Hastings Law Journal


The mounting problems of abuse and neglect faced by illegal aliens crossing the border between the United States and Mexico have called into question the legal rights and the status of these undocumented immigrants. This Note examines how illegal aliens are treated by the American judicial system when asserting constitutional or civil rights claims. The Note begins by discussing the constitutional status of the illegal alien, and proceeds to argue that remedies such as state civil and criminal actions should be available to illegal alien victims of border violence.

In the context of border violence, the rights theoretically granted to illegal aliens by the courts are often superceded by political considerations, immigration policy, and a predominant legal perspective that views the illegal alien as an "outsider" to the judicial system and therefore as less deserving of protection. As a solution, this Note proposes the implementation of a civilian oversight commission capable of hearing complaints from illegal aliens and assisting them in obtaining remedies. The Note concludes that such a commission would help bridge the gap between the legal protections theoretically available to illegal aliens and the realities of violence and abuse they continue to face.

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