In their new book, The President and Immigration Law, Professors Adam Cox and Cristina Rodríguez advance the conversation on immigration in at least two critical ways. First, they illustrate that, despite popular and scholarly opinion to the contrary, the recent centrality of the executive in immigration policy and law-making is in line with both historical practice and constitutional design. Second, they detail the instability of a system increasingly reliant on largescale acts of enforcement discretion to ameliorate the harms that would otherwise flow from a long-broken system incapable of operating strictly on its own terms. In both respects, the authors provide essential insights that should inform the development and implementation of immigration policies by the next administration. In describing the corrosive effects that the “enforcement imperative” has long had in our immigration system, however, the authors adopt a narrow concept of “enforcement” that may constrain the conversation about what enforcement of our immigration laws can and should look like and unnecessarily – and ill-advisedly – frames some necessary and appropriate administrative actions as “non-enforcement.”
The above excerpt was originally published in Just Security.
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