President Ronald Reagan

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President Ronald Reagan

           In 1986 President Ronald Reagan signed the Immigration and Reform Act into law, which aimed to deter migrants from crossing illegally to obtain jobs. Prior to this Act, it was legal for a business to hire an undocumented immigrant. After implementation, employers who hired undocumented immigrants would be subject to civil penalties in the form of a fine of $250 to $10,000 dollars. Though members of Congress viewed this action as supportive of furthering punitive measures against immigrants; Reagan was a staunch supporter of allowing those who had established roots in America of staying. For example, the legislation allowed undocumented immigrants who migrated prior to 1982 and remained in the U.S. to qualify for legal permanent residency. However, in addition to proving residency, individuals had to demonstrate a knowledge of U.S. history, the English language, and no criminal history. Nearly 3 million immigrants were granted legal residency in response to this legislation. 


References:

-Sand and Blood: America's Stealth War on the Mexico Border by John Carlos Frey

Last modified: Wednesday, 4 Mar 2020, 14:33