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Immigrants' Rights

Key Legislation

The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 put in place a series of requirements aimed at reducing the number of undocumented immigrants in the country. The IRCA's primary method of achieving this goal included imposing penalties on employers who willingly hired illegal immigrants. In addition, the IRCA contained specific provisions responding to the dependence of seasonal agriculture on immigrant labor.

The Immigration Act of 1990, on the other hand, mainly dealt with establishing limits on the number of legal immigrants admitted each year and creating provisions for admitting more immigrants from underrepresented countries. As a result, the number of immigrants admitted to fill jobs became limited to 140,000. The act also contained a preference system for determining which immigrants to admit, favoring immigrants seeking to be reunited with their families, those filling jobs, and those contributing to the greater diversity of the country.

The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) contained a variety of measures designed to prevent the escalation of illegal immigrants and to expedite the deportation of illegal immigrants. Ultimately, some of these measures provoked intense debate over whether they were constitutional. Some of its key provisions include increasing the size of the Border Patrol by the year 2001, restricting the admission of previously deported illegal immigrants, limiting legal review and appeals for immigrants convicted of crimes, and increasing the size of immigrant detention centers.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationGreat American Court CasesImmigrants' Rights - Background And Overview, Key Legislation, Landmark Cases, Current Issues In Immigrants' Rights, Further Readings