The Immigration Reform and Control Act: Immigration Policy and the National Interest

Today more than ever the United States is a target for international migration. Population growth and economic stagnation in the Third World are increasing the pressures for emigration, and current United States immigration law is incapable of responding to the growing flow of illegal immigrants. The number of illegal aliens apprehended in the United States increased forty percent in 1983, and reached 1.4 million by the year’s end. The backlog of applications for political asylum is over 165,000, and many of these claims are frivolous. Polls by Roper, Gallup, NBC, and others have shown that ninety percent of the American public demands immigration reform, and yet we as a nation have been distinctly unwilling or unable to respond to this overwhelming public sentiment. This Article will discuss the history and philosophy of United States immigration policy, the causes and extent of illegal immigration, the related issue of political asylum, and the legislative response to the current need for immigration reform: the Immigration Reform and Control Act, known as the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill.