Washington Law Review


David A. Martin


The asylum reforms adopted in 1994 provide an intriguing glimpse into the making of immigration policy in the media spotlight—an intermittent spotlight, in this policy domain, with a short attention span. My primary aim here is to capture the history of those reforms, as it appeared to an outsider who was invited to play an insider's role as a nearly full-time consultant to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) during certain crucial months in summer and fall 1993. The account should also help clarify certain central features of the reforms and offer some insight into key decisions in their shaping. I leave it to others to judge whether the story yields broadly applicable lessons about the policymaldng process or instead merely reflects a unique constellation of political circumstances.

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