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116 Nw. U. L. Rev. Online 1 (2021-2022)

handle is hein.journals/nulro116 and id is 1 raw text is: Copyright 2021 by KevinR. Johnson                             Vol. 116
Northwestern University Law Review
Kevin R. Johnson
ABSTRACT-From at least as far back as the anti-Chinese laws of the 1800s,
immigration has been a place of heated racial contestation in the United
States. Although modern immigration laws no longer expressly mention
race, their enforcement unmistakably impacts people of color from the
developing world. Specifically, the laws, as enacted and applied, limit the
immigration of people of color to, and facilitate their removal from, the
United States.
Modern immigrant rights activism, which has grown by leaps and
bounds in recent years, encountered a powerful counter-response led by none
other than President Donald J. Trump. His presidential administration made
aggressive immigration enforcement a priority like no other in modern U.S.
history. Exemplified by the Administration's heartless separation of Central
American families, consequences of the U.S. immigration policies and their
enforcement fell primarily on immigrants of color.
As the nation collectively engages in a reckoning with historical racial
injustice, it is important to recognize that the movement for justice for
noncitizens of color shares important commonalities with the goals of the
Black Lives Matter movement. Fundamental to both social movements is the
demand for an end to systemic racial discrimination in law enforcement.
Part I of this Essay maps the discriminatory foundations of federal
immigration law, the lack of constitutional review, and the enduring fortress
built by the courts to shield discrimination against immigrants from judicial
review. Part II considers the surprising emergence of a powerful immigrant
rights movement-energized, organized, and formidable, yet handicapped
by the fact that noncitizens cannot vote-fighting for no less than racial
justice. Part III summarizes the emergence of the Trump Administration's
staunch resistance to that movement, which stridently sought to maintain and
reinforce the racial caste quality of the contemporary immigration system.
Part IV considers the uncertain future of the quest to bring racial justice to
immigration law and suggests a road to its transformation.
AUTHOR-Dean and Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law and
Chicanx Studies, University of California, Davis, School of Law. Thanks to


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