The Modern-Day System of Leasing Immigrants | Sojourners

The Modern-Day System of Leasing Immigrants

Moving immigrant exploitation back inside of prisons.
Illustration by Keith Negley

MY LATEST PILGRIMAGE took me and three fellow travelers across two states. As we wound along serpentine country roads in an SUV, the open fields and swamps that lined our path seemed haunted. “Come, listen,” tall, tall trees whispered. “We have a story to tell.”

From the Whitney Plantation in Louisiana to Jim Crow convict leasing in Sugar Land, Texas, to the Alamo—where a battle was fought to protect Texan slavery and Latinos were racialized—to our current-day militarized border lands, Southern soil has borne witness to a baseline of U.S. economic strategy: exploitation of immigrant labor.

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