US law based on anti-Hispanic racism fuels immigration fight

LAS VEGAS (AP) — As thousands of children were taken from their parents on the southern border during the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal crossings, a federal public defender in San Diego has decided to find new strategies to deal with a longstanding deportation law fueling family separations.

The resulting legal defense that Kara Hartzler will help prepare in the coming years—a work that continued even after a judge suspended the general practice at the U.S.-Mexico border in June 2018—was unprecedented.

He exposed Section 1326 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which criminalizes illegal return to the US after being deported, expelled, or denied entry as racist and a violation of Fifth Amendment equal protection rights.

And it became the legal basis for an unprecedented decision in August 2021 by Nevada District Judge Miranda Du. She dismissed the law as unconstitutional and discriminatory against Hispanics when she dismissed an illegal re-entry charge against Mexican immigrant Gustavo Carrillo López, although she did not block enforcement and the prosecution did not stop as the government appealed the case.

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