University of Miami Law Review


Hannah Gordon


The nineteenth-century Indian problem has become the twenty-first century border crisis. While the United States fancies itself a nation of immigrants, this rhetoric is impossible to square with the reality of the systematic exclusion of migrants of color. In particular, the Trump administration has taken the exclusion of migrants descended from the Indigenous inhabitants of Mexico and Central America to a reductio ad absurdum. This Note joins a body of scholarship that centers the history of genocide in the United States to examine what our settler colonial history means for today’s immigration law and policy. It concludes that the contemporary treatment of Mexican and Central American migrants echoes the ways in which the legal definition of citizenship was developed to exclude Indigenous people. Furthermore, it urges a reckoning with the past both to make sense of the present and to chart a different future.