Immigration Law as Contract Law
EVERYDAY LAW FOR IMMIGRANTS. By Victor C. Romero. Boulder: Paradigm Publishers, 2009. Pp. 160. $24.95.
Described by leading scholars as intricate, “hopelessly convoluted,” “byzantine,” or even a “hideous creature,” immigration law is a conundrum of a sort—very difficult to teach to law students, let alone explain to the ordinary migrant new to the American legal system. A learned judge described the difficulty associated with immigration law, stating, “Whatever guidance the regulations furnish to those cognoscenti familiar with [immigration] procedures, this court, despite many years of legal experience, finds that they yield up meaning only grudgingly and that morsels of comprehension must be pried from mollusks of jargon.” In his book, Everyday Law for Immigrants, Professor Victor Romero breaks this “hideous creature” down into its most basic cells with astounding efficiency and care to provide the ordinary person with the essentials of how immigration status is acquired, maintained, and lost.
The book is quite remarkable. It not only presents complex materials in plain and understandable language, but also employs a creative analogy between immigration law and contracts to help the reader gain a better understanding of immigration law. Throughout the book, Professor Romero masterfully demonstrates, for the benefit of those who make and interpret the law, the needlessness of immigration law’s complexity. As such, it is an extraordinary success in simplifying complex materials in the tradition of the Everyday Law Series—as attested to by the editors of the series, Professors Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic —and in guiding the efforts of lawmakers and the judiciary to simplify the puzzle that is immigration law. This Review examines the fundamental assumptions, theories, approaches, and contents of each section of Professor Romero’s book to demonstrate how he effectively simplifies immigration law; a few humble critiques and suggestions are offered along the way.