By Isaac Stanley-Becker, The Washington Post

The provision of federal law criminalizing unlawful entry into the United States — which some Democratic presidential candidates now want to undo — was crafted by an avowed white supremacist who opposed the education of black Americans and favored lynching, which he justified by saying, “to hell with the Constitution.”

The law, referred to as Section 1325, became a flash point in the first of two Democratic presidential debates this week, when Julián Castro, a former secretary of housing and urban development, challenged his rivals to back its repeal. The measure’s little-known history did not arise on Wednesday night in Miami, where the first cohort of Democrats vying to compete against President Trump took the stage. No one mentioned Sen. Coleman Livingston Blease.

But the legacy of the criminal lawyer and neo-Confederate politician from South Carolina hangs over the 2020 election. Blease was an architect of Section 1325, the part of Title 8 of the United States Code that makes it a misdemeanor to enter the country without authorization.

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Photo: Library of Congress

Who’s Behind the Law Making Undocumented Immigrants Criminals? An ‘Unrepentant White Supremacist.’