Upholding the rights of immigrants is important to us all. The fundamental constitutional protections of due process and equal protection embodied in our Constitution and Bill of Rights apply to every "person" and are not limited to citizens.

The Bill of Rights does not grant foreigners the right to enter the United States, but once here, immigrants are entitled to certain broad constitutional protections.

Due Process: The right to be treated fairly, whether in a deportation hearing or a criminal court proceeding, applies to every person within U.S. borders.

Equal Protection: Prohibits discrimination based on race or national origin.

Free speech and Religious Freedom: An alien's rights are protected under the First Amendment.

Children seeking asylum

Many of these children ­– some as young as four – are from Guatemala, El Salvador, and the "murder capital" of the the world, Honduras. They are fleeing rampant drug, gang, and sexual violence. Some don't survive the long and perilous journey. Others fall into the hands of traffickers, where they can be robbed, raped, kidnapped, abused, or abandoned.

Under our laws, we do not turn away children or adults who come here fleeing violence.

The Constitution is not expendable and its principles define us as a nation.

The right to have their cases heard, and to a fair process, is a fundamental American value, enshrined in the constitution. No child should be deported without a fair hearing before an immigration judge or without legal representation.

There is a legal framework in place to review the claims of those who are seeking refuge and protection from trafficking. Short changing this process means short-changing our constitutional principles.

Read more about the plight of these children and the laws that should protect them

Child refugees should get due process

Know Your Rights

What to do if you're stopped by police, immigration agents or the FBI English

Qué debe haver si la policía, agentes de inmigración o el FBI lo detienen Spanish