Native American sovereignty and immigration

Just saw on my FB feed someone suggesting that Native tribes should grant Dreamers permanent residency on their tribal lands, thus protecting them from deportation.

Without getting into whether this would be a GOOD idea, is it something they could actually do? Or does Federal law override tribal sovereignty in this instance?

I saw that same thing too. My immediate thought was, “if Native American sovereignty was exempt from Federal laws, there would be marijuana cafes and growing operations in every reservation.” Which there aren’t, suggesting to me that whoever came up with this meme doesn’t understand the law.

You know what some of the poorest, most unemployed communities on some of the worst land in America really need? Millions more people.

ETA: and never mind–that’s getting into the “is it a good idea.”

Native American Tribes are sovereign wrt to the states, but the federal government still exercises plenary power over them, and the SCOTUS has ruled that immigration is controlled by the federal government. Facebook is not a good source of facts.

The reason casinos can operate on reservations is because in many cases state laws don’t apply. There’s no federal law against gambling.

However, there are federal laws against marijuana, and there are federal immigration controls. In fact, only the federal government has the authority to enforce immigration controls. So ICE can and will enforce national immigration law on reservations, just like they enforce it on state lands.

It’d throw a monkey into the works for sure though. However, I don’t know how law-enforcement would work on a reservation. Would the local PD be allowed to roll in and take a look to escalate to the Federal level?

I’d imagine that ICE relies on some info from the state/local levels for enforcement.

Federal agents would not be thwarted from entering a reservation. Remember, the “sovereign” part applies to their relationship with the states, not the feds. And I don’t know many DREAMERS who would want to move onto a reservation in the first place. It’s not like those areas are teaming with job opportunities, and it’s not like the Indian Tribes want non-Tribal people on their lands anyway.

This would never come to pass, but if it did, it would just give the Feds an leg up on knowing where to find the DREAMERS. Get them all onto reservations, and it would be easy to round them up.

Oh, sure. Because that went so well the last time they allowed immigrants into their territories.

Thanks for the answers. That’s what I figured.

I think this is a mix up of a better (sounding) idea. The idea isn’t to move everyone to a reservation because laws don’t apply there, it’s that Native Americans have US citizenship (true), and tribes have sovereignty to determine who qualifies as a citizen of the tribe (true), so maybe they could allow illegal immigrants to become members of the tribe in return for a payment or a yearly tax, and thus they would gain US citizenship (dubious). The immigrant wouldn’t live on the reservation or even meet the tribe, they would just gain tribal citizenship which would give them US citizenship, in theory.

There have been faketribes selling citizenship to illegal immigrants. I don’t know if a legit tribe could find enough loopholes to actually do it or not. And even if it did, the government would probably put an end to it real quick. Plus, as far as I can tell, no one has asked any tribes what they think about it and they’re usually super picky about who joins the tribe.

No, you don’t become a US citizen because some tribe accepts you onto its rolls. And if they accept you, then you get a claim to any payouts that might be coming the tribe’s way in the future. Not gonna happen.

Perhaps I misspoke and the theory would grant legal residency instead of citizenship. Since some tribes extend into Mexico and Canada, there are already sections of federal law that deal with non-citizen tribal members.

Not really. Some departments have entered into programs that make them close partners with ICE. For the most part the only info that goes between local departments and ICE is “Hey we just arrested this guy on a state charge and it looks like he’s an illegal alien. You want him?” If they do then they issue a detainer. For the most part that’s what local police have to do with immigration and that’s what sanctuary laws will stop. Criminals will be released from police custody without ICE being notified. Local law enforcement is not calling up and telling ICE what stores people hang out in front of looking for day work.

It should also be pointed out that Native Americans were not citizens of the United States until 1924 with the Indian Citizenship Act, although voting rights weren’t conferred to all of those granted citizenship until the late 1950’s

There were exceptions to this rule but:

The Nationality Act of 1940 granted citizenship to all people born on U.S. soil, however it took time for that to actually filter through to the native nations. State laws and protests make this a complex subject. Events differ on a state to state and treaty to treaty basis but these actions happened after most of the treaties had been created with the native peoples.

We need to remember that these are individual agreements for the most part members with treaties weren’t universally granted citizenship themselves at the points in history when the removal act or individualized reservations were implemented.

In general disputes over sovereignty have rarely reached a conclusion that was in the native peoples favor.

Probably super picky because the last foreigners they allowed in brought plagues, stole their land and decimated their culture.

There’s also the fact historically Hispanics and Native Americans in the Southwest tended to hate each other even before the Americans showed up.

Fwiw, you don’t have to live on the Reservation to be included on the tribal roll.
The Native tribes aren’t known for accepting non-native peoples on to the roll. Even if they could legally do as much.