In the early 1980s, author Charles Kamasaki was thrust into the unlikely role as the point person on immigration policy for the National Council of La Raza (NCLR, now UnidosUS), a Latino civil rights organization. He joined a small group of advocates—The Group—that had first coalesced to oppose immigration legislation, but then pivoted to shape and facilitate passage of the bill and follow-on legislation in 1990. His direct experience lobbying makes him uniquely qualified to tell the story of IRCA’s passage, and to divine its lessons for the next generation of would-be reformers.
Kamasaki currently is Senior Advisor of UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. Previously the Executive Vice President of NCLR, for two decades he managed the group’s research, policy analysis, and advocacy activity. He has authored, co-authored, and supervised the preparation of dozens of policy and research reports, journal articles, and editorials, testified frequently at Congressional and administrative hearings, coordinated pro bono litigation and legal analysis, and represented the organization at research and policy conferences and symposia. He is also a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Cornell Law School and is a Fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, where he conducted the research that eventually produced Immigration Reform: The Corpse That Will Not Die.