Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

law that criminalized a "pattern or practice" of knowingly hiring illegal immigrants

The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), also known as the Simpson-Mazzoli Act, was signed into law by Ronald Reagan on November 6, 1986, is an Act of Congress which reformed United States immigration law.

What it didEdit

  • required employers to attest to their employees' immigration status;
  • made it illegal to hire or recruit illegal immigrants knowingly;
  • legalized certain seasonal agricultural illegal immigrants, and;
  • legalized illegal immigrants who entered the United States before January 1, 1982 and had resided there continuously with the penalty of a fine, back taxes due, and admission of guilt; candidates were required to prove that they were not guilty of crimes, that they were in the country before January 1, 1982, and that they possessed minimal knowledge about U.S. history, government, and the English language.

Immigration at that timeEdit

At the time, the Immigration and Naturalization Service estimated that about four million illegal immigrants would apply for legal status through the act and that roughly half of them would be eligible.[1]


  1. Branigin, William (March 3, 1987). "U.S. Migrant Law Falls Hard On Jobless in Central Mexico". The Washington Post. p. A1.

Other websitesEdit