The Contradiction of Crimmigation

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This essay argues that we should find Crimmigration, which is the collapsing of immigration law with criminal law, morally problematic for three reasons. First, it denies those who are facing criminal penalties important constitutional protections. Second, it doubly punishes those who have already served their criminal sentence with an added punishment that should be considered cruel and unusual (i.e., indefinite imprisonment or exile). Third, when the tactics aimed at protecting and serving local communities get usurped by the federal government for immigration enforcement purposes, they often undermine these original aims or get used in ways that conflict with the U.S. Constitution. These concerns should prompt us therefore either to reject the government’s plenary power over immigration or require the federal government to be more consistent about maintaining the separation between criminal law and immigration law.
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