What are sections 1325 and 1326 of the US Code?
Sections 1325 and 1326, known as the illegal entry and reentry provisions, create a punishment for crossing the border. For example, the punishments include fines and possibly years in federal prison. To make matters worse, these provisions caused the family separation crisis of the Trump administration. With the zero-tolerance policy, the administration prosecuted and processed adults, forcing their children to be separated.
Where did these provisions come from?
Blease’s Law, or the Undesirable Aliens Act of 1929. History recognizes Blease as a racist, segregationist Senator from South Carolina. As a result, Blease tried to control Mexican migration to keep America pure and white. Blease and his colleagues used this law to enforce a punishment for crossing the border that would especially harm Mexicans.
Since then, the Department of Justice has prosecuted thousands of people, most of them from Mexican or central America. While the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 supposedly got rid of Blease’s Law, the illegal reentry provisions continued and affect people to this day. Notably, the Department of Justice has used these provisions to punish migrants, even against traumatized refugees. On the other hand, a federal judge in Nevada found § 1326 unconstitutional for violating the equal protection guarantee under the 5th amendment, which has caught the attention of the public. Knowing what we know, we must do better and eliminate these blatantly discriminatory laws.
Check out our last episode to learn more about whether migrants are increasing covid cases.
To learn more about the Undesirable Aliens Act of 1929, check out this useful Immigration History site. To learn more about the Nevada court’s order, check out this great article by the Nevada Independent News.