district court in the District of Columbia, several illegal aliens have sued to reverse the denial of their asylum claims and their expedited removal from this country, claiming that international law gives them the right to enter the United States. The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case to explain that only American law matters in American courts; foreign law does not.

The aliens argue that American law should be interpreted to make it consistent with customary international law and treaties that Congress has never implemented. But IRLI demonstrates that American courts do not and should not give weight to such foreign sources. Rather, American law, enacted by the elected representatives of the American people, is the supreme law of the land under the Constitution. When an international custom or non-binding treaty conflicts with American law, so much the worse for the custom or treaty: American courts have no authority to enforce foreign legal standards.

IRLI also addresses the aliens’ argument that “all noncitizens” who touch American soil “generally have a right to apply for asylum.” In fact, not everyone can apply for asylum in the United States. IRLI cites specific statutory provisions that disqualify whole classes of aliens from applying for asylum. These statutory rules are supreme in America, even if foreign bodies such as the United Nations disagree.

“A nation without its own sovereign law is not a nation,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “As the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause make clear, the people are rightly governed only with their own consent, and by definition they have not consented to foreign law that has never been incorporated in U.S. law. This attempt by activists to override our laws is of a piece with their attempts to erase the border. Both attacks on American sovereignty must be rejected.”

The case is Kiakombua v. McAleenan, No. 19-cv-1872 (D.D.C.).

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • [email protected]

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