Immigration Reform and Control Act

Essay by demonineCollege, Undergraduate September 2009

download word file, 6 pages 4.3

The Immigration Reform and Control Act, also Simpson - Mazzoli Act, signed by President Ronald Reagan on November 6, 1986, is an Act of Congress which reformed United States immigration law. Basically. this act made it illegal to hire unauthorized immigrants. The employers also had to certify the status of their employees' immigration. However, this act also allowed illegal aliens to stay in this country if they were here before January 1, 1982... at the same residence.

There were two phases to this act. In the first phase the illegal aliens that were already in this country were supposed to beat the deadline for amnesty in 1986. The second phase deals with sanctions for employers. This paper will explain why the act has failed offering explanations from various scholarly sources.

According to an article by Arthur Helton printed by ABA Journal "the highly legalistic nature of the process made it inaccessible to many undocumented residents who needed legal or other assistance.

The filing fees, the meticulous document demands and the fear caused by the inability of the INS to give appropriate assurances all combined to undercut what would seem to be the promise of the program." Helton further states that "it's hard to say for sure whether we would have had more applicants with extended time or a smaller fee." "But I think because of the intense publicity campaign we had, going out and getting the information out to people, I doubt we would have gotten much more." "The fee in our opinion was certainly reasonable." Helton goes on to explain how there was a grass roots effort to drive from neighborhood to neighborhood passing out information, making applications available, providing INS employees to assist aliens in completing their applications, etc.

Another reason cited for the failure of the...