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Excerpted From: Kelly Lytle Hernández, Mae Ngai, and Ingrid Eagly , United States of America, Petitioner, v. Refugio PALOMAR-SANTIAGO. No. 20-437. (March 2021), Brief for Professors Kelly Lytle Hernández, Mae Ngai, and Ingrid Eagly as Amici Curiae Supporting Respondent, 2021 WL 1298527 (U.S.) (Appellate Brief), Supreme Court of the United States. (Footnotes) (Full Document)


To claim that the Undesirable Aliens Act of 1929 (8 U.S.C. 1326 ) was founded in anything but deep-seated racial animus is to ignore the words spoken on the Congressional floor in the 1920s that led to its passage. The congressional debates made clear that legislators saw Mexican immigrants as a “social problem” to be controlled because they were a threat to white hegemony. This perceived threat was the animating motivation behind the eventual passage of the Act and, in particular, the criminal entry and reentry provisions.