Washington Law Review


This article explores the place of international law in the immigration policy process in four settings: (1) the tentative and ultimately failed efforts of the executive and the judiciary to keep Congress within the bounds of internationally law-abiding conduct with respect to Chinese exclusion; (2) the almost complete disregard by Congress and the executive of international norms concerning health-related travel restrictions relating to HIV/AIDS; (3) Congressional inaction in the face of executive and judicial hypocrisy toward fundamental principles of refugee law in relation to interdiction of asylum-seekers; and (4) the emergence of a perverse canon presuming the abrogation of uncodified customary norms in cases involving temporary refuge for victims of armed conflict and arbitrary detention of excludable aliens. This article does not treat these four subjects exhaustively. Instead, it poses the question of the proper respect immigration policymakers should pay to the United States' pre-existing international obligations and examines how this respect has varied over time and among the branches.

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