The real American lives of immigrants in Reagan’s 1986 amnesty

The World

Arizona continues to attract the spotlight in the fiery immigration debate for taking a tough, conservative stance against undocumented immigrants. Their new law is the far end of the spectrum from more liberal reform proposals, like amnesty. It was, however, a conservative hero, President Ronald Reagan, who signed the last amnesty into law in 1986.

Three million illegal immigrants were permitted to set roots and build lives in America on the books after the Simpson-Mazzoli Act granted them a path to citizenship while making hiring an undocumented worker a crime. So what happened to those three million? How did their lives unfold after an act of congress and the stroke of a pen protected their presence on our soil?

Steven Thrasher profiles the impact of amnesty in The Village Voice. He traces the changes in the lives of three people in New York who received amnesty in 1986. Noel Bordador, a gay Episcopal Priest and social worker, is one of those profiled in the Voice piece.

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