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Since the first immigration amnesty in 1986, millions of undocumented aliens, or illegal immigrants, have been granted permanent resident status in the United States. Critics of immigration amnesty claim that they only entice an even greater number of illegal migrants, while supporters of an immigration amnesty maintain that an amnesty would benefit the entire country.
In 1986, Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, or IRCA, which granted approximately 2.8 million undocumented immigrants legal status in the United States. IRCA allowed millions of illegal or undocumented immigrants to receive a Green Card, which could eventually lead to U.S. citizenship. Former President Bush proposed comprehensive immigration reform. However, members of Congress voted against it. It is speculated that immigration reform will become a key issue under the new administration.
The United States government estimates that there are over 11 million illegal aliens living in the U.S.
The USCIS, or the United States Citizen and Immigration Service, is a department within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The USCIS was created by the Homeland Security Act of 2002, and was formerly the benefit and service functions of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).
Immigration reform was on Barack Obama's agenda even before he was elected president of the United States. During his presidential campaign in 2008 he spoke to Latino voters about the importance of fixing America’s broken immigration system.
"Adjustment of Status" is the process in which a foreign national residing in the U.S. changes his or her legal status to "permanent resident." Adjustment of Status is a comprehensive application process that consists of forms and application fees.