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IRCA 1986 Phase II: Educational Requirements Policy Rhetoric vs. Implementation

Gayle K. Berardi


In their discussions of United States immigration policy, national policy-makers have often expressed the need for legislation that would provide for the legalization of undocumented immigrants. Further, it would stipulate rules for permanent residency that would encourage the integration of new residents into the mainstream of U.S. society. The passage of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) was an attempt to realize these policy goals.

Phase I of IRCA allowed for certain undocumented immigrants to apply for temporary resident status and later for permanent resident status. This phase ended in May 1988. Phase II allows for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence when an applicant demonstrates an understanding of English and a knowledge of the history and government ofthe United States. An applicant who has resided in the United States for a period of eighteen months after the granting of temporary resident status may apply for permanent resident status. This process must be completed within a twelve month period.

The education requirement and the role of educational providers responsible for offering courses to meet the needs of legalized immigrants are explored in this study. Specifically, the problems encountered by educators and students are analyzed in an attempt to assess the success of the implementation of the education requirement of IRCA, Phase II.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229