A little noticed provision slipped into the latest military funding authorization bill survived judicial scrutiny last week. While the provision only affects residents of Washington D.C. it could have ramifications nationwide.
The anti-immigration provision was allegedly added by Mitch McConnell in an effort to appease the Tea Party caucus. It reads, simply enough, “All non-native people residing within the boundaries of Washington, District of Columbia, shall be deported to their country of origin.”
A legal challenge to the provision went before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals where it was upheld. The Court noted Congress had the power to make laws affecting Washington D.C. The Court further ruled that the language “non-native” was not ambiguous – that the statute applied to any individual whose ancestry did not include the indigenous peoples of the North American Continent before the arrival of peoples of European descent. The Court also interpreted “residing” to mean individuals with permanent, seasonal, or temporary residence within the District of Columbia, and excluding those who visit, staying in the nation’s capital two weeks or less in any given year.
With its ruling, the temporary stay on enforcement will expire in 30 days, barring intervention by the Supreme Court. Given the 4 – 4 split on the Supreme Court, it is highly unlikely the matter will be taken up for review. By the end of May, 2016, virtually all Senators and Representatives will be deported back to their ancestor’s country of origin.