A Comparison of Today's Unauthorized Immigrants and the IRCA Legalized: Implications for Immigration Reform

Brief

A Comparison of Today's Unauthorized Immigrants and the IRCA Legalized: Implications for Immigration Reform

December 23, 2013

Abstract

Today's unauthorized immigrants are older, better educated, more geographically dispersed,
have more diverse country-of-origin backgrounds, and have spent more time in the United States than unauthorized immigrants who legalized under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). Nevertheless, the wage gap between unauthorized immigrants and native-born workers is wider today than it was in 1986. Policymakers must keep such differences in mind when using IRCA to anticipate the impacts of legalization programs today and making decisions about how to implement such programs.

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Cross-Center Initiative

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