Article One Section 9 of United States Constitution contains a provision, as a concession to the South, that the slave trade may not be banned by Congress until 1808. But the language of the provision seems odd to me:
"The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person."
On a plain reading, it seems like it would allow individual states not just to import slaves, but to carry out their own immigration policy, allowing anyone at all, even free people, to come into the country.
My question is, why would the language be so broad?
Is that really the meaning, or am I misinterpreting it?