Posted on May 23, 2023

9th Circuit Court Reverses Ruling That Struck Down Deportation Law as Racist

Rio Yamat, Associated Press, May 22, 2023

A federal appeals court has reversed an unprecedented ruling in Nevada that struck down a longstanding U.S. deportation law as racist and unconstitutional.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said Monday in its long-awaited decision that Section 1326 of the Immigration and Nationality Act – which makes it a crime to return to the U.S. after deportation, removal or denied entry – ”is facially neutral as to race.”

The ruling is a blow for advocates who had hoped to see major changes to the nation’s immigration system after U.S. District Judge Miranda Du had thrown out an illegal reentry charge more than two years ago against a Mexican immigrant. Du said she dismissed the case on the grounds that Section 1326 of the Immigration and Nationality Act had violated Gustavo Carrillo-Lopez’s constitutional rights and is discriminatory against Latinos.


Du’s ruling in August 2021 was the first of its kind since Congress made it a crime almost a century ago to return to the U.S. after deportation under the Undesirable Aliens Act of 1929. {snip}

The U.S. government previously conceded that the 1929 law was based on racism but argued in December before a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit that later revisions – like Section 1326 – made it constitutional.


In her ruling, Du wrote that the 1952 revision failed to “cleanse” the 1929 law’s “racist, nativist roots,” adding that amendments to Section 1326 over the years “have simply made the provision more punitive and broadened its reach.”