News Release

Newly Released Book “Immigration Reform: The Corpse that Will Not Die” Revisits the Last Time the Country Passed Immigration Reform

UnidosUS Senior Cabinet Advisor Charles Kamasaki shares timely historical context and lessons for the future of immigration reform at UnidosUS Annual Conference

August 3, 2019

SAN DIEGO – UnidosUS (formerly NCLR) will host a fireside chat with Senior Cabinet Advisor Charles Kamasaki about his new book, “Immigration Reform: The Corpse That Will Not Die,” at its Annual Conference in San Diego on Sunday, August 4. Kamasaki’s book revisits the last time a comprehensive immigration reform package passed into law and how this history provides key insights and potential paths for breaking the current impasse on immigration policy.

Kamasaki has been a key leader for UnidosUS immigration reform efforts since the early 1980s when he was NCLR’s (now UnidosUS) point person in a small group of advocates known as The Group, who found a way to stop harmful immigration proposals and then pivot to helping pass the nation’s last successful full-scale immigration reform efforts.

“This book is a stirring, brilliant and comprehensive look at the history of the Latino civil rights movement through the lens of immigration,” said UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía. “If there was a ‘Game of Thrones’ about how the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 passed, this book would be the script!”

The book provides readers with an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at the individuals and events involved and the key role UnidosUS played in the legalization of more than three million previously undocumented people and protecting family-based legal immigration through the development, enactment and implementation of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) and its follow up bill, the Immigration Act of 1990.

“Unlike most legislative histories, this book tells the story of reform through the eyes of the advocates, and not just the lawmakers, engaged in the debate,” said Kamasaki. “The lessons learned from the IRCA debate offers some insight in shaping future legislative strategies, especially as the nation continues to grapple with ways to address immigration today.”

UnidosUS President Emeritus Raul Yzaguirre, who headed the organization in the IRCA era, called the book, “The definitive chronicle of how the ‘corpse’ of immigration reform once rose from the dead and could be revised again, written by someone who knows where all the bodies are buried.”

Alfredo Corchado, award winning journalist and author, will host the fireside chat with Kamasaki. The session will take place on Sunday, August 4 from 1:30-3:00 p.m. at the San Diego Convention Center 111 W Harbor Dr, Room 31AB, San Diego, CA 92101.

The UnidosUS Annual Conference is the largest gathering of its kind in the Latino community and includes thousands of people representing community organizations, nonprofits, government, corporations, and academic institutions. Additionally, it’s a gathering of UnidosUS’s national Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community-based organizations that provide a diverse range of key services and resources to millions of Latinos across the country.

Members of the media can obtain media credentials and complete their free online registration here:

UnidosUS, previously known as NCLR (National Council of La Raza), is the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. Through its unique combination of expert research, advocacy, programs, and an Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community-based organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico, UnidosUS simultaneously challenges the social, economic, and political barriers that affect Latinos at the national and local levels. For more than 50 years, UnidosUS has united communities and different groups seeking common ground through collaboration, and that share a desire to make our country stronger. For more information on UnidosUS, visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.