Anti-Immigrant Sentiment Reaches Law School

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Today, in International Human Rights Law, there was a presentation on a very specific issue: how to convince the New York State Legislature, using international human rights law,  not to pass a statute to overturn the holding in Sango v. 200 East 16th St. Housing Corp. The holding of the latter case was quite simple:

Undocumented Aliens wrongfully terminated under the state tort law can recover backpay, but only under the prevailing wages of their home country. Instead of focusing on this very narrow issue, several of my classmates repeatedly, and at times quite erroneously, attempted to draw the discussion into the wider debate of immigration. These students were distinctly for the New York Statute overturning the court’s decision.

There were many erroneous statements made, denoting an utter lack of knowledge yet a strong inclination to spout opinions without that requisite background. One student said “illegal citizen”. Another one made the conclusory statement that “illegals” do not pay taxes, without taking into account that many do. Also, no one seemed to have any clue of the distinction between an undocumented alien(commonly referred to as illegal) and a legal alien(commonly referred to as green card holder).

Another student prefaced a whole argument stating that the constitution only covers U.S. citizens, which is not true and then went on to make the patently cliched argument that “but their taking jobs away from Americans”. Right, some are possibly merit-based arguments, but all of this was not the point of the discussion and it seems that the woefully uninformed plague that I believe to be so representative of the United States populace has reached the educational heights of Law School.

Case in point: the backpay on wages in the home countries of most undocumented aliens is but a very small fraction of what one would make in the U.S. In other words, a statute to prevent that would be of no use in addressing the wider immigration issue. Several students in class, even after it was explained to them by the professor, refused to look at the narrow issue at hand and instead focused on the wider immigration issue. Blinded by misinformation and a predetermined opinion that was clearly not based on any well researched knowledge. Does that sound familiar?

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2 Responses to “Anti-Immigrant Sentiment Reaches Law School”

  1. vesigala Says:

    I am so glad that I don’t go there.

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