Last updated on: 1/30/2017 | Author:

Feb. 7, 1849 – Supreme Court Rules That Congress Alone Can Regulate Immigration

“Massachusetts and New York passed laws taxing and otherwise impeding immigrants. These were appealed to the Supreme Court, which struck them down in the ‘Passenger Cases’ of 1849 [both cases had a 5-4 vote], ruling that: 1) although the Constitution said nothing about immigration directly, it was clearly ‘foreign commerce,’ which the Constitution explicitly reserved to Congress; and 2) Congress’s jurisdiction was preemptive so that even in the absence of any federal legislation, state governments could not regulate immigration.”