The Right to Travel: Breaking Down the Thousand Petty Fortresses of State Self-Deportation Laws
80 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2014 Last revised: 21 Nov 2017
Date Written: September 10, 2014
An examination of the use of the Right to Travel as a barrier to State Self-Deportation Laws.
The mass exodus from Albertville, Alabama was not the result of a natural disaster or fears of an invasion by hostile forces. Instead, the residents of Albertville fled Alabama exactly in the manner the state legislators intended when Alabama passed H.B. 56. Alabama’s H.B. 56 is part of a legislative strategy known as “self-deportation” - a term first used to satirize an early ancestor of H.B. 56 that was passed in California as a public referendum titled, Proposition 187. The satirical term transformed into public policy for states that were frustrated by a perceived lack of federal enforcement of immigration laws. The policy got national attention when Mitt Romney adopted self-deportation as part of his platform during the 2012 Presidential election campaign. Despite a national discussion on immigration generally, often self-deportation legislation remains a local or state based issue. In June of 2013, the town of Fremont, Nebraska successfully defended in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals a set of ordinances written to prevent undocumented immigrants from living in the city.
Keywords: Deportation, Immigration, Constitution, State sovereignty, pre-emption, right to travel
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