Credit: Photo courtesy of ICE, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
A small fence separates densely-populated Tijuana, Mexico, right, from the United States in the Border Patrol’s San Diego Sector. The Immigrationthe act of entering a country of which one is not a native to become...
and Naturalization Service estimated that the total undocumented population residing in the U.S. totaled seven million in 2000.
The U.S. experienced increased immigration from former Soviet states and Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s. But since the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986, also known as the Simpson-Mazzoli Act, U.S. immigration law and anti-immigrant sentiment has largely been focused on illegal immigration from Central America. The 1986 law was intended to reduce the large number of U.S. immigrants who were either illegal or unemployed. Employers who knowingly hire an illegal immigrant may be subject to financial and other penalities. However, the law included a one-year amnesty provision for illegal immigrants who had lived and worked in the U.S. since January 1982. The 1986 IRCA amnesty offered more than 2.7 million immigrants and others without appropriate visas the opportunity to apply for and receive legal citizenship.