Section 2 - The Text
The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States. A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.
[No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.]10
10. Modified by Amendment XIII.
Section 2 - The Meaning
Article IV, Section 2 guarantees that states cannot discriminate against citizens of other states. States must give people from other states the same fundamental rights it gives its own citizens. For example, Arizona cannot prohibit New Mexico residents from traveling, owning property, or working in Arizona, nor can the state impose substantially different taxes on residents and nonresidents. But certain distinctions between residents and nonresidents—such as giving state residents a right to buy a hunting license at a lower cost— are permitted.
Article IV, Section 2 also establishes rules for when an alleged criminal flees to another state. It provides that the second state is obligated to return the fugitive to the state where the crime was committed. The process used to return fugitives (extradition) was first created by Congress and originally enforced by the governors of each state. Today courts enforce the return of accused prisoners. Fugitives do not need to have been charged with the crime in the first state in order to be captured in the second and sent back. Once returned, the state can charge the accused with any crime for which there is evidence.
In contrast, when a foreign country returns a fugitive to a state for trial, the state is only allowed to try the fugitive on the charges named in the extradition papers (the formal, written request for the fugitive’s return).
The fugitives from labor provision gave slave owners a nearly absolute right to recapture runaway slaves who fled to another state, even if slavery was outlawed in that state. This also meant that state laws in free states intended to protect runaway slaves were unconstitutional because they interfered with the slave owner’s right to the slave’s return. The adoption of Amendment XIII, which abolishes slavery and prohibits involuntary servitude, nullified this provision.