The Ira's Immigration Reform Act (IRA)

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There is a general consensus among lawmakers and private citizens that America’s immigration system is broken. The agreement, however, ends there. An estimated 40.4 million foreign-born people reside in the United States, and of that number, 11.6 million are here illegally (Hipsman). Those here illegally cost American tax payers a staggering $113 billion each year, which is an unsustainable path. Clearly, the current immigration laws are not working. The laws are out of date with today’s social and political climate and are also unenforceable as they are written. The entire immigration system needs to be amended to allow states the freedom to enforce the federal laws, provide a path to citizenship for a limited number of illegal immigrants …show more content…
The Immigration Reform Act (IRA) of 1986, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan, attempted to address this. The law was divided up into three main parts. The first was to place sanctions on employers who hired undocumented illegal immigrants. The second provided increased border enforcement and the third allowed nearly three million illegal aliens who met certain provisions to become citizens and introduced a much debated word, “amnesty”, to the immigration landscape (Linder). At first glance, the IRA was a success; however, it quickly became apparent that the law created more issues than it solved. To begin with, the employer sanctions section of the bill had to be watered down in order to attract support from businesses, thereby rendering the sanctions ineffective (Plumer). According to Brad Plumer, a columnist for The Washing Post, “Under the final law, all employers had to do to avoid sanctions was to make sure their workers had paperwork that reasonably appears on its face to be genuine. If the documents were decent fakes, that wasn 't the boss 's problem. In fact, employers were actually penalized if they scrutinized a worker 's nationality too aggressively.” While the law provided amnesty for nearly three million illegal immigrants, it failed to provide a path to citizenship for future illegal immigrants and the two million illegals still in the United States. For those reasons, and because the law did not provide adequate funding for defending the border, there was a rise in illegal immigration from five million to 11.6 million today

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