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Who Gets A Green Card?: Amnesty

It seems to happen every year but particularly during an election cycle. Will the government take action to legalize at least some of the over ten million undocumented individuals residing in the U.S? Many refer to it as an "amnesty". Others prefer to term it "a path to citizenship" Either way it generally means the same thing. Find or create a mechanism to give legal status to millions who  don't currently qualify. 

The last full Immigration amnesty that meaningfully addressed the general undocumented population took place over three decades ago. That law known as  the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.

Those amnesty provisions primarily benefited and legalized  two different classes of individuals.

  1. Undocumented seasonal agricultural  workers 
  2. Undocumented individuals who entered the United States before January 1, 1982 and had resided here continuously since then

Since that 1986 law there has been a number of provisions that gave a kind of amnesty but only to very limited populations. These include:

NACARA which only benefited certain Salvadorans, Guatemalans, and Nicaraguans 

The Cuban/Haitian Entrant Program which only benefited certain Cubans and Haitians

HRIFA which only benefited Haitian nationals and their dependents.

Many people also erroneously believe that Daca and TPS (both of which confer only a temporary status that does not provide residency) are amnesties. 

You can read our entire series, "Who Gets A Green Card?" below:

Who Gets A Green Card? : Through a Job or Job Offer

 Who Gets a Green Card?: Special Immigrants

Who Gets A Green Card? : People Granted Political Asylum and Refugees

 Who Gets a Green Card?: Trafficking and Crime Victims

 Who Gets A Green Card?: Victims of Abuse

 Who Gets A Green Card?: Those Residing Here Since 1972

 Who Gets A Green Card?: Various Other Categories

 Who Gets A Green Card?: Amnesty

Who Gets A Green Card? : Through Family Relationships

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