Volume 21, Number 2
N.O. Dollar Day
Readers & writers
Journal of 21st Yr
2008: What's New?
Waiting for War
Iraq War Vet
Dylan & Wainwright
Charlie Wilson's War
César cuauhtémoc garcía Hernández
NYT on Kosovo
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
Review: Deportation Nation
Daniel Kanstroom; Harvard University Press, 2007, 352 pp.
After last March’s immigration raid on a manufacturing plant in New Bedford, Massachusetts, several victims of the federal government’s military-style tactics filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that their constitutional rights were violated. The First Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Boston, recently released its opinion. According to the court, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE), the arm of the Department of Homeland Security charged with immigration law enforcement, acted “ham-handedly.” Whatever that means, it’s not a compliment.
Daniel Kanstroom’s Deportation Nation is an exhaustively detailed yet readable historical analysis of deportation law. Kanstroom, a law professor and immigration lawyer, explores the entire history of U.S. immigration law to find the threads that built the modern deportation law regime. Deportation law, he argues, has been used for two purposes: border control and post-entry social control. As he explains, the resounding calls to strengthen national security have facilitated the militarization of the border. Meanwhile, post-entry social control laws—that is, laws allowing deportation of individuals from the country’s interior—enable the propagation of a particular (if constantly shifting) image of the nation’s racial and political identity.
Kanstroom shows special ire toward the post-entry social control laws. These mark the critical distinction between laws that apply to citizens and those that apply to noncitizens. “Post entry laws,” he writes, “proscribe criminal or political conduct within the United States…. There is no requirement that a noncitizen be informed of them at entry. Indeed, they may be changed retroactively.”
By tracing more than a century of Supreme Court decisions he describes the court’s willingness to adopt a two-tiered legal system in which the Constitution protects some while ignoring others. The plenary power doctrine, he explains, allows Congress to make rules for noncitizens that would be illegal if applied to citizens. As former Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote in a 2003 decision: “This Court has firmly and repeatedly endorsed the proposition that Congress may make rules as to aliens that would be unacceptable if applied to citizens.”
Congress has used this remarkable power to target all variety of “undesirable” elements perceived as politicians’ latest disfavored group. In addition to the well-known targeting of leftists and a host of racial groups thought to be dysgenic or worse— from 19th century Chinese to today’s Latina/os and Arabs—Kanstroom also reveals some unlikely victims of deportation law. He traces one of the earliest instances of deportation to 17th century Acadians, French settlers along isolated stretches of present-day Maine, Nova Scotia, and other parts of Canada.
He argues that the modern deportation system owes important beginnings to the colonial practice of “warning out,” in which poor people were excluded or forcibly relocated from New England towns. Later, he writes, the Fugitive Slave Act became the first “large-scale, relatively efficient federal system for the forced removal of people from one place to another on the basis of rather scanty proof, with minimal or no judicial oversight, and with only the most flimsy constitutional protections.”
Through it all, Kanstroom’s depiction reads like a survey of radical leftist history. From attacks on the Industrial Workers of the World, to the deportation of Emma Goldman and the infamous Palmer Raids targeting untold numbers of anarchists, to the protracted efforts to strip unionist Harry Bridges of his citizenship for allegedly advocating communism, deportation law has frequently been utilized to quash political radicalism. This has been especially true within communities that, at the time, were considered non-white. For example, Goldman was a Russian Jew, anarchism was rampant among Italians, and J. Edgar Hoover deported Marcus Garvey.
Overall, Kanstroom’s account serves as a lesson in the fluidity of hysteria-driven scapegoating and the unparalleled flexibility of deportation law as a vehicle for the worst excesses of law-sanctioned attacks on human rights. He leaves little doubt that the modern deportation law regime functions as a coercive mechanism through which policymakers repeatedly assert control over people they perceive as unfit for membership in the national body.
This, perhaps, is the greatest quality that Kanstroom brings to the current immigration debate. The vivid account of court opinions and political machinations leaves no question that the recent ICE raids are in no way extraordinary. On the contrary, they are simply the latest manifestation of a century-old jurisprudence rooted in fear of the other—at times defined as members of a particular racial group, at other times adherents of a particular ideology.
Neither of these categories, of course, has ever been particularly well defined. For decades, courts struggled with how to classify particular individuals into existing racial categories. Syrians were sometimes white, sometimes not. One court said Asian Indians were white, then the Supreme Court said they were not. Mexicans became white partly because they were neither Black nor “Mongolian,” the other two options available at the time. On the political front, after being an anarchist became a crime and grounds for deportation, associating with anarchists was good enough to be labeled as such for purposes of deportation.
But, as Kanstroom suggests, the niceties of clear distinction has rarely been a value embraced by deportation law. The immigration “court” system is part of the executive branch rather than the judicial branch. Worse, in the last 20 years the immigration system has increasingly blurred the line between civil and criminal law. Prior to the 1986 immigration amendments that granted amnesty to millions of people already here while imposing, for the first time, sanctions on employers who hired undocumented people, immigration proceedings were considered solidly civil proceedings. To be sure, this was no rosy process for immigrants. The law was stacked against immigrants caught in deportation proceedings.
Because they are considered civil proceedings, deportation hearings do not guarantee most of the constitutional protections commonly associated with court processes. The secret evidence that the government has used in terrorism cases recently and that has been rightfully criticized has long been a part of deportation proceedings. Further, detainees who cannot afford a lawyer are not entitled to have the government provide one. Due process is defined as virtually whatever Congress decides it is. And that hallmark of democratic governance, the prohibition against ex post facto laws, does not apply.
Clearly things were bad before 1986. Since then, however, things have gone from bad to horrible to something worse than that. Almost 100 years after enacting the first deportation law, Congress decided to shift its focus from keeping people out to getting rid of people already here. Until 1986 deportations rarely exceeded 2,000 per year. In 1987 that number jumped to over 4,000. By the end of the 1990s over 40,000 people were being deported every year.
This increase can be credited in no small part to two laws passed in 1996 in the hysteria that followed the bombing of the federal courthouse in Oklahoma City—the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA). Enacted with President Clinton’s signature, these laws signaled an unprecedented expansion of grounds for deportation. Combined with other laws passed before and since, these laws expanded the definition of “aggravated felony,” a deportable offense, from three crimes —murder, weapons trafficking, and drug trafficking—to two subparts that could be applied retroactively and included such offenses as receiving stolen property and tax evasion. At the same time, federal courts were largely stripped of their power to review decisions made by immi- gration judges.
The last 20 years of post-entry social control laws have streamlined the deportation system. The result has been a much more efficient process. But efficiency in the context of a quasi-judicial system that excludes many of the Constitution’s guarantees is a polite way of saying, as Kanstroom does, “that deportation law was outside the mainstream of the U.S. rule of law.”
Since 2005 immigration has become a lightning rod in Washington, state capitals, and city halls. Presidential candidates are constantly questioned and, with a few notable exceptions like Representative Dennis Kucinich, all seem eager to show their toughness. Deport, deport, deport has become the new mantra. In this context, we would be wise to heed Kanstroom’s diagnosis: “As a 100-plus years social experiment, the U.S. deportation system has caused considerable harm and done little demonstrable good.”
César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández is an attorney. His articles have appeared in law reviews at Boston College, Loyola University New Orleans, and Seattle University, as well as magazines, newspapers, and online.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: email@example.com; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; email@example.com; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; email@example.com; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; email@example.com http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; email@example.com; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; email@example.com; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; email@example.com; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.