The New Abolitionist Movement

The Case for Abolishing the Immigration Laws

By Eric Lerner

Jobs and Equal Rights for All Campaign

Since June, the slogan “Abolish ICE” has gone from fringe to mainstream, with even various Democratic politicians endorsing it. Although the slogan means different things to different people, for a large and growing section of activists, “Abolish ICE” means abolishing the entire system of immigration laws. Whether the slogan is “Freedom of Movement”, “Legalization for ALL” or “Equal Rights for All who Live Here”, this New Abolitionist Movement aims at eliminating all the repressive restrictions on how people move across borders to live where they choose. Potentially this movement, emerging in response to the global scapegoating of immigrants, can have as profound an impact on the struggles of all working people as the movement to abolish slavery did 150 years ago.

So what is the case for abolition of the immigration laws? Why does this new movement deserve all-out support from working people? What would be the effect of such abolition?

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Fact Sheet on Immigration

US immigration laws are unconstitutional:

The 14th Amendment, which guaranteed equal rights to African-Americans after the Civil War, says that no State may “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” This protects ALL persons, not just citizens. All who live here have equal rights. Detentions and deportations violate those rights.

The US Constitution grants no power to the government to exclude or expel immigrants. The 10th Amendment in the Bill of Rights states that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” So, powers not explicitly granted to the government don’t exist.

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