For years the American populace has heard story after story about how the United States needs Immigration Reform. Yet there is an adequate and comprehensive system of laws currently in place to deal with legal immigration, illegal immigration and visitor regulation.
IRCA 1986-A solution to illegal immigration
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 is the bedrock of a series of laws that makes nearly all aspects of immigration controllable. IRCA ’86, as it is commonly referred to, enacted a system of regulations requiring employers to validate the employment eligibility of all persons they hire. Programs such as E-Verify allow employers to instantly check the employment eligibility of any potential hire. Employers who fail to verify the employment eligibility or who negligently employ unauthorized workers are subject to fines and, with repeated occurrences, criminal sanctions can be brought.
As an employee with the Immigration and Naturalization Service back in 1986, I witnessed the immediate effects of IRCA ’86 which were impressive. I was involved in several cases of employer sanctions cases in my area of operation which reverberated through the communities. This happened all across the United States and the influx of illegal immigrants dropped dramatically.
But, politics got involved and soon the federal government would not allow the law to actually work and restricted the investigations of employer sanctions cases and made it extremely difficult, for those agents still allowed, to investigate a straight-forward case.
If the regulations enacted under IRCA ’86 were allowed to be enforced with the use of E-Verify, the illegal immigration problem could be effectively solved.
U.S. Border Patrol strength
Many of those against the immigration reform act currently being batted around congress want the border to be secured. U.S. Border Patrol manpower has doubled over the last few years. There are more than 20,000 agents on the job. This increase in manpower, in combination with a weak U.S. economy, has led to a dramatic decrease in the number of potential immigrants illegally crossing the border. Apprehensions by the border patrol are down dramatically and although small increases are currently being seen, still the number of overall number of apprehensions continues to be radically down.
The heavily enforced border patrol combined with a reemphasis on IRCA ’86 will continue to keep illegal immigration in check.
Guest worker program
Many tout the need for a guest worker program to allow the importation of labor to fill jobs which legal residents and citizens will or cannot perform. Many farmers support the need for illegal immigrants to perform the labor intensive duties needed to harvest their crops. A guest worker program is advocated by many politicians and others as a solution to this problem.
Although a guest worker program is advocated as an idea not yet executed, there is already a guest worker program in use in the United States and thousands of persons from across the globe are legally brought into the United States each year to perform specialized labor or labor where legal residents and citizens are not available in sufficient numbers to perform the jobs.