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Title: 1986 Amnesty (justfacts.com)
Source: justfacts.com
URL Source: https://www.justfacts.com/immigration.asp#illegal_1986
Published: Mar 16, 2019
Author: justfacts.com
Post Date: 2019-03-17 01:19:24 by Hondo68
Ping List: *Border Invasion*     Subscribe to *Border Invasion*
Keywords: None
Views: 96
Comments: 3

1986 Amnesty

* In 1986, Congress passed a comprehensive immigration reform as a compromise between political parties, business interests, religious groups, and ethnic organizations.[504] [505] [506] The resulting bill was approved by 58% of the House and 72% of the Senate, and Republican President Ronald Reagan signed it into law.[507] [508] This legislation:

  • legalized most illegal immigrants who had been in the U.S. since the beginning of 1982 and gave them a path to citizenship.[509] [510] [511]
  • required these immigrants “to meet certain standards for English proficiency and knowledge of U.S. history and government” in order to become legal permanent residents.[512] [513]
  • prohibited “newly legalized” immigrants “from receiving most types of federal public welfare, although Cubans and Haitians were exempted.”[514]
  • legalized most “seasonal agricultural workers employed at least 90 days during the year preceding May 1986.”[515]
  • made it illegal to discriminate in employment because of a person’s national origin or immigration status, as long as they were legally authorized to work in the U.S.[516] [517]
  • increased border patrols.[518]
  • “imposed sanctions on employers who knowingly hired illegal aliens” in order to “remove the incentive for illegal immigration by eliminating the job opportunities which draw illegal aliens here.”[519] [520] [521]
  • required new employees to fill out a form and present documents to their employers that show they are U.S. citizens or are otherwise authorized to work in the United States.[522] [523] [524]
  • required employers to review the documents presented by employees and certify “that the documents reasonably appear genuine and relate to the individual presenting them.”[525]
  • “was meant as a one-time resolution of a longstanding problem.”[526]

* Under this law, the U.S. government granted legal permanent resident status to 2.7 million people:[527]

Number of People Granted Lawful Permanent Resident Status


* Under this law, the U.S. government granted citizenship to 1.1 million people.[529]

* While Congress negotiated the 1986 amnesty bill, illegal immigration to the U.S. increased substantially,[530] and Southwest border patrol apprehensions reached a record high that has been exceeded in one year since then:

Illegal Immigrant Apprehensions at the Mexican Border


* The immigrants who were granted amnesty under the 1986 law were eligible to become U.S. citizens after five years of lawful permanent residency.[532] [533] This created a surge of citizenship applications beginning in 1993 during the presidency of Democrat Bill Clinton. In 1995, the Clinton administration launched an initiative called “Citizenship USA” to speed the processing of these applications.[534] [535] [536] In 2000, the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice published an investigation of this program that found:

  • the amnesty and citizenship applications for agricultural workers were “rife with fraud” and allowed ineligible immigrants to obtain amnesty and citizenship.[537]
  • the Clinton administration Immigration and Naturalization Service [INS] was aware of this fraud “at the highest level” and promised to address it, but:
    • “evidence of fraud was not adequately explored and, in some instances, was completely disregarded.”
    • “many” INS employees “believed that they were prohibited from reviewing documents in an applicant’s file” that would reveal such fraud and “could not consider it in the determination of citizenship.”[538]
  • the INS did not perform “a complete criminal history background check” for 18% of the people who were granted citizenship.[539]
  • the INS “did not properly enforce the English-language requirement” for U.S. citizenship.[540]
  • the INS gave “superficially trained, inexperienced” employees five minutes to conduct citizenship interviews. During these interviews, the employees had to determine if applicants had good moral character, had accurately answered all of the questions on their applications, and met other legal qualifications for citizenship.[541]

* In the signing ceremony for the 1986 amnesty, President Reagan stated that the law would “humanely regain control of our borders.”[542]

* In the years surrounding the 1986 amnesty, the following sources estimated the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. to be:



Number (Millions)


Demography (Academic Journal)[543]


1986 Amnesty Legalizes 2.7 Million Unauthorized Immigrants[544]


U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service[545]



Pew Research[546]



U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service[547]



Department of Homeland Security[548]



Bear Stearns[549]

≤ 20


Former Associate General Counsel of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service[550]



Ph.D. Demographer[551]



U.S. Department of Homeland Security[552]



Pew Research[553]



Center for Migration Studies[554] [555]



PLOS One (Academic Journal)[556]



Pew Research[557]


NOTE: Some of the studies above from different organizations were authored by some of the same people.

1990s to 2000s

* In 1994, Congress and Democratic President Bill Clinton passed an amnesty that gave certain illegal immigrants a temporary pathway to legalize without leaving the United States.

* Congress and Clinton extended the 1994 amnesty five times in 1997, 1998, and 2000.

Political Party Platforms

* The 2016 Democratic Party Platform supports:

  • increasing legal immigration.
  • opening access to government-funded healthcare programs “regardless of immigration status.”
  • legalizing “more than 11 million” unauthorized immigrants and giving them a “path to citizenship.”[558]

* The 2016 Republican Party Platform opposes “any form of amnesty” for illegal immigrants and supports:

  • helping legal immigrants to become U.S. citizens.
  • “building a wall along our southern border and protecting all ports of entry.”
  • vetting all refugees before allowing them into the U.S., “especially those whose homelands have been the breeding grounds for terrorism.”
  • defunding sanctuary cities.
  • making E-Verify mandatory to ensure that illegal immigrants don’t use fraudulent documents to obtain employment.[559]

* The 2016 Libertarian Party Platform supports “unrestricted” immigration except in cases where foreigners “pose a credible threat to security, health or property.”[560]

* The 2016 Green Party Platform supports:

  • legalizing and providing a path to citizenship for all unauthorized immigrants except those who “present a clear and present danger.”
  • “immediate dismantling” of all border walls.
  • welcoming “all persons fleeing political, racial, religious, or other types of persecution.”
  • forcing “courts, social service agencies, and all government agencies dealing with the public” to “provide trained and certified translators.”[561]

Barack Obama

* The U.S. Constitution gives the President the responsibility and power to ensure that federal laws are “faithfully executed” and to select people who will carry out this work.[562] [563]

* Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the agency that “enforces federal laws governing border control, customs, trade and immigration to promote homeland security and public safety.” It is a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which is under the authority of the President.[564] [565]

* In 2012, Democratic President Obama announced that he would not deport illegal immigrants for two years if they:

  • were currently under the age of 31,
  • arrived in the U.S. before 2007,
  • were under the age of 16 when they arrived,
  • applied to this program and passed a criminal background check.[566] [567] [568]

* This directive, called “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” or DACA, was applicable to 1.2 million people. At least 636,000 illegal immigrants applied for and were approved for it.[569]

* Beyond protection from deportation, this directive also gave these immigrants Social Security numbers, authorization to legally work in the U.S, and eligibility for various government social programs.[570]

* In 2014, the Obama administration expanded this directive to:

  • remove the age limit of 31 years old.
  • extend the latest arrival date from 2007 to 2010.
  • allow immigrants to renew (in 3-year increments) their relief from deportation and ability to work.[571]

* A federal law to combat human trafficking forbids the U.S. government from immediately returning “unaccompanied alien children” to nations that don’t directly border the United States. This law requires that when immigrants “apprehended at the border” are under the age of 18 and from anywhere but Mexico or Canada, they must be:

  • “promptly placed in the least restrictive setting that is in the best interest of the child,”
  • provided access to legal counsel, and
  • “placed in removal proceedings.”[572] [573] [574] [575]

* By mid-2014:

  • the Obama administration had placed 85% of these children—who were mostly male and over the age of 14—with their relatives in the United States.[576]
  • 87% of people admitted to the U.S. under this policy over the past five years had not been ordered to leave the United States.[577]

* Between 2012 and 2014, the number of unaccompanied children from Central America illegally crossing the U.S. border increased by roughly 10 times.[578] [579] This overwhelmed the ability of U.S. officials to care for the children and created what the White House called an “urgent humanitarian situation.”[580] [581] [582]

* NBC News, CNN, the Washington Post, and the Center for American Progress published articles that blamed this surge of illegal immigration on violence and poverty in the children’s homelands.[583] [584] [585] [586]

* In 2014, Breitbart News obtained a leaked report from a federal center that provides “tactical, operational, and strategic intelligence support” to government law enforcement agencies.[587] This report examined “the probable drivers” of the “recent surge of Central American children to the U.S. Southwest border” and found:

In late May, the U.S. Border Patrol interviewed unaccompanied children (UAC) and migrant families apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley. Of the 230 total migrants interviewed, 219 cited the primary reason for migrating to the United States was the perception of U.S. immigration laws granting free passes or permisos to UAC and adult female OTMs [other than Mexicans] traveling with minors.
“Permisos” are the Notice to Appear documents issued to undocumented aliens, when they are released on their own recognizance, pending a hearing before a U.S. immigration judge.
Migrants indicated that knowledge of permisos was widespread across Central America due to word of mouth, local, and international media messaging—prompting many to depart for the United States within 30 days of becoming aware of these perceived benefits, according to the same reporting.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) also notes that a large number of migrants interviewed claimed family members in the United States encouraged their travel because the U.S. government would cease issuing permisos after June 2014. Migrants cited Univision, Primer Impacto, Al Rojo Vivo and several Honduran television news outlets for helping shape their perception of U.S. immigration policy.
Homicide trends and migrant interviews suggest violence is likely not the principal factor driving the increase in UAC migration.[588] [589]

* In the three nations that were the primary sources of these unaccompanied child immigrants (Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador[590]), the murder rates were lower during all years of the 2012–2014 border surge than the year beforehand:

Murder Rates in Homelands of Unaccompanied Minors


* During Obama’s presidency, Democratic politicians and Latino activists called on him to shield more illegal immigrants from deportation. Obama publicly replied:

  • “The problem is, is that I’m the president of the United States, I’m not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed.”
  • “If we start broadening that, then essentially I’ll be ignoring the law in a way that I think would be very difficult to defend legally.”[592]

* In June of 2014, Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez, a vocal supporter of amnesty for unauthorized immigrants, declared there was no possibility that Congress would pass an amnesty during Obama’s presidency. He then called on Obama to act on his own.[593]

* In November of 2014, the Obama administration announced that it would not deport illegal immigrants for three years and would allow them to legally work in the U.S. if they:

  • were in the U.S. since January 1, 2010,
  • had a child who was a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident,
  • were “not an enforcement priority,” and
  • applied to this program and were not “threats to national security, border security, and public safety.”[594] [595]

* This directive, called “Deferred Action for Parents of Americans”:

  • was applicable to roughly four-to-five million unauthorized immigrants.[596] [597] [598]
  • required federal agencies to issue them work authorizations and Social Security numbers.[599]
  • required Texas and possibly other states to issue them drivers licenses.[600]
  • required government agencies to make them eligible for an array of benefit programs.[601] [602]

* After Obama announced this directive, 26 states sued the federal government to stop it from taking effect. In February of 2015, a federal judge agreed with the states and issued a temporary order to halt it.[603] [604]

* In November of 2015, a three-judge panel of a federal appeals court agreed with the federal judge and ruled (2–1) that Obama’s directive was “beyond the scope” of what federal law “can reasonably be interpreted to authorize.[605] [606]

* In June of 2016, the Supreme Court deadlocked on taking up this case, which left the appeals court ruling in place.[607]

* On the same day that Obama announced his Deferred Action for Parents of Americans,[608] his Secretary of Homeland Security instructed all federal immigration and border security personnel to:

  • never pursue the “removal of an alien not identified as a priority” unless an ICE Field Office Director concludes that “removing such an alien would serve an important federal interest.”
  • apply “prosecutorial discretion” as to “whom to stop, question, and arrest; whom to detain or release; whether to settle, dismiss, appeal, or join in a motion on a case; and whether to grant deferred action, parole, or a stay of removal instead of pursuing removal.”[609]

* The policies above:

  • were summarized by the Obama administration as “more refined civil immigration enforcement priorities” that “placed increased emphasis and focus on the removal of convicted felons and other public safety threats over non-criminals.”[610]
  • became effective on January 5, 2015 with “training and guidance … provided to the workforce prior to the effective date.”[611]

* In the federal government’s 2015 and 2016 fiscal years (October 2014 through September 2016[612]), ICE removed 21% fewer convicted criminals per year than in its 2014 fiscal year:

Convicted Criminal Immigrants Removed From the United States


* In 2014, the Obama administration “released from its custody 30,558 criminal aliens with a total of 79,059 convictions instead of deporting them.”[614]

* Between October 1, 2010 and July 21, 2015, the Obama administration released 124 criminal aliens who were later charged with murder-related crimes committed in the U.S. after their release and before February 2016.[615] [616] [617]

* For additional facts and context about Obama’s actions on immigration and crime, see the crime and politics section of this research.

* With regard to President Obama’s record on immigration enforcement, the following media outlets reported that he:

  • “deported a record 1.5 million” illegal immigrants during “his first term.”
    – NPR, 2012[618]
  • deported “more people than any other president in U.S. history.”
    – WNYC New York Public Radio, 2017[619]
  • “has carried out many more deportations than previous presidents, setting a record of more than 2.4 million formal removals.”
    New York Times, 2016[620]
  • “has deported more people than any other president’s administration in history. In fact, they have deported more than the sum of all the presidents of the 20th century. … and Obama’s numbers don’t reflect his last year in office, for which data is not yet available. “
    – ABC News, 2016[621]

* During a 2011 meeting with Hispanic media outlets, a reporter from AOL Latino asked Obama why he has “been deporting much more immigrants than the previous administration did in eight years.” Obama replied that:

the statistics are actually a little deceptive because what we’ve been doing is with the stronger border enforcement we’ve been apprehending folks at the borders and sending them back. That is counted as a deportation, even though they may have only been held for a day or 48 hours, sent back—that’s counted as a deportation.[622] [623]

* The federal government expels illegal immigrants from the U.S. through processes known as “returns” and “removals.” “Removals” are also called “deportations.”[624] [625] [626]

* Under a process change that began during the presidency of George W. Bush and expanded under Obama, the federal government began issuing orders of “removal” when it caught illegal immigrants near the Mexican border. Before this, it typically returned these people to Mexico without issuing formal orders of removal. This procedural change altered the classification of such immigrants from “returns” to “removals.”[627] [628]

* Under the Obama administration, combined “returns” and “removals” of illegal immigrants declined from 1.2 million in 2008 to 460,000 in 2015:

Immigrants Removed or Returned to Their Country of Origin


Donald Trump

* Within days of taking office in January of 2017, President Donald Trump issued an executive order to ensure:

  • “the faithful execution of the immigration laws of the United States.”
  • “that jurisdictions that fail to comply with applicable federal law do not receive federal funds, except as mandated by law.”
  • that federal resources are prioritized to remove non-citizens who:
    • “have been convicted of any criminal offense.”
    • “have been charged with any criminal offense, where such charge has not been resolved.”
    • “have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense.”
    • “have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a governmental agency.”
    • “have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits.”
    • “are subject to a final order of removal, but who have not complied with their legal obligation to depart the United States.”
    • “in the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.”[630]

NOTE: More facts about Trump will be published as he takes actions and as the outcomes of these actions become clear.

Poster Comment:

* In the years surrounding the 1986 amnesty, the following sources estimated the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. to be:

Check out these numbers of illegal aliens following the above header. They're a lot bigger than you hear from the MSM.. The page linked to is HUGE, and contains a massive amount of data, even the footnotes are mind boggling!
Additional info, the bottom line....

Seven Amnesties Passed by Congress


"Since the passing of the Immigration and Reform Control Act (IRCA), 6 million illegal aliens have received amnesty in the United States. The IRCA Amnesty was supposed to "wipe the slate clean" and instead it's lead to the current situation of 12-20 million illegal aliens living in the country.

Immigration and Reform Control Act (IRCA), 1986 also known as the Simpson-Mazzoli Act for 2.7 million illegal aliens" (5 images)

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#1. To: hondo68 (#0)

Immigration and Reform Control Act (IRCA), 1986 also known as the Simpson-Mazzoli Act for 2.7 million illegal aliens

Why did you lie yesterday and say Reagan granted asylum to 30 million?

A K A Stone  posted on  2019-03-17   10:07:00 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#2. To: A K A Stone (#1) (Edited)

30 million?

GI & I say 25M not 30. Can't reply in 200 character total including quote, impossible.

all mistaken in our numbers. Sorry for my error word

Hondo68  posted on  2019-03-17   11:19:18 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#3. To: hondo68 (#2)

You just always seem to need to exaggerate things. I think you would get more respect if you just said it like it is and not make stuff up.

Because you are on the right side for the most part.

A K A Stone  posted on  2019-03-17   11:49:32 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

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