What is ‘Comprehensive Immigration Reform’?: Taking the Long View
17 Pages Posted: 3 May 2010
Date Written: April 29, 2010
This essay is an expanded version of my 2009 Hartman Hotz Lecture at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. Its focus is “legalization.” I first identify several common misconceptions about legalization. I next suggest some ways of thinking about whether or not legalization is a good thing and about what a legalization program might look like. I then address objections to legalization and examine various versions of legalization in U.S. immigration law history. The core of the essay explains why it is important to think about legalization as the retroactive application of durable changes to immigration law, rather than as a one-time scheme for conferring lawful status.
Keywords: Immigration, citizenship, rule of law, immigrants' rights, immigration history, undocumented immigration
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