Tuesday, May 23, 2017
A book chapter in Law Professor and Accidental Historian: The Scholarship of Michael A. Olivas (Ediberto Román ed.), Carolina Academic Press (2017)
In early 2017, Carolina Academic Press published an anthology of excerpts of the scholarship of Michael Olivas, along with accompanying essays from about 20 notable U.S. legal scholars, titled Law Professor and Accidental Historian: The Scholarship of Michael A. Olivas (ed. Ediberto Román). Given Michael's influence in the field of immigration law and policy, I reflected on his article The Chronicles, My Grandfather’s Stories, and Immigration Law: The Slave Traders Chronicle as Racial History,” St. Louis University L.J. 34 (1990). As one of the first legal writers on the Latina/o experience, Olivas in that article responded to Derrick Bell’s much-discussed chronicle of the space traders. As Olivas posited, Derrick Bell’s seemingly “fantastic” vision of a trade for the once-enslaved U.S. black population was neither fantastic nor unlikely to occur. Rather, it had already occurred throughout our sorry racial history with targets across the color line. In my essay, I examine and suggest a number of current groups the U.S. might readily bargain away, some even without the demand for valuable consideration in return. Sadly, should Bell’s alien spaceships arrive on U.S shores today, no doubt they might have several vulnerable groups to barter for their undisclosed needs for mass deportation. And perhaps a U.S. leader anxious to make that despicable bargain.