Over the past forty years, an era started in 1965, America experienced flood of immigrants from different parts of the world. The substantial increase in immigration has mad the American society more diverse and multicultural. In the mean time, American social, political and economic institutions remained subject to enormous pressure nationally from multiculturalism and globally from the augment of international cosmopolitanism and have to mold their policies according to the changing cultural social milieu constantly and frequently.
The mounting cosmopolitanism recommends that Americans should avert from their constricted national identifications in favor of global and transnational attachments. The ICRA (1986) and immigration Act of 1990 was a clear manifestation of recognition of this phenomenon i. e. planning to reduce pressure on American socio-economic institute while identifying the force of cosmopolitanism. Presently United States is experiencing the marked increase in immigration inflow as over 14 million immigrants has got into the country by legal or illegal means during the 1990s.
Research studies predict the same course of inundation in immigration for this decade. The earlier immense wave of immigration carried immigrants chiefly from Europe, but at present 50% immigrants are from Latin America and another parts from Asia. This continental shift of immigrants has generated huge controversies over the issues of partial enforcement of immigration i. e. granting the permission to some while negating it to others, assimilation of the immigrants into the local socio-cultural set-up and providing them services to settle down socially, economically and politically.
This process faces many intricacies and complexities as various ethical and socio-cultural factors impede its ways. Unauthorized immigration was one the dilemma faced by the American immigration programs over the past decades as its harms the proper recognition of status of immigrants and provision of their basic rights and services. The 1981 Immigration Reform and Control Act (ICRA) was the first legislative attempt to compressively address the issue of unauthorized immigration.
The Act recommended and implemented the policies such as sanction against employers who hires undocumented immigrants, more surveillance and border enforcement and an all-encompassing legalization process of earlier unauthorized immigrants. The legalization of unauthorized immigrants programs permitted all residents who were continuously in America since January 1, 1982 to retain the temporary legal status. Approximately 1. 75 million applied through the program and 94% of them get the approval. Recent immigration includes a relatively large number of undocumented immigrants—over 11 million, according to most recent estimates.
The large and growing share of all immigrants who are undocumented (now nearing 30 percent) is prompting proposals to regularize or legalize their status, as well as initiatives to heighten border and interior enforcement. Undocumented men come to the United States almost exclusively to work. In 2003, over 90 percent of undocumented men worked—a rate higher than that for U. S. citizens or legal immigrants (Passel, Capps, and Fix 2004). Undocumented men are younger, less likely to be in school, and less likely to be retired than other men (Capps et al. 2003).
Moreover, undocumented immigrants are ineligible for welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, and most other public benefits (Fix, Zimmermann, and Passel 2001). Numerical Limitations on Permanent Legal Immigration imposed by the Immigration Act of 1990 provided for an overall annual cap of 675,000 on legal admissions for permanent residence beginning in 1995. This cap represents an increase from the previous ceiling of 270,000 on legal immigration, though the new cap applies to the immigration of immediate family members of U. S. citizens. The Immigration Act of 1990 provides for 140,000 visas annually for employment-based immigration.
Prior to this legislation, less than 60,000 immigrants could enter the United States annually under occupational preferences. Finally, the Immigration Act of 1990 created a permanent diversity program that beginning in 1995, has provided for 55,000 visas annually for immigrants from countries that have been underrepresented in immigration flows to the United States in recent years. Between 1992 and 1994, the legislation provided for a transitional cap of 700,000 on legal immigration. Under this transitional cap, 465,000 visas were reserved for family immigration while 140,000 were set aside for employment.