Illegal Immigration 1986
As mentioned in the intro, previous actions have been taken in order to curb illegal immigration, specifically the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. This act gave amnesty to citizens who were already residing in the United States. This act is largely viewed as a failure due to its intentions of ending illegal immigrants yet, inability to cease illegal immigration after its signing. The act resulted in 5 million estimated immigrants living in the United States to increase into the 11.3 million illegal immigrants living in the United States today. Even the former sponsors of the act for which it was named believed “legitimate questions can be raised about the effectiveness of” the law. The law made those living in the United States illegally, able to obtain legal status, augmented border security, and imposed penalties on businesses who knowingly employed illegal immigrants (Brad Plumer). These are many of the same policies in amnesty laws today. The history of amnesty policies show us that it is not an effective policy so other procedures should be attempted. Statistics show as well that amnesty is not a good idea because immigrants are found to be involved in crime. Department of Homeland Security estimates that immigrants make up 20% of inmates in prisons and jail while only making up 15.4% of the adult population. The 287(g) program of Immigration and Customs Enforcement found in communities involving a high number of immigrants such as Arizona found that in a county the jail, 22% of felons are illegal aliens. This statistic shows in areas where illegal immigrants are heavily concentrated, they are more likely to be incarcerated. Immigrants are also found to be a large part of federal prisons with the Federal Bureau of Prisons reporting that 26.4% of inmates in federal prisons are non-United States citizens.