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California Law Review


Courts and commentators typically evaluate constitutional immigration law from the perspective of aliens. But that approach pays insufficient attention to the ways immigration law affects the interests and rights of citizens. In particular, an alien-centered approach fails to consider the central role immigration law plays in national self-definition and, consequently, ignores the possibility that immigration law may injure citizens by defining the national political community in constitutionally impermissible ways. Considering federal immigration law from the perspective of citizens, this Article demonstrates that immigration policy, which contemporary constitutional doctrine largely insulates from attack, should not be immune to challenges by citizens. And contrary to the thrust of contemporary doctrine, courts should scrutinize immigration policy for compliance with conventional constitutional norms when citizens' rights are at stake.

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