Racially discriminatory immigration policies

On Behalf of | Aug 27, 2021 | Blog, Immigration |

Many of the former president’s immigration policies are now being revoked under the current administration. The latest in a series of immigration policy walls tumbling down is a reversal of a ruling that has implications for deportees who returned to New Jersey without authorization.

Court rules on reentry procedures

A chief U.S. district judge in Nevada handed a victory to a defendant who was deported but returned to the U.S. without documentation. The former president’s Department of Justice charged him under Section 1326 of the Undesirable Aliens Act, or UAA, with a felony. The defendant fought to have his conviction overturned, arguing that his Fifth Amendment rights to equal protection under the law were violated.

Two professors provided expert testimony in support of the defendant. The district judge carefully considered their testimonies, which affirmed the inherent racial bias in the UAA’s Section 1326, which was passed in 1952. She concluded that the law’s tenets did project an unfair burden onto those who were charged under it. At the heart of Section 1326 was a discriminatory policy that disproportionately impacted people of Latin descent. The judge went even further by stating that the government did not prove that this immigration law would have taken effect if the prejudicial racial component were missing.

The crux of the argument

The DOJ contended that the main purpose of Section 1326 concerned foreign relations, national security and economics. The office maintained that the offensive racial language used in the UAA’s original legislation, passed in 1929, was missing from Section 1326 in its 1952 passage. However, the Nevada judge noticed that much of the same discriminatory language was used in both 1929 and 1952, including the use of derogatory terms expressly used for Latinos. She also noted that President Truman vetoed Section 1326, believing that such inequitable race-specific measures would exacerbate the already harsh immigration policies on the books.

The DOJ has not yet publicized whether it will appeal the judge’s decision. However, the former president’s tough stance on immigration is continuing to crack under the current administration.