As President Obama and Congress grapple for prominence in the debate over immigration, both have lost sight of the true nature of the issue at hand.

The issue the politicians and bureaucrats would rather avoid is the natural law. The natural law is a term used to refer to human rights that all persons possess by virtue of our humanity. These rights encompass areas of human behavior where individuals are sovereign and thus need no permission from the government before making choices in those areas. Truly, in the Judeo-Christian tradition, only God is sovereign — meaning He is the source of His own power.

Having received freedom from our Creator and, in America, thanks to the values embraced by most of the Founding Fathers, individuals are sovereign with respect to our natural rights. St. Thomas Aquinas taught that our sovereignty is a part of our human nature, and our humanity is a gift from God. In 1776, Thomas Jefferson himself recognized personal sovereignty in the Declaration of Independence when he wrote about Nature’s God as the Creator and thus the originator of our inalienable human rights.

The rights that Jefferson identified consist of the well-known litany of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. By the time his ideological soul mate James Madison was serving as the scrivener at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, the list of natural rights had been expanded to include those now encompassed by the Bill of Rights.

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