Skip Navigation
Back to PolicyBot

Before Considering Another Amnesty, Look at IRCA’s Lessons

January 2, 2013
By David North

In this Backgrounder & Report, David North contends that it would be useful to review what we as a nation learned from our last experiment regarding the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA).

irca

In this Backgrounder & Report, David North contends that it would be useful to review what we as a nation learned from our last experiment regarding the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). Both a major foundation (Ford) and a minor federal agency (the no-longer existing Administrative Conference of the United States) asked the author to review and analyze that program. At the time legalization was a vital part of a genuine bargain, a one-time amnesty to be accompanied by a permanent policy of vigorous immigration law enforcement. That did not turn out to be the case and my views of legalization have changed accordingly.

We should never have another broad-brush amnesty. Such programs swell our already over-swollen population with still more low-income, lightly educated people and encourage future legal and illegal immigration, and thus create arguments for future amnesties. If there is to be a limited program, anyway, let it be tied to  actual  changes in the law, such as eliminating the diversity visas completely and substantially reducing family preference migration.

Article Tags
Immigration Law