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The Fourteenth Amendment provides that '[n]o State shall . . . deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.'


Aliens, even aliens whose presence in this country is unlawful, have long been recognized as 'persons' guaranteed due process of law by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. Shaughnessv v. Mezei, 345 U. S. 206, 345 U. S. 212 (1953); Wong Wing v. United States, 163 U. S. 228, 163 U. S. 238 (1896); Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U. S. 356, 118 U. S. 369 (1886). The court has held that the Fifth Amendment protects aliens whose presence in this country is unlawful from invidious discrimination by the Federal Government. Mathews v. Diaz, 426 U. S. 67, 426 U. S. 77 (1976). It would be incongruous to hold that the United States, to which the Constitution assigns a broad authority over both naturalization and foreign affairs, is barred from invidious discrimination with respect to unlawful aliens, while exempting the States from a similar limitation. See 426 U.S. at 426 U. S. 84-86.


'The Fourteenth Amendment to ...

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