Turning Point In The US Immigration Crisis
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Reality Approach: A Turning Point In The US Immigration Crisis

Is this a Turning Point In The US Immigration Crisis? The signs are many, and striking. The laws themselves have not changed since the passage of Bill Clinton’s Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act in 1996. For so many years, it has been legal and a perfect way to deport people who have lived here for decades, to chase down non-citizens in communities across America as well as to separate families. As a result, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) claims it may detain even US citizens indefinitely, as long as a removal proceeding is under way.

A Turning Point In The US Immigration Crisis

On 28 June 2019, according to report, migrant children who have been separated from their families walk at a detention center in Homestead, Florida. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in 1845;

I have lived all my life without suffering any known inconvenience from American slavery I never saw it; never heard the whip; I never felt the check on my free speech and action”.

At the time these lines were written by Emerson, slavery had already been a sordid fact of American life for more than two centuries. However it was something of an abstraction for the celebrated writer. In 1783, Massachusetts had outlawed the practice and Emerson who lived in Concord had little first-hand experience of the south. Emerson was content to disapprove from a distance e without doing anything in particular about the “peculiar institution”.

The change was not as a result of anything new in the circumstances of those enslaved on southern plantations. The brutality in their everyday lives had been going on for generations. The passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850 made it illegal for northerners to assist escaping slaves. Harboring a fugitive slave in a free state is seen as a crime since 1793. It was under this very act that Solomon Northup was kidnapped and taken to a plantation in 1841 – an ordeal he later memorialized in his book “12 Years a Slave“. However, the new law was more of a nightmare than its predecessor: it gives federal officials the right to assist slave hunters in their wretched task and stripped away all due process protection for their victims. This fifty enactment was made by individuals who can read and write in the 19th century.

For Emerson and many of his peers, they believe that the new statute allows the cruelty and inhumanity of slavery to be shoved right under their noses. As fugitives were detained and shipped back down south, it gave room for demonstrations and repeated riots in Boston. Vermont and Wisconsin passed legal measures created in order to invalidate the law. For many in the north, there was a decisive shift in consciousness, as the abstraction of human chattel became very much a matter of flesh and blood.

The Latest Major Trump Resignations And Firings

However, two things have changed. First is a stepped-up enforcement regimen whose latest chapter unfolded on 22 July, when the administration of Trump announced the beginning of an “expedited removal” program. The new program trashes due process protections just like the Fugitive Slave Act: immigrants found guilty can be removed without an administrative hearing or access to an attorney. According to the Migration Policy Institute, almost 300,000 immigrants may now face rapid deportation.

As a matter of fact, the ‘expedited removal’ program is guaranteed to ensnare many more lawful residents as well as US citizens – although, ICE officials do no possess any more statutory rights over citizens than slave hunters had over Solomon Northup, who was a free man at the time of his abduction.

The second great change is in public consciousness. The evidence/pictures of underaged children who have been separated from their families, pictures of detained immigrants in cages, sleeping on concrete floors and been forced to drink from toilets – these images alone have accomplished what a thousand policy arguments could not. They have led to mass protests in some communities like Chicago, Washington, New York, Seattle, Phoenix, and many others. According to report, a crowd marched on a hastily erected tent city where DHS was holding hundreds of unaccompanied minors in Texas, and in Colorado, protesters were seen storming an ICE facility and hoisting the Mexican flag overhead.

Is This A Turning Point In The US Immigration Crisis?

An awakened conscience can go only so far. It will take much more for the laws to be abolished behind the pens in our deserts and the ICE raids on our cities. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t public outrage over the Fugitive Slave Act that led to the final erasure of slavery in the United States. That required the bloodiest war in American history. It will be hard to conquer the current wave of xenophobia, which is aided and abetted by the crudest and most heartless opportunist ever to occupy the White House. But hearts and minds are very important to any hope of change.


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