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Backlash, Big Stakes, and Bad Laws: How the Right Went for Broke and the Left Fought Back in the Fight Over the 1996 Immigration Laws


This Article reflects upon the political contestation that led to the enactment of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, contextualizing the anti-immigration backlash and debates. Further, this Article discusses some of the ways in which immigration advocates sought to respond to that backlash, sometimes controversially. Finally, the Article considers lessons to be learned for contemporary discussions over immigration reform, highlighting the changing political landscape and available paths through which advocates might successfully achieve fair and meaningful immigration reform.