Thursday, March 08, 2018

Jeff Sessions and the New Fugitive Slave Act

Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions got the wrong end of the stick when he compared California's resistance to the roving gangs of immigration agents snatching up and deporting peaceful people in the state. Sessions compared it to slavery when the more apt comparison is to the Northern response to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.

The Fugitive Slave Act made it illegal for Northerners to assist an escaped slave seeking freedom. Like Sessions wants to force Californians to assist in the capture of immigrants, the Act compelled Northerners to actively participate in the hunt for blacks on pain of fine or imprisonment. Two Quakers were charged with treason for refusing to help slave hunters.

Several states passed laws forbidding state officers from helping the slave hunters. Massachusetts made it illegal for any state official to return a person fleeing slavery and disbarred any lawyer who represented slave masters.
California is on the right side of history and the right side of morality in this fight. It is Sessions who is treating people like chattel. The ICE raiders may have a perverted federal government on their side but Gov. Brown has the people of California behind him in this fight.

The people, united, will never be defeated. ~ 1960's civil rights slogan

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