Daniel Tichenor’s seminal Dividing Lines: The Politics of American Immigration Control provided a detailed analysis of the history and politics of federal immigration policymaking through the 1980s. Although Tichenor’s study provides plenty of hints about the undercurrent dynamics of American federalism, that aspect of immigration policy is left unexamined. Authors Gulasekaram and Ramakrishnan pick up the challenge in The New Immigration Federalism and bring to the table a potent combination of legal analysis and political science theorizing to describe and explain state involvement in this policy domain.

The authors embed their analysis in a review of how immigration federalism evolved through a series of Supreme Court cases since the late nineteenth century. The constitutional and statutory interpretations of the Court set up a framework that on...

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