I've been watching a lot of 1st Amendment audit videos and I understand that filming in public is guaranteed to any US citizen. I also understand that if no crime is committed, no US citizen cannot be asked to identify himself, or when asked can cite his constitutional right to film in public. The police have no way of lawfully forcing an individual to show an ID. However in order to use your constitutional rights you have to be a US citizen, therefore if someone is quoting their right to film in public should they not prove by providing a passport or birth certificate they are US citizens and therefore under constitutional protection?

  • 1
    "in order to use your constitutional rights you have to be an US citizen": this is false. Why would you think it to be true?
    – phoog
    Jun 15, 2020 at 4:23

2 Answers 2


Only for certain parts of the constitution, and not for the parts you are asking about.

Accordingly, the Supreme Court has squarely stated that neither the First Amendment nor the Fifth Amendment "acknowledges any distinction between citizens and resident aliens."13 For more than a century, the Court has recognized that the Equal Protection Clause is "universal in [its] application, to all persons within the territorial jurisdiction, without regard to differences of ... nationality."14 The Court has repeatedly stated that "the Due Process Clause applies to all 'persons' within the United States, including aliens, whether their presence here is lawful, unlawful, temporary, or permanent."15 When noncitizens, no matter what their status, are tried for crimes, they are entitled to all of the rights that attach to the criminal process, without any distinction based on their nationality.16

Are Foreign Nationals Entitled to the Same Constitutional Rights As Citizens? - David Cole, Georgetown University Law Center

  • What about visiting foreigners, who are neither resident aliens nor citizens? Jun 14, 2020 at 23:35
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    @MichaelHardy the full text of the linked study speaks to that I think - the quote above does mention "resident aliens" in one part, but in others it talks about non-citizens regardless of status. There is no single ruling on this, but there seems to be a nice body of individual rulings which can be leant upon to provide a basis for an answer.
    – user28517
    Jun 15, 2020 at 0:29

I also understand that if no crime is committed, no US citizen cannot be asked to identify himself

That is incorrect.

When it comes to the fourth amendment, the constitution states "the right of the people", not the right of the citizens of the United States.

Please also note that when the constitution talks about voting rights, the constitution has no trouble using the words "the right of citizens of the United States".


  • Strictly speaking, it is not false, but incomplete.
    – ohwilleke
    Jun 15, 2020 at 0:12
  • How do you reconcile this interpretation with the similar wording and the generally accepted opposite interpretation of the second amendment?
    – Matt
    Jun 15, 2020 at 14:47
  • @Matt, Non-citizens can join the US Military. Why couldn't they join a well-regulated militia too? In any case, it sounds like you're asking a completely new question. You should do that before a mod erases both our comments. Jun 16, 2020 at 4:27
  • @Stephan No Im not. Im using a counter example, phrased as a rhetorical question, to point out why your reasoning doesnt hold. Also, you should be aware that Heller ruled that the second amendment doesnt have anything to do with membership in a militia since, as you put it here, the constitution states "the right of the people not the right of the [militia]".
    – Matt
    Jun 16, 2020 at 10:59

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