What is the Immigration Reform Act of 1986?
It was a law President Reagan signed that legalized undocumented immigrants and penalized employers that hired undocumented workers.
The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) was created in response to the growing problem of illegal immigration. Between 1942 and 1964, 4.6 million Mexicans entered the U.S. as farm workers part of the Bracero program. The growing demand for workers, the networks created to link Mexican workers with U.S. jobs, and the dependency of Mexican families on the U.S. wages of their family members all contributed to the growth of undocumented immigration that followed.
The IRCA offered legalization to people who had come to the U.S. since before 1982 and attempted to penalize employers who knowingly hired undocumented workers. From this Act, 2.7 million undocumented immigrants became legal permanent residents.
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