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By Patrick Osio, Jr. 

Congress is to blame for present immigration status

By Patrick Osio

In the coming immigration reform debate the nation must return to the doctrine which governed through the 19th and much of the 20th centuries. To wit: Immigration policy must be based on what is good for the nation, not the immigrant.

Congressional representatives of both Houses must stop blaming illegal immigration on the immigrant who illegally crosses the border in search of economic opportunities not present in their home country. The blame lies with political decisions made by past and present members of the House and Senate.

Ignoring the issue for the benefit of political campaign contributions and favoritism to business interests since the early 1940’s caused the abandonment of the most successful immigration policy that made the nation great by supplying it with dedicated and fully committed loyal citizens from all countries in the world.

As early as 1947, then President Harry Truman noted that the undocumented entry along the nation’s southern border was becoming epidemic asking Congress to pass laws prohibiting such hiring. Congress ignored his request allowing the unrestrained flow and hiring to continue.

President Eisenhower guided in part by a New York Times article reading, "The rise in illegal border-crossing by Mexican 'wetbacks' to a current rate of more than 1,000,000 cases a year has been accompanied by a curious relaxation in ethical standards extending all the way from the farmer-exploiters of this contraband labor to the highest levels of the Federal Government" in 1954, launched Operation Wetback deporting over one-million illegal entrants. The operation was hailed as a success, but in reality  the southern border had been turned into a turn sty. An again, nothing was done about the hiring practices that was the invitation for illegal entries.

Politicos became adept at blaming Mexico and Mexican citizens for the illegal immigration phenomenon while taking their cue to say much but do nothing from their business political contributors and gaining favor with the nation’s nativist of which many Congressional members are among their ranks. There was little care about the animosity and resentment citizens held against these economic opportunity seekers. This led to the wide held belief that it’s not the jobs that attract; rather it is the lawlessness of Mexicans because after all, the U.S. is a nation of laws.


President Ronald Reagan showed the necessary resolve to tackle the issue. And tackle it he did. He pushed and had Congress pass the first truly immigration reform, which for the first time made it a Federal offense to hire illegal immigrants. The passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) in 1986, was to hail a new era on immigration policy and bring back the nation on course returning to an immigration policy that was best for the country.


But politicos guided by and influenced by special interests gutted the sections pertaining to illegally hiring and in many cases when the then Immigration and Naturalization Service attempted to enforce illegal hiring of undocumented workers, Congressional members steped in to stop them. It was a shameful practice but no one spoke up against those Congressional representatives.


So IRCA was blamed as a failure. The failure was not the law, it was the political hypocrisy of our elected body. Had IRCA been properly enforced, illegal immigration would not be the problem it is today.


So now we are leaving it up to Congress to once again come to the table and provide us with WHAT? More of the same?  If so, we will be no further ahead than we were in 1986.


There is no need for long and prolonged debate on the issue. It is as simple as revisiting IRCA and adjust it but with clear mandate for strict adherence to the sections prohibiting hiring of undocumented workers, and forcing the agricultural sector to comply with IRCA’s mandate regarding the use of the H-2A Temporary Agricultural Guest Worker Program. IRCA’s Amnesty section can be duplicated as written but with stricter controls and enforcement. It’s all there.


Once this is done, the work can begin on making the other changes to keep the flow of highly skilled and educated immigrants that are in high demand and needed to continue the nation’s growth.


It is simply a matter of doing right by the nation, not the politicians and their patrons.


Patrick Osio is the Editor of HispanicVista.com. Contact at: PosioJr@aol.com

The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), Pub.L. 99–603, 100 Stat. 3359, enacted November 6, 1986, also Simpson-Mazzoli Act, is an Act of Congress which reformed United States immigration law.

In brief the act:[1]

  • Required employers to attest to their employees' immigration status.
  • Made it illegal to knowingly hire or recruit unauthorized immigrants.
  • Amended the H-2 temporary agricultural guest worker visa creating the H-2A visa
  • Legalized certain seasonal agricultural illegal immigrants.
  • 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. About three million illegal immigrants were granted legal status.



Colloquial name(s)

Simpson–Mazzoli Act

Enacted by the

99th United States Congress


Introduced in the Senate as S. 1200 by Alan K. Simpson on May 23, 1985

Committee consideration by: Senate Judiciary, Senate Budget

Passed the Senate on September 19, 1985 (69–30)

Passed the House on October 9, 1986 (voice vote after incorporating H.R. 3810, passed 230–166)

Reported by the joint conference committee on October 14, 1986; agreed to by the House on October 15, 1986 (238–173) and by the Senate on October 17, 1986 (63–24)

Signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on November 6, 1986


Patrick Osio is the editor of HispanicVistae Visit, Stay to Live.”  Contact at Posiojr@aol.com

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