A Provision of Immigration Law Has Been Ruled Racist
In a historical decision, a provision of immigration law has been deemed unconstitutional due to its racist origin, there’s chaos surrounding the Diversity Visa lottery due to delays and Trump-era policies.
Going through the immigration system alone is difficult, regulations and procedures change all the time, and if you don’t have the right strategy you can risk a lot, even getting deported.
I cannot guarantee you a specific result, as that would be lying, but I can guarantee you that I would use all my expertise and knowledge, and will fight till the end, to help you get the result you want.
A Historical Decision on Immigration Law
For our first topic, we’re going to talk about a historical decision that has ruled as unconstitutional an immigration law provision that makes it a felony for someone to reenter the United States after having been deported, all of this because it was based on a racist origin.
Currently, and since 1929, the immigration law has made it a misdemeanor to “enter the country unlawfully”, and a felony to “unlawfully reenter” after being deported.
Thanks to this, in recent years, most of all criminal prosecutions in federal court are made up of these “entry-related offenses”.
According to SCOTUSblog.com, more than 25,000 people were charged under the re-entry statute in the 2019 fiscal year, or roughly 30 percent of all federal criminal cases.
The Ruling of Judge Miranda Du
On August 18, Judge Miranda Du of the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada dismissed a case against Gustavo Carrillo-Lopez. He was indicted in 2020 in violation of a previous deportation order and being present in the U.S.
Judge Du’s ruling stated that the reentry provision “was enacted with a discriminatory purpose and that the law has a disparate impact on Latinx persons”.
As a result of this, she ruled that the provision violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.
Digging more on Judge Du ruling, she described the racist history of the reentry provision:
When this provision was first enacted into law, the immigration system was based on an explicit racist quota system that was intended to keep southern and eastern Europeans out of the U.S.
This system was created by lawmakers and “scientific experts” who were firm believers in eugenics, and the idea that white people from northern and western Europe were genetically superior to people from other parts of the world.
Racist History of the Provision
The law that made unlawful entry to a felon, conveniently called the Undesirable Aliens Act of 1929, was very explicitly created to keep Mexicans out of the U.S.
The lawmakers that drafted and supported that law were open about the fact that they believed that Mexicans were racially inferior to white Americans, and they created that law to keep them out.
In 1959, that law was superseded by the Immigration and Nationality Act, but even after that, the 1952 law incorporated the reentry provision of the 1929 law without rejecting or even acknowledging its racist origin.
Even Judge Du pointed out that the supporters of the 1952 law were also openly racists and used to refer to Mexicans with racial slurs, which I think, for respect, it’s better not to mention.
During this case, the defense called Benjamin Gonzalez O’Brien, an expert witness which is a political scientist at the San Diego State University.
He said that: “it’s fundamentally impossible to separate race and racism from immigration policing.”
He also mentioned that the U.S. immigration policy has always been guided by “the desire to shape the racial and cultural characteristics of this country.”
This ruling brings a hard truth to swallow, but the fact is that the immigration policy in this country has, and always has had, a strong racist background in it.
It’s difficult to accept it, but to this day, many of the immigration policies that are still in use were created by policymakers whose main agenda goal was to keep America “as white as possible”
That’s why this ruling and the stance Judge Du took is so important: we can’t start to fix things if we don’t first acknowledge what is wrong with them.
These are some very hard facts for people to accept, but accepting that is how we are going to change them and make a better system for all.
If you have been convicted of illegal re-entry you may be able to get your conviction overturned. Contact a competent attorney in New Jersey who handles criminal defense and immigration issues to evaluate your situation.
Diversity Visa Lottery
Our second topic of the day deals with the situation that is occurring with Diversity Visa Lottery winners.
For the second year in a row, there’s a chance that many of the diversity visa lottery winners won’t be able to come to the U.S. because the government can’t, or won’t, issue their visas in time.
Lottery winners from last year are still suffering the effects of the Trump-era policies, and this is producing a backlog under the current administration, creating an inability to issue diversity visas on time.
The consequences of this situation are that lottery winners from both years have taken their cases to court.
Along with this, a bill was introduced in the House of Representatives that would allow the winners to remain eligible for their visas even after the end of the year in which they were selected.
As you may know, the diversity visa program was first introduced to encourage immigration from countries that have been historically underrepresented in the U.S. immigrant population.
Diverse Visa Lottery Background
The program started in 1990, and every year grants 55,000 visas to nationals from the selected countries.
In the Fiscal year 2020, 23.2 million people filed applications for a diversity visa. This shows how intense the competition is and why they decided that the “winners” for this visa were chosen through a lottery.
Then, this program suffered a major setback. Under the Trump administration, a travel ban was instated for Muslim-majority countries back in 2017, commonly called the “Muslim Ban”.
After that, he went on to ban most immigration into the country in 2020, and with these bans came the shutdown of the diversity visa program.
When this ban took place, roughly 40,000 of that year’s diversity visas had not yet been issued. And according to regulations, if the government hadn’t issued those visas by the end of the fiscal year, on September 30, the intended recipients would lose their chance to immigrate to the United States.
What happened next? People that got denied their visas started filing lawsuits, resulting in a case that consolidated 5 lawsuits, finalizing in an order issued at a District Court for the District of Columbia, that forced the Trump administration to continue issuing diversity visas.
Along with this, the court ordered the Trump administration to reserve 9,095 visas for future processing pending the resolution of the case, and finally, on August 17, 2021, the court ordered the Biden administration to issue those diversity visas from Fiscal Year 2020.
Now that the Trump administration has ended, the effects of its policies are still being felt, and the diversity visa program is suffering in this new administration.
This is reflected by the remarkably slow pace the State Department is issuing the visas for the 2021 winners.
At the end of June 2021, the department had only issued 3,094 visas for the Fiscal Year 2021, and once again, if the winners of this year’s lottery don’t get their visas by September 30, they will lose their chance to come into the United States.
The State Department has said that the situation is so slow due to covid-19 and the fact that embassies and consulates are either closed or with a huge backlog.
But, what they fail to mention is that this comes also as a result of the fact that these visas are currently assigned the lowest priority level of any visa category.
And all of this backlog is again resulting in lawsuits. In June 2021, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of more than 24,000 winners of the 2021 diversity visa lottery, demanding that the Biden administration issue all this year’s diversity visas before September 30.
After all of this, it seems that Congress is taking action to try and give some relief to the winners of this program who got their visas denied.
Back on May 25, Representatives Ritchie Torres (D-NY) and Judy Chu (D-CA) introduced the Keeping Our Promise Act.
What this act would do is to allow lottery winners who were denied a visa because of Covid-19 restrictions, or the Trump-era travel bans to remain eligible for their visas.
This act would apply to the winners of any diversity visa lottery between 2017 and 2021. To conclude with this subject, it’s clear that it will take a long time to repair what the Trump administration did to the immigration system.
It inflicted huge damage to it and sent it back for several years but besides that, President Biden can and should be doing more to resume these activities and the visa processing abroad.
Ensuring that the winners of the diversity visa lottery as well as other solicitors can have their fair chance to come to the U.S.
Got Immigration Concerns? Talk to a New Jersey Immigration Attorney!
If you want to talk about your situation, your immigration case, find what options you can pursue to get your legal status, and solve your immigration situation in the country, please, reach out to us.
We can schedule a consultation to discuss your case, and if we can’t help you, we won’t take your money. Call our New Jersey immigration law firm today!