The Positive Impact of Amnesty from the Immigration Reform and Control Act

Authored by Cecilia Wang

The letter was written by Romano L. Mazzoli in Washington, D.C.,1983. He appreciated that Lydio F. Tomasi wrote an excellent editorial in Migration Today, reflecting the balance of two provisions in Immigration and Reform Act of 1983. Mazzoli was one of the cosponsors of the IRCA, and the U.S. House of Representatives from Kentucky. This correspondence letter is part of the CMS Directors’ documents, which can be found in the CMS collection #084A; Box 4; Folder 41.

Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA, or the Simpson–Mazzoli Act) had been introduced to the Senate since 1981. However, it took five years of debates until it was passed by the U.S. Congress. It was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on November 6, 1986. The IRCA has two major provisions that are of focus. Firstly, it established penalties for employers who hire undocumented immigrants. Second, it addressed legalized undocumented immigrants who had arrived in the country before January 1, 1982. By far, the IRCA has granted the largest scale of amnesty in U.S. history, since almost three million undocumented immigrants benefited from the legalization program.

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