Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Amicus Briefs Filed in US v. Carillo-Lopez, Challenging Illegal Re-Entry Law as Anti-Mexican and Racist


Check out immigration law professors challenging systemic racism in the enforcement of the criminal immigration laws.  Last week, the UCLA Center for Immigration Policy, the UC Davis Aoki Center for Critical Race and Nation Studies, and the Southern Poverty Law Center filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in United States v. Carillo-Lopez. In that case, Carrillo-Lopez argues that the federal criminal illegal reentry statute—the most prosecuted federal crime in the United States, and a key driver of mass incarceration for Mexicans in the United States—is unconstitutional because it was enacted to discriminate against Mexicans based on their race. A federal judge agreed with him, declaring the law unconstitutional. In U.S. v. Carillo-Lopez, Chief Judge Miranda M. Du, U.S. District Court, District of Nevada, ruled that:

"Carrillo-Lopez has demonstrated that Section 1326 disparately impacts Latinx people and that the statute was motivated, at least in part, by discriminatory intent . . .  [T]he Court reviews whether the government has shown that Section 1326 would have been enacted absent discriminatory intent. Because the government fails to so demonstrate, the Court finds its burden has not been met and that, consequently, Section 1326 violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment."

The amicus brief can be read here.  The UCLA press release lays out the brief's basic argument:

"Congress first enacted the illegal reentry statute in 1929 explicitly to keep the “Mexican race” out of the United States, it explains. Supporters called for the `protection of American racial stock from change through mongrelization.' Congressmen openly discussed the need to keep immigration limited to `white Northern and Western Europeans' and lamented Mexican `hordes' coming in `droves.' Unless they were excluded using the law, they and argued, from a `moral standpoint,' Latinos were `poisoning the American citizen.'

Those statements were made nearly one hundred years ago, but the law continues to work as intended to this day. In many years, approximately 99% of those prosecuted under the law are Latinos, overwhelmingly Mexicans.

[The] amicus brief therefore addresses a critical question: is the racism motivating the law’s original enactment still relevant nearly 100 years later? As the brief explains, the answer is `yes.'”


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