The 1986 amnesty failed spectaculary, why repeat the mistake?

Georgie Anne Geyer discusses the 1986 amnesty, that was supposed to be the amnesty to end all amnesties. (Also here).
...Pete Nunez, the former U.S. attorney for San Diego and a lifelong fighter for immigration control, told me in a recent talk: "Why are those numbers today so high? Because of the amnesty of 1986! Those 2.7 million illegals amnestied were then able, in the decade of the '90s, to sponsor their family members. That decade turned out to have the highest number of legal immigrants practically in our history, because of the amnesty."

Here at the busy port of entry, in my long conversations with officials of the Department of Homeland Security, which encompasses immigration, border patrol and customs, there is unanimous agreement with this interpretation.

"The '86 experience definitely led to family reunification," Lauren Mack, customs and border protection public affairs officer, agreed. "We watched that amnesty -- it only created more fraud and more problems."

...The 1986 amnesty was not to be the first of many amnesties, nor a kind of experimental plug in the flow of human beings from a poor country to a rich one. To the contrary, it was to be the "last amnesty." Pushed by liberals in Congress like Teddy Kennedy, it was supposed to settle and legalize the illegals already in the United States, while controlling future immigration. It was to be the solution.

Instead, those 2.7 million settled in America and, under the dominating "family reunification" policy, were able immediately to sponsor almost any number of relatives, some bringing in 80 or 90 persons. And because the enforcement aspects of the law were never put into practice, the 1986 amnesty left the gate open to still more massive numbers. Meanwhile, the proposed new guest worker programs before Congress almost all provide for some kind of amnesty that will lead only to a repeat of 1986...
It is truly scary how the same organizations (such as the National Immigration Forum) and politicians (such as Big Ted) that were involved in the 1986 amnesty are trying to fool the U.S. once again.


On some of the "obvious long-term trends". The passage below documents changes in median real personal income over the past 30 years and the shift in national income from labor to capital due to oversupply of lesser-skilled labor.
At the bottom end of the educational scale, the median real personal income for those over 25 with grade school education only was down 8 percent (0.29 percent per annum) in 1973-2003, for those with some high school it was down 29 percent (down 1.13 percent per annum) for those with high school diplomas it was down 18 percent (0.66 percent per annum), and for those with some college by 10 percent (0.37 percent per annum.) Only for those who graduated from a 4 year college did the 30 year period 1973-2003 show real income improvement, by 6 percent (0.20 percent per annum). Note that the income change for each educational segment is at or below the overall average; much of the movement in 1973-2003 has consisted of people investing more money and time in their education than their predecessors, for little or no improvement in net income.

Just a reminder: Real Gross Domestic Product per capita increased over the 1973-2003 period from $20,484 in 2000 dollars to $35,456, an increase of 73 percent, or 1.85 percent per annum, a greater increase than the income of any of the groups listed, including women as a whole. In other words, since 1973 there has been a huge shift from labor to capital in national income, together with a modest shift from the private sector to government, so that individual incomes have benefited scarcely at all from the healthy

Again, short-term fluctuations in statistics do not negate the obvious long-term trends.

At bottom it is a simple matter of supply and demand:flood the economy with low-skill labor and the price of low-skill labor will go down and the employer of low-skill labor can be more selective. Also, if (to take a typical example) the employer of illegal workers has good experiences with relatively docile and dependable Hispanic workers he will recruit through their ethnic networks, freezing out native-born workers.

This (from the same study cited directly above) should be clear enough to penetrate the thickest skull.
The number of new immigrants who joined the labor force between 2000 and the first four months of 2004 was between 2.260 and 2.35 million representing 60 to 62 percent of labor force growth.

Between 2000 and April 2004, the total number of new foreign-born workers who were employed was 2.1 million. During that same period, employment of native-born workers and established foreign immigrants declined by 1.3 million, due to higher unemployment and reduced labor force participation.

Nearly 320,000 new immigrants garnered employment in the nation

The pattern abysmally low labor force participation rates for those with low educational attainment, those most likely to be in direct competition with illegal aliens.
The year-round idleness rate for black men varies by age, educational attainment, and geographic location. Idleness rates in 2002 ranged from a low of 18 percent for those ages 35 to 44 to a high of nearly 42 percent for those 55 to 64. Forty-four percent of black men with no high school diploma were idle year-round versus 26 percent of high school graduates and only 13 percent of those with a bachelor

If immigration only began in 2000, then you might have a point but a weak one. Should anyone be surprised that unemployment and poverty rates started to increase during a recession?

The anti-immigration fanatics blame immigrants. The anti-Bush fanatics blame Bush. The anti-Clinton fanatics blame Clinton. Not just for this but for everything that ails society. What a bunch of idiots.

Ralph continually ignores the facts. This was posted here just yesterday.
.In 2004, fewer than 39 percent of black men between the ages of 16 and 24 had a job. The comparable national numbers for Hispanics and whites were 60 percent and 59 percent. All three groups lost ground between 2000 and 2004. Blacks started from a lower point and fell further...
.intensified competition in the labor market. In a series of reports they have written, Northeastern University economists Andrew Sum and Paul Harrington have documented the success new immigrants have had in landing jobs. Since 2000, 3.7 million new immigrants -- those who arrived in the past five years -- have found employment. In low-wage jobs, immigrants have displaced young people of all races.

But young black men have been hit hardest, Sum said, because they compete most directly with immigrants for jobs at stores and fast-food restaurants, especially in urban areas.

Harrington saw that rivalry up close on a recent visit to Philadelphia where he conducted a focus group with employers. Philadelphia is a city with a large black population and a growing number of immigrants. The employers at the meeting didn't say anything disparaging about black workers. In fact, some of the employers themselves were black. But to a person they were effusive in their praise for immigrants.

"All they could talk about was the work ethic of their foreign-born employees," Harrington said. Work ethic seems to be a term that covers a lot of ground -- everything from showing up on time, to treating customers well, to willingness to learn new skills.

Racism may be a factor, but probably not a big one. Harrington and Sum's research shows that black male immigrants without a high school diploma are twice as likely to hold a job than their native-born counterparts...

That's something we can agree on. Shifting of wealth from the less wealthy to the more wealthy, massive unemployment of black men and young people in general, an addition to the poverty level, and the massive importation of third-world poverty to the US is certainly adverse.

Of course that's not what has happened since 1986. The unemployment rate of black men has declined noticeably since 1986 as has the poverty rate.

More facts, not twisting of facts. I fail to see how shifting wealth from the less wealthy to the more wealthy, massive unemployment of black men and young people in general, an addition to the poverty level, and the massive importation of third-world poverty to the US can be anything but adverse.

More twisting of facts. In the past couple of years these figures have fluctuated unfavorably.

HOWEVER, the long-term trend for all the figures you mentioned are not adverse.

The percentage of the U.S. population living in poverty rose to 12.7 percent from 12.5 percent in 2003, as 1.1 million more people slipped into poverty last year, the Census Bureau said in its annual poverty report. The ranks of the poor rose to 37.0 million, up from 35.9 million the previous year, the report said.

The unemployment rate for students in the highest in a generation. This doesn't show up in the unemployment rate.

In 2004, fewer than 39 percent of black men between the ages of 16 and 24 had a job.

There is always some movement upward - and downward - in "class" but lower income workers have been hit and hit hard by massive immigration - especially illegal immigration, which makes the rich richer at the expense of the workers. This is why the vast majority of US citizens want immigration lowered and illegal immigration halted while the elites want more and more.

By the way, I'm a she.

D Flinchum why is it that the anti-immigration fanatics must resort to using lies to support their position? I'd like to know. Since 1986, even lower income workers have had their economic prospects augmented. Many of them have even gone from lower income workers to middle class or upper class.

What Flinchum does is, rather than observe the trend, he looks at only a few years on the trend since 1986. When the unemployment rate increased during the last recession, some such liars used that to try to suggest that it was caused by immigration. But they never admitted that the trend in unemployment since 1986 was steadily.

Right you are TLB. Legal immigrants often provide the networks, job contacts, and some initial financial support (a place to crash initially, etc) for illegals to enter the US.

Also please note that the great "prosperity" mentioned by the first poster does not affect everybody. The top 10% or so have seen the most increases in net worth, income, etc. The lower income workers - the ones who have to compete with illegal workers for jobs - are actually seeing their economic prospects lowered, along with the quality of their schools and their neighborhoods. This fact alone has made me an immigration restrictionist. Massive immigration - especially illegal immigration - has been an engine to transfer wealth to the top of the economic pyramid from the lower levels. It's not hard to see why the elites defend it.

Legal immigrants do create networks that allow illegals - some being their relatives - to come over. This was observed in the case of the bracero program. Those legal workers created a network and a tradition of Mexicans coming north en masse for work.

"the question of where these estimated numbers of illegals has come from is hardly a mystery. Pete Nunez, the former U.S. attorney for San Diego and a lifelong fighter for immigration control, told me in a recent talk: 'Why are those numbers today so high? Because of the amnesty of 1986!...'"

It is clearly in reference to illegals.

"those numbers"

It is not absolutely clear which "numbers" he is referring to at this point; however, a later passage in the quote seems to clear it up: "the highest number of legal immigrants". So it seems the person quoted -- Nunez -- is referring to the large number of legal immigrants that entered in the '90s.

So it does not appear to me he is, as you say, directly attributing the large number of illegals here today to the 1986 amnesty.


So it hardly seems fair to call the person quoted a "nit wit" on this basis, since he is not responsible for the composition of the article, i.e. any juxtapositions -- the large number of illegals here now is mentioned just before his quote.

But you'd have to be incredibly naive or dishonest or stupid to dismiss the possibility that a portion of the illegals here now were motivated, at least in part, by the thought that they too would one day get amnesty. And so in this sense linking them to the legals resulting from the 1986 legislation does make some sense.


Immigration during the '90s is discussed here:

"the living standards"

Poverty Rate Rises to 12.7 Percent
"The nation's poverty rate rose to 12.7 percent of the population last year, the fourth consecutive annual increase, the Census Bureau said Tuesday."

"nit wit"


Failure? What failure? How are we suffering? The strongest nation on earth. The highest real per capita GDP in our history and second highest in the world. 20 years ago most people didn't even dream of the living standards, the unemployment rate, the prosperity that we have now. How spoiled are we?

On another note, I found it interesting that the nit wit quoted in the article attributes the high rate of illegal immigration to the fact that immigrants were permitted to sponsor family members. This may be attributed to the high number of legal immigrants, but to suggest it is also the cause for the high number of illegal immigrants is beyond silly.

america 1986 gave amnesty 1 to 2 million people now there 12 to 20 million and now program like latin view wants us to do it again. is that fair people who cam here the right way.