From the Cracker Squire Archives (One can argue the fed. gov't has failed to protect our borders & enforce visa & citizenship issues.)
The following is a 5-26-07 post entitled "The complicated mess we have with illegal immigration and how to solve the problem -- More on the 1986 legislation":
A 5-25-07 post reads:
If you grant legal status to those here illegally without first securing the border, millions more will flood into our country illegally. That's exactly what happened with the flawed immigration law that was passed in 1986, and our country has been paying the price ever since.
TIME said this about the 1986 legislation:
[T]he failed amnesty of 1986 [is] widely viewed as the genesis of the current crisis. The moment newly legalized farmworkers realized they had better options, they left for the cities instead of staying in low-paying agriculture jobs. Their exodus from the fields opened the door to an even larger wave of illegal immigration.
And another article in TIME gives us these details about the legislation:
The immigration overhaul in 1986 was supposed to have fixed the root problem of an uncontrolled influx by making it illegal for U.S. employers to hire undocumented workers and offering an amnesty to illegal immigrants who had been here for five years at that point. Instead, the best estimates suggest that since then, the number of illegal immigrants has more than tripled.
The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act made it illegal for employers to knowingly hire undocumented workers and imposed penalties of up to $11,000 for each violation. But lawbreakers are rarely punished. In 2005 the government issued just three notices of intent to fine companies for employing illegal workers, down from 178 in 2000.
It's easy to understand why the idea of an amnesty [sparks] such a negative reaction. The country tried one with the 1986 law. Nearly 3 million people took advantage of it, and the amnesty was followed by an explosion in illegal immigration.
And one more post from the Cracker Squires Archives on the topic of where states are acting because of the failure of the federal government to do so.
This one is a 6-24-07 post entitled "Senator Kennedy and President Reagan on the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986" that reads:
Senator Ted Kennedy said: "This amnesty will give citizenship to only 1.1 to 1.3 million illegal aliens. We will secure the borders henceforth. We will never again bring forward another amnesty bill like this."
[Actually, almost 3 million illegal immigrants were granted amnesty under this legislation, and the amnesty was followed by an explosion in illegal immigration.]
President Ronald 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."