Authored by Darya Betin
The Arthur P. Endres Collection, owned by the Center for Migration Studies in New York City, showcases a large body of documents from Endres’ time as Counsel to the Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and International Law from 1973 to 1989. Immigration policy was and continues to be one of the most divisive issues in our nation’s history. As Karen Tumulty noted in a Washington Post article on February 3, 2013, millions of people, many of whom are illegal immigrants and who have lived in the United States for years, seek to be heard and to have their status legalized as a recognition of the service they have provided to this country. By the very definition of their status, these individuals are disenfranchised and depend on lawmakers to plead their cases. The other side of the debate argues against their presence or any possibility of legalizing their status. Both sides attempt to convince the government of the justness of their cause by relying on the power of accurate and relevant information and data.
The attached document is a copy of a brochure authored by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (F.A.I.R.), a national, nonprofit, public-interest organization, founded in 1979, whose activities include research, public education, media outreach, grassroots organizing, government relations, litigation and advocacy at the national, state, and local levels, regarding immigration reform. According to their website, F.A.I.R. seeks to improve border security, to stop illegal immigration, and to promote immigration levels consistent with the national interest, which in their opinion would include a rate of no more than 300,000 immigrants per year. The brochure, along with a cover letter describing its contents, appears to have been authored sometime in 1984 and was sent to Arthur P. Endres in order to highlight that the information contained therein had recently been relied upon during an Immigration and Naturalization (“INS”) panel discussion. The brochure itself includes a summary of polls of various constituencies, including “Business,” “Labor,” and “Blacks and Hispanics,” with concluding remarks from F.A.I.R. suggesting that the majority of Americans favored stemming the tide of illegal immigration.
The brochure was sent during a period when the Subcommittee was considering what would later become the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (“IRCA”). The paramount purpose of IRCA was: 1) to control illegal immigration by imposing sanctions on employers who hire illegal immigrants and 2) to legalize aliens who had been illegally in the country for at least five years prior to the enactment of the act. Under the auspices of the General Legalization Program for undocumented immigrants who were residing in the United States as of December 31, 1981 and the Special Agricultural Worker Program for individuals who had performed at least 90 days of seasonal agriculture during the 12-month period ending on May 1, 1985, about 2.7 million people obtained legal permanent resident status under IRCA.
Data of the type presented in this public opinion brochure demonstrates how information is used by external organizations in order to influence public policy and the government decision-making and law-making process.
Enchautegui, Maria E. “A Comparison of Today’s Unauthorized Immigrants and the IRCA Legalized: Implications for Immigration Reform.” The Urban Institute, December 2013.
Federation for American Immigration Reform (F.A.I.R.). Public Opinion on Immigration. The Arthur P. Endres Collection, Center for Migration Studies, New York, ca. 1984.
Federation for American Immigration Reform (F.A.I.R.). “About FAIR.” Accessed March 23, 2014. http://www.fairus.org/about.
Tumulty, Karen. “Why immigration reform in 1986 fell short.” The Washington Post, February 3, 2013. Accessed March 23, 2014. http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/why-immigration-reform-fell-short/2013/02/03/fbb643aa-6be7-11e2-8740-9b58f43c191a_story.html.
Smith, Ernest E., III. “The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986: A Commentary and Overview.” Texas International Law Journal 22 (1987): 211-230.
————————————— “About FAIR,” accessed March 23, 2014, http://www.fairus.org/about.  Federation for American Immigration Reform (F.A.I.R.), Public Opinion on Immigration, The Arthur P. Endres Collection, Center for Migration Studies, New York, ca. 1984.  F.A.I.R., Public Opinion on Immigration.  Ernest E. Smith III, “The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986: A Commentary and Overview,” Texas International Law Journal 22 (1987): 212.  Maria E. Enchautegui, “A Comparison of Today’s Unauthorized Immigrants and the IRCA Legalized: Implications for Immigration Reform,” The Urban Institute, December 2013.