Debate Magazine

Slavery, Indentured Servitude, Transportation, and Reparations

Posted on the 13 September 2019 by Doggone
There is a reason why the topics of slavery, indentured servitude, and transportation are neglected: because one of the United States' many myths is the myth of the immigrant coming because of the American promise. People arriving against their will goes against that myth. Someone boasts how their ancestors came for the opportunities found in the US has to deal with the fact that segments of the population arrived against their will.
Slave ships and auctions are the antithesis of Ellis Island, which is probably another myth as well.
Slavery, Indentured Servitude, Transportation, and reparations
But slavery, or people as commercial objects, is an integral part of US immigration law. The US has jus soli because of slavery and Dred Scott. The Fourteenth Amendment was a result of slavery. It haunts immigration policy because anyone born in the US is automatically a citizen: no matter whether their parents were lawfully present in the country.
There is the indignation by some people about children being placed in "cages", yet those are the holding cells used by the police in the US.  Now, how would those people feel about people who arrived in this country chained together?
I am not going to get into a debate about people who are lawfully present or not, but treating migrant workers as property for the benefit of others leads to terrible consequences. Sure, there should be a process to allow workers into the country if there happens to be a lack of workers: but is there no unemployment in the US?
Bottom line, the US has a love of exploiting workers, which is a big part of the discussion. And that fact is highly uncomfortable.
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