This review examines the scholarship at the intersection of immigration law, race, and identity. Historically, much of the literature has focused on the ways immigration law has constructed, and been constructed by, racial categories. I argue that African American racialization has been a central component of immigrant exclusion and that immigrant racialization has paradoxically hardened images of blackness. Whereas this literature emphasizes the role of law in this process, much of the more recent literature decenters law. This scholarship privileges issues of identity construction, with the fluidity and contingency of racial identity taking center stage. Despite this decentering, law clearly still matters. Examining the reference to Hurricane Katrina victims as “refugees” and the vehement reaction against that reference, we can see the complexities of the connection between racial construction and immigration and the implications for future scholarship.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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