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Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

Through the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), Congress sought to regularize the status of millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States, regain control of the country's borders, and meet the needs of certain industries that relied on foreign-born labor through three major mechanisms. First, employer sanctions made employing anyone not a citizen or otherwise authorized to work by the federal government unlawful and subjected employers to civil and criminal penalties. Second, many persons who had been living in the United States without permission were enabled to apply for a legal status that led to Lawful Permanent Residence (LPR) and the possibility of naturalization. Third, agricultural workers who could demonstrate certain past employment were also able to achieve LPR. IRCA's enactment, ...

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