More than three decades ago, Congress passed, and the President signed into law the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). Just four years later, another highly consequential reform, the Immigration Act of 1990, was also enacted. That era also saw the birth and growth of potent pro- and anti-immigrant movements, with immigrant rights advocates are centered in the Democratic Party, while immigration naysayers are concentrated in the GOP that propelled the initially implausible candidacy of Donald Trump to a stunning victory in 2016. Since the mid-1990s, these movements have battled to a stalemate that has prevented passage of badly needed reforms to fix America’s broken immigration system.
Little has been written about how these bills came to be, the roles that key lawmakers and advocacy organizations played in the process, or how immigration has become such a polarized, partisan issue, but Immigration Reform: The Corpse That Will Not Die covers these and related developments in detail. The book examines strategies that Latino groups and their pro-immigrant allies used to shape reforms that eventually legalized more than three million previously undocumented immigrants and nearly doubled levels of legal immigration. It describes how lawmakers & advocacy groups navigated the thicket of contradictory interests to produce major immigration reforms. It brings readers into the public hearings and private meetings where bills are shaped, and in so doing articulates lessons from passage of the last major reforms applicable to breaking the current impasse on immigration policy.
Immigration Reform: The Corpse That Will Not Die is the single indispensable book for everyone seeking to truly understand the origins of the legislative maneuverings, policy ideas, and political forces that underlie the debates over immigration reform today and will for generations to come.