'86 law looms over immigration fight
That law prohibited the hiring of illegal immigrants, provided new resources for enforcement along the Mexican border and offered legal status, or amnesty, to several million illegal immigrants. In the current debate, which stalled last week when the latest legislative proposal failed to clear a procedural hurdle, senators of both parties cite the 1986 law as an example of what not to do.
Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, said he regretted voting for the 1986 measure.
“I thought then that taking care of three million people illegally in the country would solve the problem once and for all,” Mr. Grassley said. “I found out, however, if you reward illegality, you get more of it. Today, as everybody has generally agreed, we have 12 million people here illegally.”
The 1986 law was a product of more than five years’ work by Senator Alan K. Simpson, Republican of Wyoming, and Representative Romano L. Mazzoli, Democrat of Kentucky. Both left Congress more than a decade ago.
Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, said: “I was here in Congress in 1986. I heard all the promises of the Simpson-Mazzoli Act. None of them were true, and three million people got amnesty. There was no border security to speak of, no employer sanctions to speak of, and there was no enforcement.”
Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, said: “The American people were sold a bill of goods. It didn’t work. We got an amnesty, and we got no enforcement. That is why people are so distrustful now.”
comments powered by Disqus
- Tea Party support linked to educational segregation, new study shows
- History of Philly Rests Under I-95
- Agreement aims to protect North Shore wrecks from looters
- Award-Winning Filmmaker Kevin McCann to Produce the First Film about the Easter Rising in Ireland
- Clinton seen as the most intelligent president, George W. Bush the least
- In new book UC Berkeley historian Waldo E. Martin, Jr. takes Black Panther Party's point of view
- Economics historian finds that real social mobility takes hundreds of years
- Historian Tim Furnish says liberals shouldn't be astonished that ISIS is stoning women to death -- "in many Muslim countries ... large majorities ... favor stoning"
- Historian turns baker?
- Timothy Garton Ash remembers an appearance by Putin at a conference in 1994 that's eye-opening