Breaking the law is a terrible thing, except when it isn’t. Listening to politicians call for the criminalization of today’s illegal immigrants, one would never guess that the forebears of some of those same politicians, and of many of their constituents as well, may have participated in an almost identical story of lawbreaking. Much of the territory of the United States was, after all, settled by illegal squatters, hundreds of thousands of people who disregarded...
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Eduardo Moisés Peñalver, a professor at Cornell University School of Law, is the author, with Sonia Katyal, of Property Outlaws: How Squatters, Piirates, and Protesters Improve the Law of Ownership (Yale University Press).