Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



Family Law | Immigration Law | Law


Center for Gender & Sexuality Law


The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), Congress' attempt to clean up the problem of illegal immigration in the United States, puts a great number of undocumented alien families, mostly Mexican, to a hard test. Under IRCA's amnesty provisions, every alien must individually meet the eligibility requirements, such as having lived in the United States since before January 1, 1982. But many aliens who satisfy those requirements have spouses or children who do not. Thus while eligible aliens may adjust to a legal immigration status, their ineligible family members must either leave the United States or remain illegally, subject to deportation when apprehended. ...