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Abstract

In 2002, the United States Supreme Court handed down its decision in Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. NLRB. This landmark decision seemingly eliminated any chance illegal immigrant employees had to obtain awards of backpay after being discharged in violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). More importantly, however, the decision sent a message to the country that illegal entry into the United States was a violation that was to be taken more seriously by the courts than grossly unfair employment practices. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently handed down a decision in Rivera v. NIBCO, Inc. which could potentially alleviate the negative implications Hoffman had for illegal alien workers. Rivera gives new hope to illegal immigrants seeking backpay remedies, distinguishing itself from the Supreme Court's decision in Hoffman. This Note seeks to examine the history behind Hoffman and the effect of Rivera upon that decision Part II examines the cases that the Supreme Court primarily relied upon to support its Hoffman decision, while Part III briefly discusses the Hoffman decision itself. Parts IV and V examine the reactions of the academic community, federal agencies, and the courts to Hoffman. Part VI summarizes the most relevant parts of the Rivera decision and Part VII discusses some of its possible impacts.