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April 28, 2010



James Loewen's book Sundown Towns documents the ethnic cleansing that took place for most of the 20th century in the Northern United States and which is still active in some areas. This ethnic cleansing was often codified in city charters and enforced through lynching, his research has shown. More information is available at his official website for the book:


I'm still confused by this argument. I actually find myself in agreement with Punditius from the comments in the previous post.

1) Are you claiming that the current Mexican immigrants in the southern US are the same (or at least direct genealogical descendants) of the Mestizos?

2) Are you claiming that current waves of immigration can be explained by appeal to the historical purging of Mexicans from the western territories?

3) Are you then making the further claim that if either of these first two is correct, then the current immigrants have a right to be in the US?

If the argument is anything like this I have a very hard time accepting it.

Even the current AZ law -- as bad as it is -- is only "ethnic cleansing" in a metaphorical sense, surely. I mean, it is not the case that ethnic Hispanics (or Mestizos) are being systematically killed or removed from the United States. Rather, undocumented immigrants who do not have legal authorization are being expelled. Probably what is most difficult about this issue is precisely that members of the ethnic group (and even members of the same family) are on both sides--some illegal, some legal.

I mean, there is the further question about legal status as the ultimate determination of a person's having "rights" in a robust sense. Seyla Benhabib has a nice take on this in her "Rights of Others." Basically, this leaves little ground for anything like "human rights." But that's a sticky business because you can't sacrifice national sovereignty either.

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