[Ilya Somin] The Case Against Deporting Immigrants Convicted of Crimes

Donald Trump recently described at least some immigrants as "animals" who must be deported. There has been much controversy over whether Trump meant to condemn undocumented immigrants generally, or just those who are members of the MS-13 gang. But few if any commentators question the basic idea that it is entirely justifiable to deport immigrants who are gang members, or commit other crimes. That view is common ground to almost everyone in mainstream politics, not just Trumpist immigration hawks. But, however popular it may be, that conclusion is wrong. Immigrants who commit offenses worthy of retribution should be punished. But they should not be subjected to any more punishment than native-born Americans who commit the same crimes. That means they should not be deported, unless deportation is also imposed on natives. I. How Deportation is Like Racial Discrimination. What can possibly justify such a radical and unpopular conclusion? The answer, I think, is that it is…

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