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Immigration Reform #403: Alan K. Simpson Papers

The question of how to control immigration has long been an issue in the United States. In 1986, Congress enacted significant immigration reform. The bill, signed into law by President Ronald Regan, was also known as the Simpson-Mazzoli Act.

Republican Senator, Alan Simpson, of Wyoming, co-sponsored the legislation, along with Romano Mazzoli, a Democratic Representative from Kentucky. The act changed immigration rules, making it against the law to knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

Companies with four or more employees were required to request social security cards, passports and birth certificates to prove citizenship of their prospective hires. Amnesty from deportation was granted to unauthorized immigrants who had already been living in the U.S. A path to citizenship was outlined.

It is estimated that nearly 2.7 million immigrants took advantage of the opportunity to obtain green cards. Many of them were agricultural workers.

See the Alan K. Simpson papers at UW’s American Heritage Center to learn more about the immigration reform efforts of the 1980s.

For more information, visit the American Heritage Center site.