On November 6, 1986, former President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). The purpose of IRCA was to reform United States immigration law. IRCA was enacted through an Act of Congress.
At the time, President Reagan said ”Future generations of Americans will be thankful for our efforts to humanely regain control of our borders and thereby preserve the value of one of the most sacred possessions of our people, American citizenship.”
The Times also reported in 1986 that Senator Alan K. Simpson, a Wyoming Republican who was the chief sponsor of the bill in the Senate, said of IRCA, ”I don’t know what the impact will be,” he said, ”but this is the humane approach to immigration reform.” At the time, a coalition of national groups said they would monitor enforcement of IRCA.
Amid all this uncertainty, and despite IRCA supporters’ best efforts and intentions to address issues brought about by unchecked immigration, the reality is that the number of undocumented immigrants grew from about 4 million in 1986 to well over 10 million today. The increase is attributable in part to 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were involuntarily brought to this country as young people, and have been labeled “Dreamers”.
Five years ago, President Obama issued an executive order known as “DACA” (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals’), and although intended to be temporary, Dreamers were granted a reprieve under certain conditions from the worry of deportation from the only country that most of them have ever known. Yesterday, President Trump announced that the executive order would terminate in 6 months and invited Congress meanwhile to address the uncertainty facing Dreamers.
The Hispanic 100 fully supports a humanitarian approach to the children affected by DACA. The majority of these children, many of whom did not consent to their journey to the United States, have proven to be law abiding, productive members of America’s society. Our focus will remain on these children, and we will do everything in our power to work directly with congress to further protect them.
We implore Congress to respond to the President in a just and empathetic way, and allow the Dreamers to remain permanently. Responsibility to protect our Dreamers must be done through congressional action and not through temporary executive order. As compassionate Americans, the Hispanic 100 will work diligently with Congress from both parties to find a viable solution for the Dreamers in this country. This is not a fight that they will walk alone!