“Future generations of Americans will be thankful for our efforts to humanely regain control of our borders and thereby preserve the value of one of the most sacred possessions of our people, American citizenship.”
President Ronald Reagan, November 6, 1986:
“This bill, The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 that I’ll sign in a few minutes, is the most comprehensive reform of our immigration laws since 1952. It’s the product of one of the longest and most difficult legislative undertakings in the last three congresses. Further, it’s an excellent example of a truly successful bipartisan effort. The administration and the allies of immigration reform on both sides of the capital and both sides of the aisle, worked together to accomplish these critically important reforms to control illegal immigration.
In 1981, this administration asked the Congress to pass a comprehensive legislative package, including employer sanctions, other measures to increase enforcement of the immigration laws and legalization. The Act provides these three essential components. Distance has not discouraged illegal immigration to the United States from all around the globe. The problem of illegal immigration should not therefore be seen as a problem between the United States and its neighbors.
Our objective is only to establish a reasonable, fair, orderly, and secure system of immigration into this country, and not to discriminate in any way against particular nations or people. I would like to recognize a few of the public servants whose unflagging efforts have made this legislation a reality. Senator Alan Simpson, Congressman Dan Lungren, chairman Peter Rodino, Congressman Ron Mazzoli, have long pursued and now have attained this landmark legislation.
Important roles were played by Senator Strom Thurmond, Senator Paul Simon, Congressman Ham Fish, Bill McCollum, Chuck Schumer and many others in both houses of the Congress and in both parties. Additionally, I would like to note the excellent efforts of members of my administration, who have worked so hard over the last six years to make this bill signing possible today. The long, long list of those in the executive branches, edit by attorneys general, Edward Meese and William Prince Smith, who with immigration commissioner, Alan C. Nelson have contributed greatly to our efforts to pass meaningful immigration reform.
Future generations of Americans will be thankful for our efforts to humanely regain control of our borders and thereby preserve the value of one of the most sacred possessions of our people, American citizenship.”