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Like Fugitive Slave Laws, Deportation Is a Moral Loser

Thursday, March 2, 2017 12:18
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Donald Trump has launched a war on undocumented aliens on every front in the few short weeks he’s been in office. He is doubling down on his deportation efforts. And he’s backing these efforts by waging a rhetorical war , announcing a whole new government program called VOICE No Deportation— Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement – dedicated solely to demonizing these folks as “bad hombres” regardless of the actual reality.

But as Trump cranks up the deportation machinery, a resistance movement is also rising to challenge and subvert him. Indeed, for every 287(g) city that signs up to assist the feds in their deportation efforts, new sanctuary cities and civic groups are emerging to stop them, setting the stage for a moral showdown not unlike the one that the country saw in the run up to the Civil War, I note in my column at The Week.

Despite the obvious differences between slavery and immigration, fugitive slaves of yore and illegal immigrants of today have this in common:

“The same “rule of law” argument that was made to forcibly return fugitive slaves to bondage in the 19th century is now being made to forcibly return undocumented workers to their home countries, resulting in an escalating — and, paradoxically, ever more lawless — use of state violence.”

That’s the dynamic we witnessed then. And that’s the dynamic we are witnessing now. Will it turn out differently this time?

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