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Activism Tumblr CrossPost:Behind the Criminal Immigr - Morgan Dawn Livejournal:The Here And Now
The Here And Now
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morgandawn
Activism Tumblr CrossPost:Behind the Criminal Immigr
Posted in full at: https://ift.tt/2yMGdPm at June 26, 2018 at 10:00AM

Behind the Criminal Immigration Law: Eugenics and White Supremacy — ProPublica:

Saturday June 30, join a rally in your city: https://www.familiesbelongtogether.org/

“The history of the statute that can make it a felony to illegally enter the country involves some dark corners of U.S. history.

“In May 1918, after the U.S. had entered World War I, Congress passed a statute called the Passport Act that gave the president the power to restrict the comings and goings of foreign citizens during wartime. A few months later, however, the war ended — and with it, the restrictions on border crossings.

Federal officials saw potential in the criminal provisions of the Passport Act — a maximum 20-year sentence — as a tool for deterring immigration. So prosecutors ignored the expiration of the law and continued to indict migrants under the Passport Act for unlawful entry into the U.S.

Anti-immigration sentiment continued to climb and the rhetoric of the era has resonance today. One anti-immigration group at the time claimed that immigrants tended to be “vicious and criminal” — the “bootleggers, gangsters, and racketeers of large cities.” The war, Columbia University historian Mae Ngai has written, “raised nationalism and anti-foreign sentiment to a high pitch.”

In response, Congress began clamping down. With the Immigration Act of 1924, it capped the flow at about 165,000 people a year, a small fraction of previous levels The statute’s quotas curtailed migration from southern and eastern Europe severely. Another 1924 law — the Oriental Exclusion Act — banned most immigration from Asia. At the same time, Congress made it easier to deport non-citizens for immigration violations.

In 1925, a federal appeals court put a halt to the practice of indicting migrants under the Passport Act outside wartime. But immigration officials liked what they’d seen, and by 1927, they were working on a replacement.

Two men spearheaded the effort that would lead Congress to criminalize unlawful entry into the United States. They were motivated by eugenics and white supremacy….

..Despite the ACLU’s objections, a Republican-controlled Congress passed Davis and Blease’s bill in 1929. A Republican president, Herbert Hoover, signed it into law.

The law made it a crime to enter the United States unlawfully and, in so doing, “created the criminalization of the border,” Eagly said….

…But the law didn’t reduce migration. By 1933, the Labor Department concluded that its rosy outlook had been wrong. The 1929 law “does not seem to have the deterrent effect expected,” noted a Labor Department report published that year….

…Congress decided to reduce the penalties for unlawful entry — to a maximum of six months in prison. (It also added a felony provision for any additional illegal entry convictions.)

The change wasn’t driven by compassion or a shift away from criminalizing unlawful immigration. Rather, it anticipated the creation of federal magistrate courts that would handle the cases, according to Eagly, the UCLA law professor. A defendant facing a misdemeanor charge punishable by six months or less generally doesn’t have a right to a grand jury indictment or a jury trial. Once Congress established federal magistrate courts, prosecutors could bring criminal charges against far larger numbers of defendants….

…Convictions for immigration crimes now account for more than half of all federal criminal convictions.”

Tags:not a reblog, activism, PDWCrosspost

Tumblr post (this is likely a reblog, and may have more pictures over there)
June 26, 2018 at 10:00AM


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