Seceded California and immigration law

Mark Tushnet mtushnet at
Thu Feb 15 11:22:42 PST 2007

What are the implicit assumptions here about regulation of immigration from
the (remaining) United States?

Mark Tushnet
William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law
Harvard Law School
Areeda 223
Cambridge, MA  02138
ph:  617-496-4451 (office); 202-291-6352 (home); 202-374-9571 (mobile);
617-496-4866 (fax)

-----Original Message-----
From: conlawprof-bounces at
[mailto:conlawprof-bounces at] On Behalf Of Volokh, Eugene
Sent: Thursday, February 15, 2007 2:08 PM
To: conlawprof at
Subject: Seceded California and immigration law

	Let me briefly elaborate on my earlier question:  Say you were a
citizen of a seceded California, which had the following demographics:

	Population 36 million.
	26% foreign-born.
	18.5% non-citizen (inferred from data on voting age population;
actual number probably a little higher).
	Some unknown percentage illegal aliens.
	39.5% of 5+-year-olds have a language other than English spoken
at home.
	20% speak English less than very well.
	2/3 of the non-English-at-home speakers speak Spanish (I'm
inferring from the numbers for Western states generally).

	(Sources:; .)

	What constitutional rules, if any, would you adopt with regard
to immigration, naturalization, and assimilation?  Even if you support
relatively open borders for the U.S., would you support them for a
California?  (What if the rest of the U.S., which will then be a lot
more red, cuts down on immigration, so that blue California with its
pro-immigration policy will attract still more immigrants?)  What would
happen to California politics if, say, 10 million new immigrants arrived
from Mexico?  What would happen to California attitudes on abortion,
homosexuality, separation of church and state, and a variety of other

	As you might gather, my view is that a fairly open immigration
policy, which I think might well work for a nation of nearly 300 million
people, poses far less potential problems -- including the risk of
change to nonimmigration constitutional doctrines related to culturally
contested questions -- than such a policy for a smaller state.  Would
others agree?

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