The Most Important Immigration Laws
1990 Immigration Act (IMMACT)
The Immigration Act of 1990 changed American immigration law, allowing more people to enter the country each year . It also amended previous immigration law that attempted to disallow HIV-positive individuals from entering America and again permitted people that are HIV positive to immigrate and visit the country. This mirrored the national perception of AIDS as society began to better understand the serious ailment. On the contrary, the law also sought to limit certain people from accessing the United States. Under this legislation, homosexuals would no longer be able to enter the country.
One specific stipulation in this law still exists and operates well. The 1990 immigration act commenced a yearly lottery that encouraged applications from nations without a strong representation in America. This would sit in direct contradiction to many previous laws that attempted to disallow certain people to enter the country based solely on their country or region of origin. The 1990 Immigration Act was a seismic change to American immigration policy.
Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA)
The Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty, known commonly as the AEDPA, offered drastic changes to several fields of national law. Introduced with a package of new legislation, under Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the House, referred to as the Contract with America. Specifically, this law changed the way that state and federal judges could review decisions. It also altered the way capital punishment appeals work, and some claim that this has likely caused numerous wrongful executions.
The legal effects that the AEDPA had on immigration are best seen by the stark increases in deportation within just a few years. As a result of the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, in conjunction with other new immigration laws, it became tougher for individuals facing deportation to have their cases reviewed.
Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act
Alongside the AEDPA, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act is seen as a large contributor to the stark increase in yearly deportations after 1996. This legislation effected all immigrants, legal and illegal, as well as the services around them. Some officials have questioned the constitutionality of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, while many have found it to be too strict.
The law aimed to set specific bars to which unlawfully present persons are to be deported regardless of their actions. Also, the legislation bolstered the border patrol; providing, more funding, technological advancements, and more officials. The effectiveness of this legislation is arguable based on the numbers of illegal immigrants that remain in the country and that continue to cross the border in astronomical numbers.
Center for Immigration Studies
The Center for Immigration Studies operates as a think tank for conservative immigration policy. Often, the mass media portrays conservative opinion on illegal immigration as a incessant desire to impose a mass-deportation. As enumerated by the Center for Immigration Studies, they find this to be counter-productive and state this would not only be ineffective, but potentially dangerous to the American economy.
Theories set-forth by the Center for Immigration Studies establishes commonly held belief between both sides of the political aisle. Continued failure to address comprehensive immigration reform makes little sense when comparing the two platforms. Clearly, amnesty is the kicker for much of the immigration debate, but beyond this central disagreement is many points of agreement that require proper time and study.
Homeland Security Act of 2002
An act established in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, the Homeland Security Act of 2002 began the biggest government restructuring in more than fifty years. Sometimes seen in a negative light, the Homeland Security Act established the United States Department of Homeland Security, under which many initiatives of the Patriot Act were carried-out. The act also created a new cabinet secretary, the Secretary of Homeland Security. The current secretary under President Barack Obama is Janet Napolitano.
The act also established that the Department of Homeland Security would assume responsibility of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Presumably, the act was established to centralize control of America's domestic security agencies to ward off terrorist attacks by fostering collaboration and data sharing between federal agencies.
Enforcement Practices of INS
The Immigration and Naturalization Services was the agency formerly tasked with enforcing national immigration laws. Beyond this, the INS also was responsible for naturalization practices, permanent residence, and asylum. Since the adoption of the Homeland Security Act, many of the responsibilities formerly operated by the INS are now under the Department of Homeland Security's purview.
For practical purposes, the INS was broken down into four sections. Each division operated specific services or enforced specific forms of immigration law. Many criticize the actions of the former INS, and these complaints are useful for the future of immigration policy and enforcement under the Department of Homeland Security.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is a division of the DHS, which has taken over several duties originally handled by the INS. The USCIS's duties include national security, process of citizenship and immigration services, and relations with customers. The USCIS is known for their general services to the public. The two main types of services it handles are immigration services and naturalization services. If you need legal advice and assistance, contact immigration lawyers.