,CP 428 0
95th Congress COMMITTEE PRINT No. 5
Analysis and Background
PREPARED FOR THE USE OF THE
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Education and Public Welfare Division
Congressional Research Service
Library of Congress
Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON ; 1977
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
PETER W. RODINO, JR., New Jersey, Chairman
JACK BROOKS, Texas
ROBERT W. KASTENMEIER, Wisconsin
DON EDWARDS, California
JOHN CONYERS, JB., Michigan
JOSHUA EILBERG, Pennsylvania
WALTER FLOWERS, Alabama
JAMES R. MANN, South Carolina
JOHN F. SEIBERLING, Ohio
GEORGE E. DANIELSON, California
ROBERT F. DRINAN, Massachusetts
BARBARA JORDAN, Texas
ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN, New York
ROMANO L. MAZZOLI, Kentucky
WILLIAM J. HUGHES, New Jersey
SAM B. HALL, JR., Texas
LAMAR GUDGER, North Carolina
HAROLD L. VOLKMER, Missouri
HERBERT E. HARRIS II, Virginia
JIM SANTINI, Nevada
ALLEN E. ERTEL, Pennsylvania
BILLY LEE EVANS, Georgia
ANTHONY C. BEILENSON, California
ROBERT McCLORY, Illinois
TOM RAILSBACK, Illinois
CHARLES E. WIGGINS, California
HAMILTON FISH, JR., New York
M. CALDWELL BUTLER, Virginia
WILLIAM S. COHEN, Maine
CARLOS J. MOORHEAD, California
JOHN M. ASHBROOK, Ohio
HENRY J. HYDE, Ilinois
THOMAS N. KINDNESS, Ohio
HAROLD S. SAWYER, Michigan
ALAN A. PARKER, General Counsel
GARNER J. CLINE, Staff Director
FRANKLIN G. POLK, Associate Counsel
SUBCOMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION, CITIZENHIP, AND INTERNATIONAL LAW
JOSHUA EILBER0G, Bernnsylvania, Chairman
ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN, New York HAMILTON FISH, JE., New York
SAM B. HALL, JR., Texas HAROLD S. SAWYER, Michigan
HERBERT E. HARRIS H, Virginia
BILLY LEE EVANS, Georgia
GARNER J. CLINE, Counsel
ARTHUR P. ENDURES, Jr., Counsel
ALEXANDER B. COOK, Associate Counsel
This report deals with the complex and emotionally charged sub-
ject of aliens who have entered this country in violation of the Im-
migration and Nationality Act or who have accepted employment in
violation of their nonimmigrant status.
The issue of illegal aliens has received the close scrutiny of the
Judiciary Committee, particularly the Subcommittee on Immigra-
tion, Citizenship, and International Law since 1971, and during the
92nd and 93rd Congresses the Committee produced legislation which
was overwhelmingly approved by the House of Representatives.
The difficult task of drafting remedial legislation in this sensitive
area has been compounded by the fact that a variety of diverse public
policy issues must be addressed such as: the identification of illegal
aliens by employers and government officials, the adjustment of status
of illegal aliens who have developed equities in the United States, the
use of social services by legal and illegal aliens, the effect of illegal
Mexican immigration on our relations with that government, and em-
ployment discrimination against ethnic and minority groups.
This Library of Congress study, prepared in February of this year,
presents a comprehensive and objective analysis of this pervasive
problem and provides an excellent overview of Congressional activities
in this area. The study describes the nature and scope of the problem
with particular emphasis on the social and economic impacts caused by
illegal aliens. It also provides background information on our general
immigration law and traces the development of federal legislation
establishing employer sanctions. More importantly, it analyzes the
vexing issues which currently confront policymakers in both the
Executive and Legislative Branches of the Government as they at-
tempt to devise an appropriate solution to this serious problem.
It is the hope of the Committee that this report will assist the
Members of Congress in achieving a thorough understanding of this
The author of this study is Joyce C. Vialet, an analyst in social
legislation in the Education and Public Welfare Division, Congressional
Research Service, Library of Congress. Mrs. Vialet has worked closely
with the Judiciary Committee over the years on this matter and has
conducted extensive research on the subject of illegal aliens as well as
on a variety of other immigration-related issues.
I. Numbers, origins, and characteristics of illegal ailiens-- ---------- 2
Numbers------------------ ___ ------------ 2
Countries of origin and status at entry------------------- 5
A. INS apprehension data------- ---__------------ 5
B. Mexico and other sending countries: other sources of
data --- ------------------------ 8
C. International causes of illegal migration -------------- 10
Personal characteristics of illegal aliens-___----------- ----- 11
II. Impact of illegal aliens ------------- -------__ ------ 13
Impact on U.S. labor market------_ --------___---__ 14
A. North/Houstoun study: wages and occupations--------- 14
B. North/Houstoun study: evidence of exploitation------- 17
C. Competition in the secondary labor market___________ -18
D. Depression of wages and working conditions---------- 20
Impact on tax-supported service and benefit programs -------- 21
A. Responsibility for emergency medical treatment ------- 22
B. Findings of North/Houstoun study ----_ --- 23
C. Federal bars against illegal alien participation in public
assistance programs--------------------. --- _- 24
D. Displacement effects unknown_ ---------------- 25
Payments sent to home countries by illegal aliens- ------_--- 26
III. Existing legislation and recent congressional and Federal action -__- 27
Existing Federal legislation ----------------------------- 27
A. Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, as amended-- 27
B. Other Federal laws and regulations with a bearing on
illegal aliens_ ------ ------------------------ 28
Recent congressional action----------------------------- 30
A. Penalties for the employment of illegal aliens --------- 30
B. Operations of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization
Service (INS) ------------- --_-------------_ 32
C. INS authorizations and appropriations---------------. 33
Recent executive branch action_--------- --_---------- 33
A. INS priorities and budget ---- -------_---------_ 34
B. Foreign policy ---- -------------------------- 35
C. Preliminary report of the Domestic Council Committee
on Illegal Aliens ---_------------- ------_--- 36
U.S. Supreme Court decisions ---------_---- ---------- 38
IV. Historical development and background ---- ---------------- 38
Development of U.S. immigration laws ------------------- 38
A. General -------_ __--- ____ 38
B. Application of the 20,000 per country limit to Mexico___ 41
C. Western Hemisphere ceiling ----- ----------- -__ 42
D. Restrictions on alien workers_ --------------_ 45
Historical analysis of Mexican immigration to the United States-_ 47
A. 1917-1942 ________ --------------- 50
B. Bracero program _______---------------- ___ 51
C. Illegal aliens as black market guest workers-------____ 55
V. Current issues: Pro and con_ __ 56
Penalties for the employment of illegal aliens-_-- ------------ 56
Work permit ----------_______________-________ -----58
Amnesty ------------------------------------------------_ 59
Expanded availability of temporary alien workers ------------- 60
Reassessment of U.S. immigration policy ___----_ --_ 62
Adequacy of financial resources for INS (Justice) and Bureau of
Security and Consular Affairs (State) --- ------- 64
Increased enforcement of existing related legislation --------_ 66
Comparison of major provisions of H.R. 8713, as reported, with S. 3074
(94th Congress) -------------------- ---------- ---------- 68
References cited -------------------------------------_----_ 70
ILLEGAL ALIENS: ANALYSIS AND BACKGROUND
Illegal aliens are persons of foreign nationality who have entered
the United States unlawfully; or who, after legal entry, have violated
the terms of their admission, generally by overstaying and/or accepting
unauthorized employment. No reliable estimates are available on
the total illegal alien population, although it is thought to number
into the millions. The Immigration and Naturalization Service
(INS), within the U.S. Department of Justice, maintains statistics
on the number of deportable aliens apprehended each year. Recently
apprehensions have been approximately double the number of legally
The primary impact of illegal aliens in the United States is believed
to be on the labor market. Information on the nature of this and other
impacts is inadequate, reflecting the observation of the U.S. Domestic
Council Committee on Illegal Aliens that, "Research into the char-
acteristics and impact of a clandestine population presents extra-
ordinary difficulties." 1
It is generally agreed that, in the words of the House Judiciary
Committee, "the primary reason for the illegal alien problem is the
economic imbalance between the United States and the countries
from which the aliens come, coupled with the chance of employment
in the United States." 2 However, there is disagreement about the
appropriate U.S. policy toward illegal aliens, as reflected in the five-
year debate in Congress over legislation establishing penalties for
U.S. employers who hire illegal aliens.3
Increasingly, it is argued that long-term solutions to the illegal
alien problem, particularly as it involves Mexico, must also be inter-
national in scope if they are to have any chance of success. Quoting
from the report of the Department of Justice's Special Study Group
on Illegal Immigrants from Mexico, "Because illegal immigration
from Mexico is fundamentally an economic problem, it will persist
as long as the great disparities between the United States and Mexico
in employment opportunities and standard of living continue." 4
As measured by the number of bills introduced, illegal aliens were
the aspect of immigration of greatest general legislative interest
during the 94th Congress. More than 50 bills, some identical, were
devoted in whole or in part to this subject. Legislation aimed at
controlling the illegal alien problem passed the House during the 92nd
I U.S. Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens. Preliminary Report, December 1976, p. 221. (Hence-
forth cited as the Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens report (December 1976).)
2 U.S. Congress. House. Committee on the Judiciary. Amending the Immigration and Nationality Act,
and for other purposes; Report to accompany H.R. 8713. Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office,
1975. (94th Congress, 1st session. House. Report No. 94-506) p. 6. (Henceforth cited as H. Rept. No. 94-506
3 For a review of the positions of some of the major interest groups on legislation pending before the 94th
Congress, see "Illegal Alien Curbs: House Action Stalled," Congressional Quarterly, March 20, 1976, pp.
4 U.S. Special Study Group on Illegal Immigrants from Mexico. Final Report, A Program for Effective
and Humane Action on Illegal Mexican Immigrants, Jan. 15, 1973, p. 40. (Popularly referred to as the Cram-
ton Commission report, after its chairman, Roger C. Cramton, U.S. Department of Justice; henceforth
cited as the Cramton report (January 1973).)
and 93rd Congresses. Similar legislation was reported, but not passed
during the 94th Congress; and, for the first time during the past three
Congresses, a related bill was given serious attention by the Senate
Judiciary Committee. This paper is intended as a review and analysis
of a number of issues relating to the illegal alien problem, as back-
ground for the legislative debate which may be expected to continue
during the 95th Congress.
I. NUMBERS, ORIGINS, AND CHARACTERISTICS OF ILLEGAL ALIENS
In fiscal year 1975, the Immigration and Naturalization Service
(INS) located 766,600 aliens who were deportable under the Immi-
gration and Nationality Act, either because of illegal entry (87 percent)
or violation of the terms of their entry.1 This figure represents a slight
decrease from the 788,145 deportable aliens located in fiscal year
1974, the first decrease since fiscal year 1964 (see Table 1).
The statistics on apprehensions of illegal aliens have been dwarfed
by the current estimates from various sources of the numbers of
illegal aliens in the United States. Nonetheless, the apprehension
figures are exceedingly high, both in terms of apprehensions in the
recent past, and in terms of the number of immigrants legally admitted
each year. Over the ten-year period 1966-1975, the number of de-
portable, or "illegal", aliens apprehended has increased by 453
percent; going back 15 years, to 1961, the increase is 762 percent.
TABLE 1.-ALIENS APPREHENDED, ALIENS DEPORTED, AND ALIENS REQUIRED TO DEPART, YEARS ENDED JUNE 30,
Aliens Aliens required
Period apprehended I Total deported to depart 2
1892-1975.--..--.-------------.--- ---- 9,982,524
1892-1900.------._----- ._ ------------
1911-20... --------.--...-- ....-- ........-...
1921-30.----- ---- ---------------------128,484
1931-40 ...-------. ---------------------- 147,457
1931--. --_....._..... ..... .._... 22,276
1934.------------.. ----------- ---- 10,319
1935-..._ ____.----------------------- 11,016
1936. --------------------------------- 11,728
1937 ......._.. ......_ ....----------------. 13,054
1938 ._..._.._... ..--------------- ----- 12,851
1941-50 --------------------------------- 1,377,210
1941 .------------------------ -- -------- 11,294
1942... ----------------------------- 11,784
1945 ----------- 69, 164
1946 ------------- -------------------99,591
1947 ----------------- 193,657
1948 ----- ----- ---------- 192,779
1949 ---- -- ----------------------- 288,253
1950 --------------------------------- 468,339
10,300,195 681,959 9,618.235
3,127 3,127 .- ---
11,558 11,558 .-----
27,912 27,912 ------
164,390 92,157 72,233
210,416 117,086 93,330
29,861 18,142 11,719
30,201 19,426 10,775
30,212 19, 865 10.347
16,889 8,879 8,010
16,297 8,319 7,978
17,446 9,195 8,251
17,617 8,829 8,788
18,553 9,275 9,278
17,792 8,202 9,590
15,548 6,954 8.594
1,581,774 110,849 1,470,925
10,938 4,407 6,531
10,613 3,709 6,904
16,154 4,207 11,947
39,449 7,179 32,270
80,760 11,270 69,490
116,320 14,375 101,945
214,543 18,663 195,880
217,555 20,371 197,184
296,337 20,040 276, 297
579,105 6,628 572.477
See footnotes at end of table.
U.S. Department of Justice. Immigration and Naturalization Service. 1975 Annual Report, 1976, p. 13.
(Henceforth cited as 1975 INS annual report.)
TABLE 1.-ALIENS APPREHENDED, ALIENS DEPORTED, AND ALIENS REQUIRED TO DEPART, YEARS ENDED JUNE 30,
Aliens Aliens required
Period apprehended Total deported to depart 2
1951-60..-__....--- ----- 3,584, 229 4,013. 547 129, 887 3,883, 660
1951--..------------------ -509, 040 686,713 13,544 673,169
1952.. --------------- 528,815 723,959 20,181 703,778
1953 -....-- ---___- 885 587 905,236 19,845 885,391
1954 -----------------------------------1,089,583 1,101,228 26,951 1,074,277
1955---------------------- 254,096 247,797 15,028 232,769
1956 -------------- ------ 87,696 88,188 7,297 80,891
1957. ------ --.____ 59,918 68,461 5,082 63,379
1958-..- ----------- 53,474 67,742 7,142 6,600
1959--- 45,336 64,598 7,988 56 610
1960... -..- -------......_.... 70,684 59,625 6,829 52,796
1961-70...---------------- -- 1,608,356 1,430,902 96,374 1,334,528
1961.---------.. ------------. 88,823 59,821 7,438 52,383
1962 ---__ --------. 92,758 61,801 7,637 54 164
193. ----------- 88, 712 76,846 7,454 69 392
1964-...--._.......----- ----- ------ 8 597 81,788 8,746 73,042
1965 110, 371 105,406 10,143 95,263
1966 --- ---------------------- 138, 520 132,851 9,168 123,683
1967 ---. ----- ---------- 161, 608 151,603 9,260 142,343
1968--------------- 212, 057 189,082 9,130 179,952
1969.. -- --- 283, 557 251, 463 10, 505 240, 958
1970._. --------- 345, 353 320,241 16,893 303,348
1971 -------- 420,126 387, 713 17,639 370, 074
1972. ----- ---- --- ---- 505, 949 467,193 16, 266 450,927
1973.. ----------655, 968 584,847 16,842 568,005
1974.. ____ ___ 788,145 737,564 18,824 718,740
1975..-.__ -------- 766, 600 679,252 23,438 655,814
I Aliens apprehended first recorded in 1925. Prior to 1960, represents total aliens actually apprehended. Since 1960,
figures are for total deportable aliens located, including nonwillful crewman violators.
2 Aliens required to depart first recorded in 1927.
Source: 1975 INS Annual Report, table 23, p. 90.
In the words of the House Judiciary Committee, "This wholesale
violation of the law disrupts that legal and orderly flow of aliens into
the United States, and threatens the integrity of our system of
immigration." 2 The 766,600 aliens apprehended in fiscal year 1975
is almost double the 386,194 immigrants admitted legally during the
same year. Quoting from a report prepared recently for the U.S. De-
partment of Labor, "In essence, escalating apprehension rates of
illegals are a sign that there is a serious discrepancy between de jure
and de facto immigration policy, and that this gap is widening." 3
It is generally agreed that there is no reliable estimate of the total
illegal alien population in the United States. Since 1973, the estimates
of the Immigration and Naturalization Service have varied from just
over 1 million to as high as 12 million, a range which has cast some
doubt on their credibility. In late 1976, the INS estimate of the
illegal alien population was 6-8 million.4 INS is the first to acknowl-
edge that its estimates are only educated guesses, based largely on the
experience of INS officials in the field.
2 House Report No. 94-506 (1975), p. 5.
3 David S. North and Marion F. Houstoun, "The Characteristics and Role of Illegal Aliens in the U.S.
Labor Market: An Exploratory Study," March 1976, p. 30. (Henceforth cited as North/Houstoun study
SINS Commissioner Leonard F. Chapman, Statement before the Select Committee on
Small Business, November 23. 1976, p. 2.
Ray Marshall, now Secretary of Labor and formerly an economist
with the University of Texas, wrote in 1976:
Leonard F. Chapman, Jr., director of the Immigration and Naturalization
Service, said in 1975 that an estimated 12 million illegal aliens were displacing
American workers, and were costing American tax payers millions of dollars each
year; . While experts consider General Chapman's estimates to be exaggera-
tions, they nevertheless agree that there are several million illegals in the country
and that they constitute a serious national problem.5
In its December 1976 report, the Cabinet-level Domestic Council
Committee on Illegal Aliens did not attempt to estimate the "signifi-
cant and growing" illegal alien population. Instead, they concluded
that "hard data on illegal aliens is virtually non-existent," 6 and that
"current estimates of the stock and flow of illegal aliens are educated
guesses at best." 7
To date INS apprehension statistics remain the most reliable
information available on illegal aliens. However, they are limited in
usefulness as a basis for projecting the total illegal alien population
for several reasons. First, they record offenses rather than offenders,
and thus include repeaters, of whom there are many. Second, as the
House Judiciary Committee has observed, they appear to be "primarily
a function of the manpower and funds which are available to INS."
Third, since these resources are limited, the apprehension statistics
are more reflective of INS's enforcement priorities than of the actual
distribution of apprehended illegal aliens. As the Domestic Council
Committee on Illegal Aliens observed, "the apprehension rate is
biased by the emphasis of the INS enforcement activity," 9 specifically
on the Southwest border. Thus, Charles Gordon, former General Coun-
sel for INS, told the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration
and Naturalization at recent hearings:
In other words, I do not believe the fact that 700,000 illegals from Mexico
have been apprehended is a reliable index of the number of illegals actually in the
United States. The published estimates are just guesses without any factual
In recognition of the absence of adequate data, INS is currently
sponsoring a comprehensive study of the illegal alien problem, funded
at $1 million and expected to be completed in about a year." The
study will include a residential survey to be conducted in the twelve
most populous states, described by the Domestic Council Committee
as "the first attempt to collect data on the number, characteristics,
and impacts of illegal immigrants on a national scale." 12
The first part of this projected seven part study is the "Fraudulent
Entrants Study," released September 1976. Between September 1975
5 Ray Marshall, "Employment Implications of the International Migration of Workers."
Illegal Aliens: An Assessment of the Issues, National Council on Employment Policy,
October 1976, pp. 52-53. (Henceforth cited as Marshall (1976).)
6 Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens report (December 1976), p. 221.
SIbid., p. 236.
8 H. Rept. No. 94-506 (1975), p. 5.
9 Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens report (December 1976), p. 133.
10 U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on the Judiciary. Immigration 1976, Hearings, 94th Congress, 2d
session on S. 3074. Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1976, p. 219. (Henceforth cited as Senate
Judiciary hearings, 1976.)
11 Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens report (December 1976), p. 229.
12 Ibid., p. 131. Preliminary estimates of 5,222,000 Mexican illegal aliens and a total illegal alien population
of 8,180.000 were arrived at by Lesko Associates in a report prepared under contract to INS ("Final Report:
Basic Data and Guidance Required to Implement a Major Illegal Alien Study during fiscal year 1.7n."
Oct. 15, 1976). However, the methodology used in the Lesko study came under heavy criticism by. among
others, the U.S. Bureau of the Census (Congressional Record, Feb. 26, 1976, pp. ESS4-5) and the Congres-
sional Research Service (Memo to Ionorable Hennan Badillo, Jan. 23, 1976). See also North.Houstoun
study, pp. 153-154.
and February 1976, two teams of four INS inspectors, relieved of the
customary time limits on individual inspections, throughly inspected
random samples of entering aliens at the selected land ports and
airports, The purpose of the study was "to provide a statistically
valid estimate of the flow of illegal aliens through the international
airports and Southern land border ports of entry"; the particular
group of illegal aliens under study were "those attempting entry with
counterfeit or altered documents, as impostors, by false verbal or
documented claims to U.S. citizenship, or with valid documents, the
terms of which the bearer had in the past or clearly intends to violate
after entry, usually to work."'"
The number of such malafide applicants denied admission because
of more thorough inspections was "twelve to fourteen times those
experienced during the routine operations of these ports."14 Based on
the results of the two teams, it was concluded that,
* In excess of 500,000 malafide entries were projected to have successfully
entered through the studied ports during fiscal year 1975, roughly 450,000 at
the land ports and 50,000 at the international airports. This projection reflects
entries rather than necessarily individual entrants, and is therefore not an estimate
of a population.15
COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN AND STATUS AT ENTRY
A. INS apprehension data
Of the 766,600 illegal aliens apprehended in fiscal year 1975, approxi-
mately 89 percent (680,392) were Mexican nationals, the majority of
whom entered the country without inspection. The number of Mexican
nationals apprehended in fiscal year 1975 represents a 4 percent
decrease compared to fiscal year 1974 which, in turn, accounts for the
overall decrease in apprehension statistics. However, while apprehen-
sions of aliens from other countries-"virtually every country of the
world," according to the INS annual report 1-have increased 10
percent, apprehended illegal entries continue to be predominantly
Mexican. Mexicans as a percentage of the total illegals apprehended
over the ten year period 1966-1975 are shown in Table 2.
TABLE 2.-DEPORTABLE ALIENS LOCATED, FISCAL YEARS 1966-75
Total Mexican of total
1966----------------------------------------------138,520 89,751 65
1967--------------------------------------------------161,608 108,327 67
1968 ..-------------- --------- --212,057 151,705 72
1969 --------------------------- 283,557 201,636 71
1970 ------------------------ 345, 353 277,377 80
1971 ___--------------- .------------- 420,126 348,178 83
1972..............------------- ----------. 505, 949 430, 213 85
1973 6------------------655,968 576,823 88
1974 ----- ------------------------------ 788,145 709,959 90
1975 ------_-------------------------- 766 600 680,392 89
Source: U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, Annual Reports, fiscal years 1966-75.
13 U.S. Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Illegal Alien Study, Part 1.
Fraudulent Entrants Study, September 1976, p. vii. (Henceforth cited as INS Fraudulent Entrants Study
14 Ibid., p. 18.
15 Ibid., p. viii.
1e 1975 INS annual report, p. 13.
TABLE 3.-DEPORTABLE ALIENS LOCATED BY STATUS AT ENTRY AND NATIONALITY YEAR ENDED JUNE 30, 1975
Status at entry
D-1 crewmen D-2 I crewmen
Number Agricultural Nonwillful Willful Nonwillful Willful Immi- without
Nationality located worker Visitor Student violator violator violator violator grant Stowaway inspection Other
All countries..--------------- 766, 600 814 55, 294 8,869 10, 692 4,144 168 123 3, 502 385 667,689 14,920
Europe.----- -------------------- 17, 766 62 8,239 758 4,448 2,225 66 48 150 35 367 1,368
Greece. __------------ 5,300 7 846 113 2,155 1,659 32 30 21 9 90 338
Italy-.. -- 1,941 2 1,042 43 475 87 6 5 16 6 55 204
Scandinavia 2.......... __ 787 __._----- 194 33 459 22 7 3 3 1 1 64
Spain. ------- 982 41 323 25 267 185 7 4 ---... 1 15 114
United Kingdom ---- 2,664 6 1,366 197 598 87 9 1 36 2 74 288
Yugoslavia----------- 653 1 477 20 61 51 ..- 1 3 1 7 31
OtherEurope. ------ 5,439 5 3,991 327 433 134 5 4 71 15 125 329
Asia ___---------- 17,287 21 5,264 4,211 3,640 1,311 39 28 209 9 112 2,443
China ----- ----- 4,263 2 859 630 1,252 927 25 16 24 5 52 471
Philippines.. ------- 3,164 8 1,314 207 539 117 3 3 102 _._... 13 858
Other Asia----------- ----- 9,860 11 3,091 3,374 1, 849 267 11 9 83 4 47 1,114
-- -`-- -- ------ -- --- --- - -- -
North America---....... -----.--- 700, 183 228 26, 509 895 561 140 20 15 2,781 128 659, 558 9,348
Canada.. __----------- 9,048 7 107 39 4 68 _-..._.__ 3,960 788
Mexico_ -------------- 680, 392 18 16, 124 294 65 9 4 --- 2,591 4 654, 836 6,447
Cuba ...._ __------------ 416 _..- -. 246 12 -...- 3 _- 26 1 77 51
Dominican Republic. ..-- 3,233 19 2,352 138 31 50 ----- 4 50 78 283 228
British West Indies and Belize.--- 7,094 184 3,712 344 426 74 16 11 46 45 402 1,834
Other Western Hemisphere...----- 26,270 494 13, 069 1,483 1,271 338 41 29 336 198 7,604 1,407
Other nationalities.......-------.---- 5,094 9 2,213 1,522 772 130 2 3 26 15 48 354
I D-1 crewmen have shore leave during the time their vessel or aircraft is in port, not to exceed 29 2 Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland.
days; D-2 crewmen have shore leave allowing them to depart on another vessel or aircraft within 2975 I A R t 2,
days. Source: 1975 INS Annual Report, table 27B, p. 100.
The available information on the country of origin and status at
entry of deportable aliens located in 1975 is summarized in Table 3,
also reproduced from the INS 1975 annual report. A more precise
breakdown of the second largest source, "other Western Hemisphere,"
is not available from INS. As an indication of the broad range of
countries from which illegal aliens come, Commissioner Chapman
told the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Naturali-
zation that in December 1975 in Dallas, Texas, the INS "apprehended
illegal aliens working from 59 countries of the world, . that is
just about half the countries in the world who were represented in
Dallas, Tex., illegally working." 7
Of the deportable aliens apprehended in fiscal year 1975, 87 percent
had entered the country surreptitiously, and 99 percent of these
entries were across the Mexican border. Of the 13 percent who violated
the terms of their admission, more than half were temporary visitors,
or tourists, followed by foreign students, immigrants, and alien
The predominance in the apprehension statistics of Mexican
nationals entering without inspection undoubtedly reflects the extent
to which the illegal alien problem continues to be a Mexican border
problem. As noted above in the discussion of apprehension statistics,
it also reflects the extent to which INS continues to concentrate its
forces on the Southwest border. The relation between the deployment
of INS forces and the characteristics of the illegal aliens it apprehends
is addressed in the following recent statement by INS:
The Southwest Region, for example, has the greatest concentration of Border
Patrol Agents because the enforcement strategy of the Service is to prevent entry,
where possible, and to apprehend illegal entrants as quickly as possible after
entry. There were 690,000 aliens apprehended in that region in FY 1974, most of
whom were stopped at the line or within 72 hours of entry. ...
The three other regions present an entirely different enforcement problem. In
these three, there is no great push of entrants over the land border and illegal
aliens tend, in the main, to concentrate in cities where job opportunities are
available. The illegal alien population also differs in most respects from the South-
west profile which is preponderantly made up of Mexican males. In the northern
and eastern cities, the illegal alien is typically a former temporary visitor who
has overstayed his time, or who has violated his visitor status by taking a job.
He also assimilates much more easily into the population at large, and is more
difficult to detect and more expensive to detain and expel.
The investigative forces are also spread thinly through these regions, as a
consequence of the assignment of a limited number of enforcement personnel to
tasks that obviously require a greater number.19
Regarding the origins of the non-Mexican contingent of appre-
hended illegal aliens, David North and Marion Houstoun point out,
"the number of apprehensions of illegals from the Eastern Hemisphere
and from Canada has remained virtually constant, while the number
of illegals from other nations in the Western Hemisphere has pro-
gressively increased, and more than doubled, between the years
1968 and 1974." 20 This is documented by a statistical table repro-
duced here as Table 4.
17 Senate Judiciary hearings, 1976, p. 29.
S 1975 INS annual report, p. 13. See also Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens report, pp. 142-143.
" U.S. Congress. House. Committee on the Judiciary. Illegal aliens. Hearings, 94th Congress, 1st session
on H.R. 982 and related bills. Serial No. 8. Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1975, p. 111.
(Henceforth cited as House Judiciary hearings, 1975.)
20 North/Houstoun study (March 1976), p. 46.
TABLE 4.-DISTRIBUTION OF REGION OF ORIGIN OF APPREHENDED ILLEGAL ALIENS, FOR SELECTED YEARS,
FISCAL YEARS 1968-74
Fiscal year 1968 Fiscal year 1970 Fiscal year 1972 Fiscal year 1974
Number Number Number Number
of appre- Percent of appre- Percent of appre- Percent of appre- Percent
ended of total ended of total bended of total headed of total
Region of origin illegals number illegals number illegals number illegals number
Mexico -----------.. 151,705 71.5 277,377 80.3 430,213 85.0 709,959 90.0
Canada. ------- 11,056 5.2 11,323 3.3 11,012 2.2 9,362 1.2
Other Western Hemis-
phere-..-----.. 16,186 7.6 23,320 6.8 28,119 5.6 34,948 4.5
Total ---------- 178,947 84.3 312,020 90.4 469,344 92.8 754,269 95.7
Europe ------- 15,520 7.3 16,111 4.7 15,462 3.1 15,031 1.9
Asia ----- --- 15 488 7.3 14,613 4.2 18.733 3.7 14,633 1.9
Other nations-..-- --.-- 2102 1.0 2,609 .8 2,370 .5 4,212 .5
Total ----------- 33,109 15.6 33,333 9.7 36,605 7.3 33,876 4.3
Totals. -- --------. 2'2,057 99.9 345,353 100.1 505,949 100.1 788,145 100.0
I Percentages may not add to 100 due to roundoff.
Sources: INS Annual Report, table 27B, for the years cited. North/Houstoun study (March 1976), table II1-1, p. 47.
North and Houstoun also observe that, not surprisingly in view of
its manpower allocation, INS statistics "do not substantiate the claim
that a phenomenal increase in visa abusers [i.e., nonimmigrants who
have failed to comply with the terms of their admission] now reside
in the nation." However, it is noted further that the statistics do
suggest "the nation of origin distribution of illegals in the United
States is widening, to include increasing numbers of illegals from the
Caribbean and from Central and South America," and that these
countries are responsible for increasing numbers of tourist visa
B. Mexico and other sending countries: other sources of data
The illegal alien problem appears increasingly to consist of two
separate components: Mexicans, predominantly entering without in-
spection over the Southwest border; and non-Mexicans, predominantly
entering with valid documents, who disappear into the job markets
of our larger cities. The two groups present different enforcement
problems, as indicated in the INS statement quoted above and, as
will be discussed below, appear to differ in their characteristics and
impact. However, very little information is available on the dimen-
sions and sources of the non-Mexican illegal entries.
In a very limited study of national origins, a breakdown by national-
ity of the 185 malafide applicants denied entry at U.S. international
airports by INS during the course of its study of fraudulent entrants
indicates the Dominican Republic as the largest source (27), followed
closely by Mexico (25), Haiti (21), and Jamaica (20).22 Only 17
percent of the total number were from Europe. Quoting from the
The majority carried valid nonimmigrant visas but intended to violate the
terms of these admissions. A common violation of this kind involved unauthorized
21 Ibid., p. 49.
22 INS Fraudulent Entrants Study (September 1976), p. 30.
a Ibid., p. lx.
Commenting on the INS apprehension statistics as a reflection of
total population, the Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens
observed, "While it is reasonable to assume that Mexican nationals
form the largest element within the the illegal alien population, it is
probable that they constitute far less than ninety percent." The
Committee noted that some researchers suggest that Mexicans make
up about 60 percent, "but this appears to be no better than an educated
As a supplement to INS apprehension data, the Foreign Relations
task force of the Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens drew
up a list of the 15 major illegal alien sending countries, "based on
data from the refusal/deportation/visa issuance statistics of the De-
partment of State and the Immigration and Naturalization Service." 2
The listed countries are Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti,
Jamaica, Guatemala, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, the Philippines,
Korea, Thailand, Greece, India, Iran and Nigeria (see Table 5).
Quoting from the report:
With few exceptions, the countries from which the majority of legal immi-
grants today come and which exhibit the greatest documented demand for legal
immigration are also the countries from which the majority of illegal entrants
come. While our knowledge of the illegal entrant is largely limited to information
which can be developed about apprehended illegal aliens, it is safe to conclude
that those countries which have a large documented demand for immigration
also have a great hidden demand which is producing illegal entry to the U.S.26
It will be noted that the Domestic Council Committee's list omits
three of the major illegal alien sending countries as measured by the
INS apprehension statistics. These are Canada (the second highest
country), China,27 and the United Kingdom (see Table 3). No ex-
planation is given for their omission.
TABLE 5.-MAJOR ILLEGAL ALIEN SOURCE COUNTRIES
Population Population Number of Population Per capital
estimate growth years to projection Population Urban gross
mid-1976 (annual, double to 2000 under 15 population national
Country (millions) percent) population (millions) yr(percent) (percent) product
USA (reference) .------ 215.3 0.8 87 262.5 27 74 $6,640
Mexico ----62.3 3.5 20 134.4 46 61 1,000
Dominican Republic.. 4.8 3.0 23 10.8 48 40 590
Haiti------------------- 4.6 1.6 43 7.1 41 20 140
Jamaica---------------- 2.1 1.9 36 2.8 46 37 1,140
Guatemala-------------... 5.7 2.8 25 11.1 44 34 570
Colombia ........----- 23.0 3.2 22 44.3 46 64 510
Peru ------------------- 16.0 2.9 24 30.9 44 60 710
Ecuador---------------- 6. 9 3.2 22 14. 0 47 39 460
Philippines ------------ 44.0 3.0 23 86.3 43 32 310
Korea ------------------ 34.8 2.0 35 52.3 40 41 470
Thailand -------------- 43.3 2.5 28 86.0 45 13 300
Greece----------------- 9.0 .4 173 9.7 25 53 1,970
India ---------- 620.7 2.0 35 1,051.4 40 20 130
Jran ----------------- 34.1 3.0 23 67.0 47 43 1,060
Nigeria -------------- 64.7 2.7 26 135.1 45 16 240
Source: Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens Report (December 1976), p. 46. Population data: Population
Reference Bureau, Washington, D.C.
24 Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens report (December 1976), p. 133.
5 Ibid., p. 39.
27 China is included among the principal sources of immigration in the executive summary (p. vii), although
not in the list or chart (reproduced here as Table 5) in the body of the text.
C. International causes of illegal migration
International migration, be it legal or illegal, is the result of a
complex combination of economic, demographic, and other factors.
Quoting from the Domestic Council Committee, "Illegal migration is
a result of international push-pull forces which are stronger than the
law and systems currently in place to control it." 28
Based on extensive hearings during the 92nd Congress, the House
Judiciary Committee concluded, "The economic imbalance between
the United States and the countries from which illegal aliens come,
coupled with the easy availability of employment here, accounts, in
large part, for the current illegal alien problem." 29 Quoting further:
During the course of the hearings in El Paso, Texas, dozens of Mexicans being
held in detention camps waiting to be deported were asked whether they would
come to the United States if they had a job, and, to a man, they said "no." The
only reason they came was because they could find no work in Mexico. Under
currently existing conditions, their entry will not be easily controlled unless the
incentive to come to this country is removed. The reasons for leaving Mexico are
very clearly poverty and unemployment. Since many aliens are driven to the
United States by a desire to satisfy basic human needs, as long as there is a great
disparity between wealth of the United States and the poverty of Mexico, and as
long as employment is available here, the problem of the illegal entrant will
continue to exist. ...
A second and related reason for the increasing number of illegal aliens is the
willingness of U.S. employers to hire them, with or without knowledge of their
illegal status. The vast majority of aliens enter this country illegally for the pur-
pose of finding employment, and they would not come unless they were fairly
certain of finding jobs.30
Viewing migration in a global context, Kingsley Davis wrote:
Four New World countries-Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the U.S.-
received a net total of 13.9 million migrants between World War II and 1972. The
U.S. alone, still admitting more foreigners than any other nation in the world,
received 9.2 million during that period. More surprising is the tide of migrants into
industrial Europe; for example, Sweden, for centuries a country of emigration,
became a country of immigration after 1930. Other advanced countries in Europe
have shown a similar reversal, some more sharply than Sweden.31
Questioning the reasons for "the reversed migration into industrial
Europe and the continued migration into New World industrial
nations," Davis concluded "the driving force is the widening techno-
logical and demographic gap between the developed nations and the
underdeveloped three-fourths of the world." 32 Davis continues:
As a consequence of the gap as it is now constituted the advanced countries
have on the average more resources per person, more workers in relation to de-
pendents, more capital generated from savings and more investment and trade.
They therefore have more jobs, and offer higher wages. Their native populations
have become so educated, comfortable and upwardly mobile that in times of labor
shortage they refuse to fill low-paying, low-status or disagreeable jobs. Millions
of workers in the bulging underdeveloped countries are eager to take those jobs,
and employers are anxious to hire them. Hence legally or illegally the migrants
come, their transit facilitated by modern means of travel and communication and
even by government and international assistance.33
The. current illegal alien problem is examined by the Domestic
Council Committee on Illegal Aliens in the context of international
28 Ibid., p. 51.
29 U.S. Congress. House. Committee on the Judiciary. Illegal Aliens. (Committee print) Washington,
U.S. Government Printing Office, 1973. p. 4. (Henceforth cited as Illegal Aliens, House Judiciary Com-
mittee print (1973).)
o Ibid., p. 5.
a Kingsley Davis, "The Migrations of Human Population," The Human Population, A Scientific Ameri-
can Book, 1974, p. 62.
"2 Ibid., pp. 62-63.
83 Ibid.. p. 63.
push-pull factors at some length. They note that the major illegal
alien sending countries "exhibit striking similarities in the areas of
economic expansion, population growth, and links with the United
States". 3 (see Table 5).
A high level of out-migration is seen as an almost inevitable result of
this particular combination of characteristics:
These characteristics operate in concert to produce migration which functions
as a safety valve for the sending country and contributes to postponement of
necessary change. Under current conditions in the United States and abroad the
potential number of aliens involved is staggering. If pressure to emigrate to the
United States is indeed a function of certain patterns of development, we can
expect to add other countries to the source list in the future.3'
The economic push due to a lack of jobs and economic opportunity in source
countries is met by strong pull forces in the United States. The major attraction
for illegal immigration is available work. The illegal entrant risks detection but the
risk is not great enough to prevent significant numbers from coming. This com-
bination of international push and pull forces is the basic cause of illegal
In the context of the above discussion of the forces underlying
international migrations, it should be noted that the restriction or
elimination of illegal immigration, particularly without a trade-off in
increased legal immigration, may have a severe impact on the econo-
mies of the major sending countries, especially Mexico. The following
conjecture by Ray Marshall is of interest here: "In 1976, . the
Mexican government apparently cooled to the idea of a renewed
bracero program, probably because it would result in fewer Mexican
nationals finding work in the United States than is currently possible
with the large flows of illegals into the country." 37
Specifically, severely restricting or cutting off Mexican illegal
immigration would cut off a major source of employment and in-
direct aid, in the form of remittances, for our economically-troubled
Southern neighbor. Any assessment of the illegal alien problem must
take into account the extent to which it impinges on our own foreign
policy interests regarding political stability in this hemisphere.
PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF ILLEGAL ALIENS
The economic impact of illegal aliens in the United States-the
subject of the following section-depends both on their total numbers
and on such personal characteristics as their age, education, and
number of dependents here and abroad. As David North and Marion
Houstoun note, "Fortunately, studies on the characteristics of
illegals have been more extensive than those dealing with numbers." 38
Recent studies of the existing characteristics of illegal aliens are
reviewed and summarized in a paper by North and Houstoun. They
note that a series of independent and internally consistent studies
3 Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens report (December 1976), p. 62.
35 Ibid., pp. 62-63.
38 Ibid., p. 62.
37 Marshall (1976), p. 54.
3 David North and Marion Houstoun, "A Summary of Recent Data on and Some of the Public Policy
Implications of Illegal Immigration," Illegal Aliens: An Assessment of the Issues, National Council on
Employment Policy, October 1976, p. 38. (Henceforth cited as North/Houstoun "Summary" (October
1976), as opposed to the report prepared by North and Houstoun for the Labor Department, which is cited
as North/Houstoun study (March 1976).)
are creating a body of reliable information on the characteristics of
illegal aliens. However, "more is known about the motivation, char-
acteristics and activities of illegals than is known about their numbers
and distribution." This knowledge is limited almost entirely to
illegal aliens from Mexico. "Little is known about the non-Mexican
illegal aliens, though they are an interesting and apparently distinct
David North and Marion Houstoun are also the authors of a major
study of illegal aliens, the Labor Department-financed report of
March 1976 entitled, "The Characteristics and Role of Illegal Aliens
in the U.S. Labor Market: An Exploratory Study." This study was
based largely on interviews with 793 apprehended illegal aliens who
had been employed for at least two weeks in the United States prior
to their apprehension. This discussion and the following section on
the economic impact of illegal aliens make considerable use of the
Labor Department-financed study, referred to throughout this paper
as the North/Houstoun study.41
In addition to their own study prepared for the Labor Department,
the sources of information considered by North and Houstoun in
their summary of recent data available on the characteristics of both
Mexican and non-Mexican illegal aliens are the INS Fraudulent
Entrants Study as well as unpublished INS wage data.42 Other
sources of data, limited to illegal Mexican aliens, considered by North
and Houstoun include Julian Samora's Los Mojados: the Wetback
Story;43 published results of a survey by the Mexican Government in
1972 of 2,794 returning illegals;44 and a study by Wayne Cornelius
of migration to the United States from a sample of Mexican villages.45
Internally consistent data from these independent studies suggest
that Mexican illegal aliens are:
1. young adults, predominantly but not exclusively male;
2. badly educated;
3. primarily but by no means entirely farmworkers from rural
areas in Mexico;
4. economically motivated;
5. employed at or near the bottom of the U.S. labor market, i.e,
generally low-pay, low-status, and low-skilled workers; and
6. likely to send a significant proportion of their U.S. earned income
to dependents in their homeland.46
The average age recorded for the different study groups was 27-28.
Men were heavily predominant in all but the fraudulent entry study,
which showed more than half of the 716 fraudulent entrants at the
9 Ibid., p. 37.
o0 Ibid., p. 39.
0 The Labor Department study was prepared for the Employment and Training Administration, U.S.
Department of Justice, under research and development contract No. 20-11-74-21, with Linton & Co..
Inc., Washington, D.C., a private consulting firm. This study is separate and distinct from the paper by
North and Houstoun summarizing existing sources of data on the characteristics of illegal aliens, under
general discussion above, and cited as North/Houstoun "Summary." This paper was included in the back-
ground papers published by the National Council on Employment Policy in their October 1976 publication,
Illegal Aliens: An Assessment of the Issues, subtitled "A Policy Statement and Conference Report with
2 For a discussion of the wage data collected by INS, see North/Houstoun study (March 1976), pp. 118-124.
43 Notre Dame, University of Notre Dame, 1971.
4 Resultados de la Encuesta Realizada por la Comision Intersecretarial para el Estudio del Problema de
la Emigracion Subrepticia de Trabajadores Mexicanos a Estados Unidos de America.
45 Wayne A. Cornelius, "Mexican Migration to the United States: The View from Rural Sending Com-
munities" (April 1976).
4' North/Houstoun "Summary" (October 1976), p. 39.
Mexican border to be women.47 The great majority of the illegal
Mexican aliens in all study groups had less than six years of schooling.48
In their study for the Labor Department, North and Houstoun
observe that the illegal workers in their sample, and in particular
those from Mexico, "were more like immigrants who entered the
nation and its workforce in 1910 than they were like U.S. workers or
immigrants today." 49 Few of the apprehended illegals would have
been eligible for legal entry as immigrants on the basis of their occupa-
tional qualifications; the occupations of three-quarters of the sample
would have resulted in automatic denials of labor certification under
the administrative interpretation of that provision by the Labor
Another significant finding of the Labor Department-financed
study was that the Mexicans in the sample were "consistently very
different from the respondents from elsewhere in the world." This
difference was found to be particularly pronounced in the case of
those Mexicans living in the Southwest, particularly in the counties
The study group examined by North and Houstoun included 793
aliens from 53 countries, divided into three categories: Mexican (481),
other nations in the Western Hemisphere (WH, 237), and Eastern
Hemisphere (EH, 75). While similar in age to the Mexican group, the
WH and EH aliens differed sharply from the Mexicans in terms of
their educational attainment and ability to speak English. In contrast
to the average of 4.9 years of school for Mexicans, WH aliens had an
average of 8.7 years, and EH aliens had an average of 11.9 years,
close to the U.S. labor market norm. Of the Mexican group, 76.4
percent did not speak English, compared to 53.2 percent of the WH
group and 16.2 percent of the EH group."
The non-Mexican sample had more dependents in this country and
fewer back home than the Mexicans. They had also been here slightly
longer than the Mexicans, but reported only one-eighth as many
previous INS apprehensions, indicating that they were more successful
than the Mexican group in assimilating into the U.S. population.
This is clearly also due to INS's concentration of its law enforcement
efforts on the Southwest border.
II. IMPACT OF ILLEGAL ALIENS
This section is concerned with the effects, predominantly economic,
of illegal aliens on: (1) the U.S. labor market, (2) public service and
benefit programs and (3) money sent outside the United States.
While there are many questions about the specific effects of illegal
aliens in these three areas, there is no question that the overall eco-
nomic impact of their presence here is significant, with deep-rooted
causes and consequences. This is particularly true of their labor
market impact, which is clearly considerable; and with regard to
the money they send home to Mexico which, while adversely affecting
47 According to the Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens, any studies based on illegal aliens
apprehended by INS will necessarily be biased by INS's reluctance to apprehend women. "INS maintains
no overnight detention facilities for women and consequently concentrates its efforts on the apprehension
of males (except for individuals apprehended or turned back in the border zone)" (p. 137).
,4 North/Houstoun "Summary" (October 1976), pp. 39-40.
49 North/Houstoun study (March 1976), p. 109.
60 Ibid., p. 111.
51 Ibid., p. 95.
2 Ibid., p. 96.
our balance of payments, also constitutes a kind of underground
foreign aid program.
IMPACT ON THE U.S. LABOR MARKET
The great majority of illegal aliens either enter the United States
surreptitiously in search of jobs or violate the terms of their entry
visas by accepting unauthorized employment. The economic motiva-
tion of illegal aliens is one of the few aspects about the problem about
which there is universal agreement. There is less agreement about the
number and nature of the jobs they hold, and their impact on the
U.S. labor market.
The available evidence suggests that illegal aliens compete success-
fully with U.S. workers in the secondary labor market and that they
tend to adversely affect the wages and working conditions in occupa-
tions where they are present in considerable numbers, most notably
in the Southwest. Of considerable interest is the difference in impact
between Mexican and non-Mexican illegal aliens. Vernon Briggs has
.observed, "It is probable that Mexican and non-Mexican [illegal]
aliens present two situations that should be separately analyzed
because their labor market significance is likely to be quite different." '
.However, as noted in the previous section, analysis of the impact of
non-Mexican illegal aliens is particularly difficult because of the
limited information available on them.
The most systematic examination to date of illegal aliens in the
U.S. labor market is the March 1976 study conducted for the U.S.
Labor Department by David North and Marion Houstoun of Linton &
Co., Inc. entitled, "The Characteristics and Role of Illegal Aliens in
the U.S. Labor Market: an Exploratory Study" (see p. 12 above).
The authors do not assert that their study is representative of the
impact of illegal aliens on the U.S. labor market as a whole. On the
other hand, they attempted to make their study group as representa-
tive as possible, and chose their interview sites in an attempt "to
compensate for the bias introduced by the allocation of most of INS
resources to the Southwest Region." 2
Based largely on the results of a survey of 793 apprehended illegal
aliens, North and Houstoun concluded generally that illegal aliens
probably cluster both geographically and in the secondary labor
market, and that they "appear to increase the supply of low-wage
labor and compete with disadvantaged U.S. workers." 3 Data on the
wages and occupations of the North/Houstoun sample, and on their
investigation of the question of exploitation is summarized briefly
A. North/Houstoun study: wages and occupations
The North/Houstoun sample consisted of 793 apprehended illegal
aliens, all of whom had been employed in the United States for at
least two weeks prior to their apprehension by INS. As a group, they
earned substantially less than their U.S. counterparts. Their average
hourly wages in occupations for which comparable data was available
was $2.66, compared to $4.47 for the U.S. workers (see Table 6).
Vernon M. Briggs, Jr., "Illegal Immigration and the American Labor Force: The Use of 'Soft' Data
for Analysis," American Behavioral Scientist, vol. 19. January/February 1976, p. 358.
2 North/Houstoun study (March 1976), p. 123.
3 Ibid., p. 153.
TABLE 6.-AVERAGE GROSS HOURLY AND WEEKLY WAGE, AND WEEKLY HOURS, OF APPREHENDED ILLEGAL ALIEN
RESPONDENTS IN THEIR MOST RECENT U.S. JOB AND OF U.S. PRODUCTION OR NONSUPERVISORY WORKERS
(PNW), BY INDUSTRY IN 1975
Average hourly Average weekly Average weekly
wage wage hours
U.S. U.S. U.S. of
Industry division Illegals PNW Illegals PNW Illegals PNW illegals
Agriculture, forestry, and fisheries-.... $2.07 (2) $110.57 (2) 53.6 (2) 134
Mining --- ---- 2.00 $5.79 120.00 $244.92 60.0 42.3 1
Contract construction-- ... .. ------ 2.98 7.15 126.39 265.27 42.8 37.1 124
Manufacturing___ -------. -----. 2.92 4.73 121.22 184.47 41.2 39.0 259
Transportation and public utilities.---.-- 2.77 5.75 134.00 228.28 48.6 39.7 10
Trade: wholesale and retail. .----- 2.57 3.71 112.69 124.66 43.4 33.6 152
Finance, real estate, and insurance...- 3.32 4.08 117.00 148.10 36.0 36.3 6
Services, except private household...-- 2.79 3.98 121.75 134.13 45.0 33.7 57
Private household services ---------- 1.63 (2) 66.30 (2) 42.4 (2) 23
All industries (excluding agricul-
ture and private household).... 2.66 4.47 117.03 160.47 44.5 35.9 609
1 Data for 27 of the 793 respondents who were self-employed or omitted industry, wage, or hours are excluded. For
comparative purposes, the total number of illegals excludes 134 respondents in agriculture and 23 in private households
2 Not available.
Note: Note that average hourly wage times average weekly hours may not equal average weekly wage. In fact, for
these data, that product is consistently greater than the average weekly wage, indicating a tendency for respondents with
ower wages to work longer hours.
Sources: Column 1, 3,5, and 7, Linton & Co. Illegal Alien Study columns 2, 4, and 6, U.S. Department of Labor, Employ-
ment and Earnings, vol. 21, No. 12 (June 1975), tables C-1, C-2. North/Houstoun study (March 1976), table V-14, p. 125.
Average hourly wages differed significantly according to both the
alien's region of origin and region of U.S. employment. Specifically,
Mexican illegals reported the lowest hourly wage at $2.34, followed
by $3.05 for other Western Hemisphere (WH) respondents, and $4.08
for Eastern Hemisphere (EH) respondents. The lowest average hourly
wages were earned in the Southwest-$1.98 (223 respondents), com-
pared to $2.60 in California (231), $3.18 in the Mid- and Northwest
(104), and $3.29 on the East Coast (235). In terms of specific industry
classification, the lowest hourly wage was $1.63 in private household
services, earned by 23 of the sample.4
A direct correlation was found to exist between wage level and
education. These factors, in turn, were associated with region of
origin-the Eastern Hemisphere, and region of employment-the
East Coast.' Other correlations of region of origin, region of employ-
ment, and wages are summarized in Table 7.
A Ibid., p. 125. (See Table 6.)
5 Ibid., p. 117.
TABLE 7.-DISTRIBUTIONS OF GROSS HOURLY WAGE OF APPREHENDED ILLEGAL ALIEN RESPONDENTS IN THEIR MOST RECENT U.S. JOB, BY REGION OF ORIGIN, ENTRY TECHNIQUE, LOCATION
OF U.S. JOB, YEARS IN U.S., AND TYPE OF U.S. EMPLOYMENT
[As percent of group responding]
Region of origin Entry technique Location of U.S. job Years in U.S. Type of U.S.
Eastern sphere without Mid/
Hemi- excluding inspec- Visa East North- South- Less 2 or Agri-
Hourly wage Total sphere Mexico Mexico tion 1 abuser coast west west California than 2 more culture Other
$0 to $1.79-...--...-...................-. 14.0 1.4 5.2 20.1 17.7 5.2 3.9 4.9 33.2 9.7 19.2 9.4 33.1 10.0
$1.80 to $1.99 ---..-..--------....... ----- 4.2 4.2 3.0 4.8 4.7 3.0 4.3 4.9 4.1 4.0 5.2 3.4 6.6 3.7 -
$2.00 to $2.09---......................... 13.0 5.6 8.3 16.3 15.3 7.4 10.4 6.9 17.3 14.2 17.9 8.7 15.4 12.4 O'
$2.10 to $2.49.............--------------- 20.0 5.6 19.6 22.4 22.8 13.5 16.9 16.7 22.7 22.1 23.6 16.9 19.9 20.1
$2.50 to $2.99............................. 18.9 16.9 22.2 17.6 19.1 18.3 19.0 14.7 16.8 22.6 17.6 20.0 13.2 20.1
$3.00 to $3.99 .- __.._... .......... 17.7 32.4 25.2 11.9 13.3 28.3 24.2 31.4 4.1 18.1 10.7 23.9 6.6 20.1
$4.00 to $4.99 .. -_ ...... 8.9 12.7 8.7 5.2 4.7 12.2 9.5 13.7 1.4 6.6 3.0 10.4 2.2 7.9
$5.00 plus--..------. ....------ ....------ 5.3 21.1 7.8 1.7 2.4 12.2 11.7 6.9 .5 2.7 2.7 7.5 2.9 5.8
Subtotal2 ...... ... 100.0 99.9 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.1 99.9 100.1 100.1 100.0 99.9 100.2 99.9 100.1
Number of respondents----..........-------..... 779 71 230 478 549 230 231 102 220 226 364 415 136 643
Don't know/refuse to answer................ 1.8 5.3 3.0 0.6 1.1 3.4 1.7 1.9 1.3 2.2 1.6 1.9 0 2.1
Total number of respondents----........---- 793 75 237 481 555 238 235 104 223 231 370 423 136 657
Average hourly wage...------------------ $2.71 $4.08 $3.05 $2.34 $2.42 $3.40 $3.29 $3.18 $1.98 $2.60 $2.40 $2.97 $2.11 $2.83
Standard deiation.---..-----. ..-------- $1.54 $3.05 $1.54 $.93 $1.03 $2.19 $2.19 $1.42 $.72 $.95 $1.60 $1.44 $1.07 $1.59
I INS term for aliens who enter the U.S. without authorization. Sources: Linton & Co. Illegal Alien Study, 1975. North/Houstoun study (March 1976) table V-8,
2 Percentages may not add to 100 due to roundoff. p.116.
Regardless of region of origin or previous employment experience,
most of the illegal aliens interviewed "were employed in the secondary
sector of the U.S. labor market; i.e, most were employed in low-wage,
low-skill, low-status jobs." 6 Fewer than one-quarter were employed
in skilled jobs, and the majority of these (16 percent) were craft
workers. More than three-quarters of the study group were in unskilled
and semiskilled jobs, regardless of their educational and occupational
attainments in their native countries. A significant number worked
longer hours and were paid lower average hourly wages than U.S.
workers similarly employed.' The possibility that unapprehended
illegals may be significantly more successful was considered, but it
was noted that "the apprehended illegal respondents who had been
in the nation two or more years did not earn substantially higher
wages than those who had been here less than two years, and the few
unapprehended respondents reported earnings similar to those re-
ported by apprehended respondents." 8
B. North/Houstoun study: evidence of exploitation
It is commonly assumed that illegal aliens are attractive to some
employers, and have a competitive advantage over U.S. workers,
because of their vulnerability to exploitation. The question of actual
exploitation of illegals was explored by North and Houstoun from
several perspectives, and is of particular interest in view of the fact
that their sample was generally low-paid, As indices of possible
exploitation, they examined (a) minimum wage violations; (b) re-
spondents' perceptions of substandard working conditions; (c)
reports of the presence of other illegals; and (d) cash wage payments.
Based on a fairly detailed analysis, summarized below, they found
exploitation of illegals to be common only in the Southwest.9
Regarding minimum wage violations, it was concluded that less
than one-quarter of those to whom the question applied appeared to
have been paid less than the minimum wage. Respondents employed
as domestics or farmworkers were more likely to have been paid
illegal wages. Respondents employed in the Southwest, particularly
in the 23 counties bordering Mexico, were significantly more likely to
receive less than the minimum wage than those employed in other
parts of the United States.'1
Regarding the other indicators of possible exploitation examined,
only 18 percent of the study group reported that they had been hired
because they were illegal; this was two to three times more frequent
in the Southwest. Of the total, only 3.5 percent reported that they
had been "badly treated." "1 However, North and Houstoun note that
"more exploitation may have occurred than our respondents re-
ported-and perhaps more occurred than they ever perceived." 12
Mexicans were three times more likely to have worked with other
illegals than were EH or WH aliens. Those who had been employed
on the East Coast were half as likely to have had illegal coworkers as
those employed in other parts of the country.13
6Ibid., p. 152.
7 Ibid., p. 152-153.
8 Ibid., p. 123.
SIbid., p. 127-137.
"0 Ibid., p. S-12.
" Ibid., pp. S-12 through S-13.
12 Ibid., p. 134.
13 Ibid., p. S-13.
Cash wage payments are another possible indication of exploitation
because of the opportunity provided for concealment of wage and
other violations. More than one-fifth of the sample were usually paid
in cash. Cash payments were most common in the counties bordering
Mexico (63 percent), followed by the Southwest (36 percent), and the
East (21 percent)."
In short, the North/Houstoun study found some correlation be-
tween employment of illegal aliens and exploitative wages and work-
ig conditions in the Southwest, particularly the counties bordering
Mexico, and in certain occupations-domestic service and agriculture,
but did not find substantial evidence of exploitation among most of
the study group. Quoting the authors: "Thus, if we define an under-
ground labor market as one in which illegal workers and illegal wages
coincide, the findings of this study suggest that it is more likely to
exist in the counties that border Mexico, in the Southwest itself, and
in nonagricultural as well as agricultural employment." 15
A higher degree of exploitation appears to be indicated by a Mexican
government study in 1972. As reported by the Domestic Council
Committee on Illegal Aliens, 67 percent of those interviewed by the
Mexican officials said they were not paid regularly and/or were owed
wages when apprehended. However, 80 percent said they were willing
to go back to the United States.16
C. Competition in the secondary labor market
Other studies have generally corroborated North and Houstoun's
findings regarding the low wages and occupational status of illegal
aliens in this country.17 For example, wage data collected by INS on
48,000 illegals apprehended during January through March, 1975
indicated that two-thirds of them were earning under $2.50 an hour,
and less than 5 percent earned $4.50 or more.'s
The principal labor market impact of the illegal aliens appears to
be on the lower-paid, lower status jobs-the so-called secondary labor
market, which can least afford such competition. Illegal aliens appear
to be in direct competition with the young, the blacks, and members
of other minority groups who are currently experiencing the highest
The political implications of this situation have been commented
on as follows:
The native poor-those in marginal menial services and unskilled occupations-
must, in contrast, compete directly with illegal labor. Since wetbacks are willing
to work more hours for lower pay and no fringe benefits, the native worker finds
himself at a disadvantage and is often completely displaced from his job. Only the
poor pay the costs of illegal immigration; the sectors most seriously affected by
the wetback flow are precisely the ones least able to wield effective political power
in defense of their interests.1g
A related point was made by Ray Marshall in a general discussion of
the international movement of workers:
. Those native workers threatened by competition from foreigners are not
likely initially to have much political and economic power. Skilled and more
highly educated workers are likely to feel that they benefit from the employment
1s Ibid., p. 137.
6I Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens report (December 1976) p. 149.
17 North/Houstoun "Summary" (October 1976), pp. 40-41.
I8 North/Houstoun study (March 1976). pp. 118-119.
19 Alejandro Portes, "Return of the Wetback," Society, March/April 1974, p. 45. (Henceforth cited as
of foreign workers because the lower wages paid these workers (relative to wages
natives of comparable productivity could have required for the same jobs) pro-
motes faster economic growth and occupational upgrading of native workers.20
It is generally agreed that illegal aliens are able to compete very
successfully in the secondary labor market:
On the one hand, current immigration legislation, which makes it illegal for
most nonimmigrant aliens to work in the U.S. but specifically exempts employers
from any violation of those laws, makes illegals attractive to employers of cheap
labor. On the other hand, apart from any consideration of their illegal status,
illegal workers appear to be like immigrant workers: highly motivated and hard-
working employees, whom U.S. employers generally regard as exceptionally
productive workers, despite the fact that few speak English.21
Furthermore, because they are prohibited by either Federal law or
regulation from participation in most public assistance programs,
illegal aliens do not generally have the option available to U.S. citizens
and permanent resident aliens of not working, rather than accepting
low-paid, low status employment.
In short, the available evidence indicates that illegal aliens take
jobs in the lower-wage, secondary labor market. While the numbers
involved are unknown, they would appear to be significant. Illegal
aliens do not appear to be displacing U.S. workers from high-paying
jobs in large numbers, although such displacements certainly are
occurring in some instances, and may be increasing in frequency.
Significantly, North and Houstoun's study bears out the belief that
illegal aliens are increasingly moving out of agriculture-one of the
lowest-paying occupations-and away from the Mexican border,
the Southwest, and California. This was a conclusion of the House
Judiciary Committee, on the basis of its extensive hearings during
the 92nd Congress on the illegal alien problem:
The illegal alien problem is not limited to the Southwest border as had originally
been anticipated, but extends to most of our major metropolitan areas. Related
to this is the finding that the problem is no longer limited primarily to agriculture;
considerable numbers of illegal aliens are now found in industry.22
Five years ago, Representative Peter W. Rodino, Jr. observed
during the course of a hearing held in New York City:
When we first commenced these hearings it seemed that the problem was
focused on the Mexicans and the illegal alien was the Mexican.
It was the judgment of this member, as the chairman of this committee, that
as we went on it wasn't just the Mexican; that illegal aliens come from every area.
We must remember that the visitor who overstays is also an illegal alien.2
The illegal alien of the East Coast and, to a lesser extent, many
other metropolitan areas, appears to be predominantly the non-
Mexican visa violator, generally better educated and more likely
to have family ties than the Mexican who crosses the border illegally.
Non-Mexican illegals apparently are present, and certainly are
apprehended, in fewer numbers than the Mexican illegals; they also
appear more likely to be holding higher paid, more attractive jobs.
The limited information available specifically on non-Mexican illegal
aliens indicates that they are somewhat more successful than Mexican
o2 Marshall (1976), p. 58.
11 North/Houstoun study (March 1976), p. 123.
2- Illegal Aliens, House Judiciary Committee print (1973), p. 7.
23 Ibid., p. 7.
illegals in terms of wages and job status, and considerably more
successful in avoiding apprehension by the INS.24
D. Depression of wages and working conditions
A second impact of illegal aliens appears to be the depression of
the wages and working conditions in areas and/or occupations where
they are present in large numbers. Thus, the House Judiciary Com-
mittee quotes Andrew J. Biemiller, testifying on behalf of the AFL-
CIO, as follows:
The net effect of the illegal's presence in the job market has been to depress
and maintain low wage levels and substandard living conditions for American
citizens, permanent residents, and illegal aliens alike, in areas where they are
employed in large numbers . Obviously too, the effectiveness of the rights
of union organization and collective bargaining are seriously undermined.25
It has been argued that their adverse impact on limited labor
markets is in fact the single most serious consequence of the illegal
aliens' presence in this country. The Executive Secretary-Treasurer
of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, testified
before a House Judiciary Subcommittee that while the illegal alien's
adverse effect on unemployment was very serious-
. his real effect, the real impact, is on the lowering of wage standards. He
works for less, he is in hiding, he doesn't complain. He doesn't demand what other
workers get, because he is afraid that if he does, he will be deported. So he is
here as a fearful person in hiding, and as such, most easily victimized.26
North and Houstoun suggest "that the most significant impact of
the illegals is on the local labor standards in the areas where they
The generally depressed economy of the Texas border area is
cited as an example of the result of years of dependence on a low-wage,
freely available labor force which includes, along with alien com-
muters, illegal aliens. Thus, South Texas has an unemployment rate
which is consistently much higher than that of the State or the nation,
the two poorest SMSAs in the nation, the poorest counties in Texas,
and a very low level of union membership.28
Similarly, the long-time association of illegal aliens with agricultural
employment is commonly believed to have contributed to its many
ills. Quoting from a lengthy review of this subject in the New York
University Law Review:
There is substantial evidence . that the most serious difficulties of domestic
farmworkers, especially those in the West and Southwest, are inextricably inter-
twined with the presence in the United States of large numbers of alien farm-
workers willing to work for low wages under poor working conditions.29
Mexican Braceros have been both accompanied and followed in
farm work by alien commuters and, in far larger numbers, illegal
aliens. It is arguable that the ready supply of low-wage labor they have
provided is a significant factor in farm workers' partial or complete
24 For an excellent anecdotal discussion, see Orde Coombs, "Illegal immigrants in New York: the invisible
subculture," New York, v. 9, Mar. 15, 1976, pp. 31-41.
2" H. Rept. No. 94-506 (1975), p. 8.
25 Illegal Aliens, House Judiciary Committee Print (1973), p. 12.
27 North/Houstoun study (March 1976), p. 159.
28 Vernon M. Briggs, Jr., "Illegal Immigration and the American Labor Force: the Use of 'Soft' Data
for Analysis," American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 19, January/February 1976, p. 360.
29 Notes, "Commuters, illegals, and American farmworkers: the need for a broader approach to domestic
farm labor problems," New York University Law Review, v. 48, June, 1973, pp. 486-7.
exclusion from labor laws relating to minimum wages, collective
bargaining, unemployment insurance, and workmen's compensation.30
On the other hand, from the point of view of the consumer, the
downward pressure on wages and working conditions by illegal aliens
is also a factor in the continuing comparatively low prices and ready
availability of farm produce, as well as other goods and services with
which illegal aliens are associated in significant numbers (e.g., domestic
help, restaurants). It should be recognized that illegal immigration is
not without economic benefits to some groups in the United States,
including consumers and employers, at least on a short-term basis.
Quoting from the Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens:
As relative wages for illegal aliens decline in response to an increase in their
labor supply, the owners of firms employing illegal aliens and the consumers of the
goods produced by illegal aliens tend to gain through higher profits and lower
prices, respectively. On the other hand, the relative wages of legal resident workers
who are close substitutes in employment for the illegal aliens also decline.31
MIT economist Michael J. Piore argues that, in fact, the impact of
illegal aliens on those lower-skilled U.S. workers with whom they are
in direct competition is not necessarily all bad.
Instances where native workers share jobs with aliens and appear to suffer
from the dampening effect upon working conditions are not uncommon, but in
many of these cases higher wages would either drive the industry out of existence
or force major changes in technology, either of which would leave the native
jobless. In this sense, the presence of aliens serves to preserve native jobs, and
the proper way to deal with the problems of the native workers trapped in such
jobs would thus seem to be through equal employment opportunity, training and
other programs which foster their upward mobility.32
In short, without attempting to argue the case for allowing illegal
immigration to continue, it must be emphasized that stopping illegal
immigration is not a cost-free decision, as was indicated earlier with
reference to the potential foreign policy implications of the issue. If
it were, it would not have proved to be as difficult to accomplish as
IMPACT ON TAX-SUPPORTED SERVICE AND BENEFIT PROGRAMS
Even less information, and more difference of opinion, exists about
the impact of illegal aliens on tax-supported service and benefit
programs than about their impact on the labor market. Based on
testimony received by the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizen-
ship, and International Law, the House Judiciary Committee con-
cluded in September 1975:
While the State of California, particularly the County of Los Angeles, has
made diligent efforts to determine the fiscal impact of illegal aliens, the Commit-
tee is disturbed by the fact that federal, state, and local governments, in general,
have little information on the participation of illegal aliens in public assistance
programs. This lack of precise data has made it impossible to accurately estimate
the effect of illegal aliens on either a regional or national basis. It is evident, how-
ever, that the impact is substantial and increasingly state and local governments
are turning to the federal government for reimbursement for services provided to
30 See Ronald Goldfarb, "A Farm Workers' Bill of Rights." Washington Post, Dec. 20, 1976, p. A19.
31 Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens report (December 1976), pp. 155-156.
3 Michael J. Piore, "Illegal Immigration in the United States: Some Observations
and Policy Suggestions," Illegal Aliens: An Assessment of the Issuses, National Council
on Employment Policy, October 1976, p. 28. (Henceforth cited as Piore (1976).)
33 H. Rept. No. 94-506 (1975), p. 8.
Similarly, the U.S. General Accounting Office concluded in 1973
that illegal aliens were receiving welfare payments under government-
funded programs, and that "providing welfare could attract illegal
aliens and prolong their stay." However, they also noted, "No esti-
mates of the number of illegal aliens on welfare are available." 34
More recently, the Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens
Allegations of heavy illegal alien use of tax-supported income transfer pro-
grams are common. An examination of these programs shows that the majority
depend on characteristics such as old age, female head of households, or disabled
for eligibility. Present information shows that illegal aliens are unlikely to be
making heavy use of such programs due to very different personal characteristics.
Our tentative conclusion is that the welfare use issue is overdrawn. However,
final judgment is dependent on better information delineating the characteristics
of the illegal population.35
In direct contradiction to the common assumption that illegal
aliens constitute a drain on tax-supported services and programs,
David North and Marion Houstoun found that the illegal aliens they
interviewed were far more likely to have participated in programs that
that involved the payment of taxes than they were to have been
consumers of such programs or services."
A. Responsibility for emergency medical treatment
The responsibility for the cost of emergency care of illegal aliens
has been a matter of particular concern in recent years, highlighted
by events in California. The Los Angeles County Board of Super-
visors estimated the cost of illegal aliens to its hospitals in fiscal
year 1974 at more than $8 million, and sent a bill for most of the cost
to INS, on the grounds that INS was responsible for keeping the
aliens out of the country. The accuracy of the Board's estimate is
open to question; L.A. County Health Services Director Liston A.
Witherill was quoted as saying, "Since proof of citizenship is not a
routine requirement for medical care, it is not possible to accurately
identify the number of illegal aliens receiving medical care." 37
INS refused to reimburse L.A. County, indicating that while it
sympathized with the request, "this service is responsible only for
the medical expenses of aliens in actual custody of this service and
no others." The letter from Leonard W. Gilman, Southwest regional
commissioner of INS at the time, also said that, "one method of
relieving this situation would be for health officers, hospitals and
public health doctors to identify illegal aliens to this service so that
their repatriation can be effected and their cost to county agencies
thereby terminated." 38
INS policy regarding illegal aliens undergoing emergency medical
care has been the subject of criticism, and bills aimed at changing the
policy have been introduced in the past several Congresses.39 Briefly,
the Public Health Service Act provides that, "at the request of the
34 U.S. Comptroller General, "More Needs to be Done to Reduce the Number and Ad-
verse Impact of Illegal Aliens in the United States," July 31, 1973, p. 41.
i Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens report (December 1976), p. 214.
2 North Houstoun study (March 1976), p. 142.
a" "Refund for Illegal Alien Medical Care Sougth," Los Angeles Times, June 26, 1974,
pt. 2, p. 1.
38 "United States Refuses to Repay County's Alien Health Bill," Los Angeles Times,
Aug. 15, 1974, p. 1.
9 Congressman B. F. Sisk has been the chief sponsor of these bills, which have included H.R. 5307 in the
93d Congress, and H.R. 2159, H.R. 3609, and H.R. 4807 in the 94th Congress.
Immigration and Naturalization Service, any person detained by that
Service, may be treated and cared for by the Public Health Service." 40
Apparently, it is the policy of INS to request emergency medical care
from Public Health Service hospitals only for illegal aliens in its
custody. Reportedly, INS will not assume jurisdiction for illegal
aliens not in its custody who are in need of emergency medical treat-
ment until they have received the necessary care.41 According to some
sources, this is because INS lacks the necessary funds to reimburse the
PHS hospitals, as also required by law.42
B. Findings of North/Houstoun study
Based on interviews with the 793 apprehended illegal aliens in their
sample, North and Houstoun concluded that "the respondents were
more likely to have participated in tax-paying systems (many of
which are automatic) than to have used tax-supported programs." 43
Thus 77 percent of their respondents had Social Security taxes with-
held; 73 percent had Federal income taxes withheld; and 44 percent
had hospitalization payments withheld. The use of tax-supported
health, education, and welfare programs was significantly lower.
Except for hospitals and clinics, used by 27 percent of the respondents,
no other tax-supported program was used by more than 4 percent of
the respondents (see Table 8).
The authors note that their respondents were "typically young male
workers, . not those of a population likely to receive income
transfer payments." 44 As indicated in the preceding section, the
available information indicates that the typical illegal alien is a
young male worker in search of a job, although this information may
be biased by INS's concentration on apprehending males.
Further, North and Houstoun emphasize that their analysis was
not based on a random sample, but on
S. .A group of illegals selected among those caught by INS, and selected pre-
cisely because they had been workers in the United States. It cannot therefore be
regarded as a reliable indicator of the activities of all illegals in the nation.45
Extent of participation of apprehended illegal alien respondents in tax-paying and
Program activity Percentage of
Social Security taxes withheld ---- --------------------- 77. 3
Federal income taxes withheld------- ----------------- 73. 2
Hospitalization payments withheld -------------------------44. 0
Filed U.S. income tax returns--.----------------- ------31. 5
Used hospitals or clinics --------_ ----------------------- 27. 4
Collected one or more weeks of unemployment insurance ---------- 3. 9
Have children in U.S. schools ------- -------_---------- 3. 7
Participated in U.S.-funded job training programs---------------- 1. 4
Secured food stamps------------------1------------ 1. 3
Secured welfare payments ------------ ----------------_ 0. 5
Source: North/Houstoun study (March 1976), p. S-14.
40 Public Health Service Act, as amended, sec. 322(c); 42 U.S.C. 249(c).
"l Jane Reister Conard, "Health Care for Indigent Illegal Aliens: Whose Responsibility?" University of
California, Davis, Law Review, v. 8,1975, pp. 112-113. See also, Gary Atkins, "Sick and illegal: it's a problem
or everyone," Riverside Press-Enterprise, Mar. 10, 1974, p. 4.
4' Public Health Service Act, as amended, sec. 502: 42 U.S.C. 220.
'3 North/Houstoun study (March 1976), p. S-14.
'4 Ibid., p. 142.
t5 Ibid., p. 149.
Differences between non-Mexican and Mexican illegal aliens are
particularly significant here. Commenting elsewhere on the results of
their study, North and Houstoun note:
Ironically, however, it was the non-Mexican illegals, who were the least likely
to be apprehended by the INS, who were the more likely to have taken advantage
of tax-supported programs. In addition, and not surprisingly, the Mexican re-
spondents were substantially more likely to have families in their home country
and to move back and forth much more frequently than the non-Mexican re-
spondents. The non-Mexican illegals, on the other hand (who, unlike the Mexicans,
were for the most part visa abusers), were more likely to have families in the
United States, were more likely to have children in U.S. schools, supported signifi-
cantly fewer relatives in their homeland, and sent substantially less money to their
country of origin than did the Mexican illegals.46
Despite these caveats, the authors concluded that the major impact
of illegal aliens in this country was probably on the labor market,
rather than on public service and benefit programs. Quoting:
The major immediate impact of illegals in the U.S. today is probably on the labor
market. Most respondents came to the United States explicitly to find employment'
We suspect that most illegals who establish a residence in the U.S. similarly came to
find jobs, and that those who did not are unlikely to remain in the nation without
entering the labor force. Further, if the survey respondents are typical of illegals
working in the nation, illegals in the U.S. labor force are substantially more likely
to pay taxes than to use tax-supported systems and to support relatives in their
country of origin than to have a spouse or children here.47
This finding is qualified by the observation that the direct and
indirect impact of illegals who settle permanently in this country will
be "more far-ranging and profound" than that of those here tempor-
arily, and will include more use of public services.48 Similar points
have been made by economists Ray Marshall 4 and Michael Piore,5
as well as by the Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens,
The major impact of illegal aliens at this time seems to be in the labor market'
This impact is likely to extend over time to other areas as the process of settle-
C. Federal bars against illegal alien participation in public assistance
Under legislation and a series of regulations adopted following the
Supreme Court decision on June 14, 1971 in Graham v. Richardson,
403 U.S. 365, illegal aliens are now barred from participation in major
Federal public assistance programs. These are Supplemental Security
Income for the Aged, Blind, and Disabled (SSI), Aid to Families with
Dependent Children (AFDC), Medicaid, and the Food Stamp Pro-
gram. All are restricted by Federal law or regulation to U.S. citizens,
aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence, and to other aliens
permanently residing in the United States "under color law," includ-
ing specified categories of refugees (see p. 30 ).
Similarly, the Social Security Act Amendments of 1972 (Public
Law 92-603; 86 Stat. 1329) contained provisions aimed at curtailing
the participation of illegal aliens in Federally funded assistance pro-
grams (see p. 28 ). State courts and legislatures have also been
active in excluding illegal aliens from public service and benefit
46 North/Houstoun "Summary" (October 1976), p. 41.
7 North/Houstoun study (March 1976), p. 155.
'9 Marshall (1976). pp. 57-58.
0s Piore (1976), p. 28.
51 Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens report (December 1976), p. 237.
programs, such as unemployment insurance in California,52 and the
public schools in Texas."5
The opportunity for fraudulent participation in public assistance
and service programs clearly continues to exist. However, in the
opinion of a number of observers, illegal aliens are often reluctant to
participate in such programs even if it is not clearly illegal for them
to do so. Julian Samora wrote in 1971 that, "The wetback will avoid
any situation which requires identification papers and he will avoid
relationships with institutions generally." 54 If this line of reasoning is
correct-and it is largely undocumented-presumably, illegal aliens
would be even less likely to participate in government programs on a
D. Displacement effects unknown
Without question illegal aliens do displace some U.S. workers who,
in turn, become legal recipients of public assistance. The Cramton
report points out that: "While illegal Mexican aliens are generally
reluctant to seek benefits under Government welfare programs for
fear of being discovered and returned to Mexico, it appears likely
that they have a significant effect upon the total public assistance
burden through displacement of citizens who are forced to resort to
welfare." 55 However, virtually no reliable information is available
on this phenomenon. Quoting again from North and Houstoun:
We do not know, and cannot know, the extent to which the illegals we inter-
viewed caused other workers to draw unemployment insurance benefits, or to
rely on food stamps or welfare. Given the inadequate data on these indirect
impacts, those who have written on the subject have been forced to use a process
of building assumptions upon assumptions.56
We also lack adequate data about the actual motivation of U.S.
workers, who may only appear to be displaced by illegal aliens and
who may, in fact, prefer welfare to, for instance, stoop labor. The
argument is made by economists as well as employers that many
illegal aliens fill jobs that U.S. workers are unwilling and/or unavail-
able to take. Thus, Michael J. Piore writes:
Industrial societies seem to generate a series of jobs, at the bottom of the social
structure, which their own labor force is reluctant to fill. Such jobs are generally
viewed as menial and demeaning; their chief economic characteristic appears to
be a lack of job security and career opportunity. They are rejected in favor of
higher level employment opportunities whenever the latter become available
and, sometimes, even in period of unemployment when there are no alternatives.
The rejection of these jobs by native workers leads industrialists to recruit migrants
from underdeveloped rural areas. ...
This line of argument implies that the heavy emphasis in public policy discus-
sions upon the competition between native and foreign workers is misplaced.
Foreign workers are coming essentially to fill jobs which native workers have
rejected. To the extent that these jobs are critical to the functioning of an in-
dustrial society-and, while there are exceptions, the jobs taken as a group do
seem to be critical-the aliens are complementary to native workers and to domes-
tic consumption patterns. Any wholesale attempt to end the migration is, there-
fore, likely to be exceedingly disruptive to the operation of the society and to
52 Alonso v. State, Department of Human Resources, 123 Cal. Reptr. 536 (Ct. of App., 2d Dist. July 30,
6 Texas recently enacted legislation restricting public education to "all children who are citizens of the
United States or legally admitted aliens." See Good Neighbor Commission of Texas, "1975 Texas Migrant
Labor Report," p. 54.
M Julian Samora, Los Mojados: the Wetback Story. University of Notre Dame press, 1971, p. 97. (Hence-
forth cited as Samora (1971).)
65 Cramton report (Jan. 1973), p. 10.
"5 North/Houstoun study (March 1976), p. 140. The authors cite as an example of this process "the 4 De-
cember 1975 letter from Richard D. Darman, Principal, ICF Incorporated, to General Leonard Chapman,
Commissioner, Immigration and Naturalization Services, which INS released to the press."
the welfare of various interest groups within it, and to meet, for this reason,
with widespread resistance. The gap between the de jure policy, which is one of
virtual exclusion of unskilled migrants, and the de facto presence of large numbers
of such workers is no doubt a result of this fact.57
PAYMENTS SENT TO HOME COUNTRIES BY ILLEGAL ALIENS
The amount of money sent to home countries by illegal aliens has
important implications for U.S. foreign policy. Money sent home by
aliens to their native countries contributes to the problems associated
with an adverse balance of payments. However, it also constitutes an
indirect form of foreign aid. By all reports the amounts involved are
substantial, particularly as far as Mexico is concerned.
North and Houstoun found that out of an average gross weekly
wage of $120, their study group sent home an average of $105 a
month.58 As shown in Table 9, the Mexican group reported both the
lowest weekly wages and the highest monthly sums sent home. They
also reported the heaviest family responsibilities in their home country.
The Mexican group was supporting an average of 5.4 dependents
outside the United States. In contrast, the other Western Hemisphere
illegals were supporting an average of 3.6 dependents outside the
United States, and the Eastern Hemisphere aliens were supporting
1.8 dependents abroad.59
North and Houstoun tentatively estimate that $1.5 billion annually
may be sent by illegal aliens in the United States to Mexico, assuming
that there were one million Mexican workers employed in the United
States, and that the average figure of $129 a month reported by the
Mexican illegals interviewed reflected the monthly average for all.60
This figure, the authors note, is considerably higher than the un-
published estimate by the Department of Commerce's Bureau of
Economic Analysis. The Commerce Department's estimate of person-
to-person remittances for 1974 was $73.9 million, and included re-
mittances from all individuals in the United States (excluding only
legal and illegal commuters), to all individuals in Mexico, including
TABLE 9.-PAYMENTS MADE TO HOMELAND RELATIVES AND WAGES OF SELECTED GROUPS OF APPREHENDED
ILLEGAL ALIEN RESPONDENTS
Average Average Percentage of Average Total
weekly monthly group making monthly number of
Groups of respondents wage payments payments payments' respondents
Region of origin:
Mexican illegals__.---- $106 $169 89 $129 481
Western Hemisphere illegals (ex-
cluding Mexico)-..-.... -------- 127 116 72 76 237
Eastern Hemisphere illegals.. -- 195 104 44 37 75
Entered without inspection ....... 108 162 87 124 555
Visa abusers-...-.. ------ 150 115 63 63 238
Illegals in southwest border coun-
ties----- -----74 186 89 129 68
All apprehended respondents...-.--.. 120 151 79 105 793
1 Average based on only those making such payments.
a Average based on all illegals, including those not paying.
s INS term for aliens who enter the United States without authorization.
Sources: Linton & Co. Illegal Alien Study, 1975. North/Houstoun study (March 1976), table IV-5, p. 80.
67 Piore (1976), pp. 25-26.
s North/Houstoun study, p. 6-6.
"9 Ibid., p. 79.
8 Ibid., p. 81.
61 Ibid., p. 79.
III. EXISTING LEGISLATION AND RECENT CONGRESSIONAL AND
EXISTING FEDERAL LEGISLATION
A. Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, as amended (8 U.S.C.
1101 et seq.)
The basic U.S. law governing immigration is the Immigration and
Nationality Act of 1952, as amended.' The most significant amend-
ments to this act were those enacted in 1965 2 and in 1976.3 Among
other things, the 1965 amendments abolished the national origins
quota system and placed a numerical ceiling on Western Hemisphere
immigration beginning July 1, 1968. The 1976 amendments extended
equally to both hemispheres a slightly modified version of the seven-
category preference system and a 20,000 per-country annual limit,
both of which had previously been in effect only for the Eastern
The Immigration and Nationality Act defines an alien as "any
person not a citizen or national of the United States," and sets forth
the conditions under which aliens may enter this country. A basic
distinction is made between immigrants and nonimmigrants. Immi-
grants are those aliens admitted for permanent residence, as opposed
to the different classes of nonimmigrants, who are granted temporary
admission for specific purposes. As may be expected, far fewer im-
migrants than nonimmigrants are admitted, and the conditions of
their admission are far more stringent. A total of 386,194 immigrants
were admitted in fiscal year 1975. During the same year, 7,083,937
nonimmigrants were admitted, of whom more than 5 million were
While some nonimmigrants are admitted for the express purpose of
temporary employment, most nonimmigrants-including all tourists-
are prohibited from accepting employment. Immigrants, on the other
hand, may and do freely accept and change employment. All non-
immigrants are required to leave the country at the end of their allotted
time. Immigrants, in contrast, are admitted permanently and may
apply for U.S. citizenship after five years residence.
For the purposes of the provisions of law governing the, entry of
immigrants, the world is divided into the Western Hemisphere, which
comprises the other countries of North and South America as well as
the neighboring islands, and the Eastern Hemisphere. Western
Hemisphere immigration is subject to a numerical restriction of 120,000
a year, and Eastern Hemisphere immigration to 170,000. Under these
separate hemispheric ceilings, immigrant visas are distributed ac-
cording to a seven-category preference system which gives priority to
family members, those with needed skills, and refugees. Each country
is limited to 20,000 immigrants a year, not including immediate
relatives. The spouses and children of U.S. citizens and the parents
of U.S. citizens who are over 21 are classified as immediate relatives,
and are exempt from all numerical restrictions.
1 McCarran-Walter Act, Act of June 27, 1952, Public Law 414, 82d Congress, 66 Stat. 163.
2 Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of 1965, Act of Oct. 3, 1965, Public Law 89-236; 79 Stat.
3 Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of 1976, Act of Oct. 20, 1976, Public Law 94-571; 90
Stat. 2703. This act went into effect Jan. 1, 1977.
4 1975 INS Annual Report, p. 31, p. 68.
Illegal aliens are aliens who have violated the immigration law. The
phrase is a popular expression, rather than a term defined by the
Immigration and Nationality Act. It refers to two categories of
immigration law violators-those who have entered illegally, by-
passing inspection; and the less common group who have entered
legally, generally as nonimmigrants, and violated the terms of their
The law includes criminal sanctions for illegal entry. Under section
275 (8 U.S.C. 1325), any alien who enters the United States without
examination by INS or through misrepresentation or fraud, is guilty
of a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months' imprisonment
and/or a $500 fine. A second offense is a felony, punishable by not more
than two years' imprisonment and/or a $1,000 fine. Section 276 (8
U.S.C. 1326) provides that an alien who was previously deported
and who enters without permission from the Attorney General is
guilty of a felony punishable by not more than two years' imprison-
ment, and/or a fine of $1,000.
Section 274(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C.
1324) defines the smuggling, harboring, transporting, or encouraging
of illegal entrants as felonies, punishable by a fine not exceeding $2,000
and/or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, for each
alien involved. However, the law specifically exempts the employ-
merit of illegal entrants from the penalties attached to harboring.
Section 274(a)(4) contains the following proviso: "Provided, however,
That for the purposes of this section, employment (including the usual
and normal practices incident to employment) shall not be deemed to
constitute harboring." This is popularly referred to as the Southwest
or Texas proviso, and was enacted in 1952,6 prior to the enactment of
the Immigration and Nationality Act, in which it was subsequently
The Immigration and Nationality Act does not contain criminal
sanctions for aliens who accept employment or otherwise violate the
conditions of their admission. Such aliens are, however, subject to
deportation under section 241(a) (9) of the Act (8 U.S.C. 1251(a) (9)),
which provides that an alien shall be deported if he "was admitted as
a nonimmigrant and failed to maintain the nonimmigrant status in
which he was admitted or to which it was changed pursuant to section
248, or to comply with the conditions of any such status." Under the
1976 amendments, aliens who accept unauthorized employment are
also prohibited from adjusting their status from that of nonimmigrant
to that of permanent resident alien (immigrant) while remaining in
this country. (Sec. 245(c); 8 U.S.C. 1255c).
B. Other Federal laws and regulations with a bearing on illegal aliens
As amended in 1974,6 the Farm Labor Contractor Registration Act
of 1963, as amended (7 U.S.C. 2041 et seq.), includes criminal penal-
ties of up to a $10,000 fine and/or three years imprisonment for certain
contractors who knowingly engage the services of illegal aliens. These
penalty provisions are applicable to farm labor contractors who have
6 Act of Mar. 20, 1952, Public Law 283, 82d Congress, 66 Stat. 26. The debate preceding the enactment of
the proviso was a heated one which in many ways prefigured the current debate about legislation which
would establish penalties for the employment of illegal aliens.
Act of Dec. 7,. 1974, Public Law 93-518, 88 Stat. 1652.
not registered under the Act, or whose registration has been revoked
Amendments to the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 301 et seq.)
enacted in 1972 7 included a new provision relating to the method of
the issuance of social security numbers. The provision is aimed in part
at curtailing the use of social security cards for employment purposes
by noncitizens who are not legally entitled to work. It is also at least
indirectly aimed at reducing the participation by illegal aliens in
Federally-financed benefit programs.
The 1972 amendments to the Social Security Act require the Secre-
tary of Health, Education and Welfare to take affirmative measures
to assure that a social security number be assigned to a noncitizen
at the time of his admission, provided he is entitled to work; or at the
time of his subsequent change to a status which permits employment.
Social security numbers are also required to be issued to individuals
applying for or receiving benefits under Federally financed benefit
programs. Further, all applicants for social security numbers are re-
quired to establish, among other things, their citizenship or alien
status. Criminal penalties of $1,000 and/or imprisonment for up to
one year are provided for willful fraud.
The Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare is also required to
enter into such agreements as may be necessary in carrying out the
requirements for the issuance of social security numbers with, among
other officials, the Attorney General. Based on this legislative re-
quirement, the regulations issued by the Social Security Administra-
tion currently provide that the Administration will notify the Immi-
gration and Naturalization Service in the event social security records
indicate that an alien is illegally employed; that documents submitted
by aliens have expired or are otherwise invalid; or that an alien is
requested to submit documentary evidence, and does not comply
within a reasonable time.8
Aliens who have entered the United States illegally, as well as all
nonimmigrants, are excluded from coverage under the three major
public assistance programs authorized by the Social Security Act,
as amended (42 U.S.C. 301 et seq.). These programs are Supplemental
Security Income for the Aged, Blind, and Disabled (SSI), Aid to
Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), and Medicaid. Illegal
entrants and nonimmigrants are also excluded from participation
in the Food Stamp Program, authorized by the Food Stamp Act, as
amended (7 U.S.C. 2011-2025).
The alien eligibility requirements for the above programs are statu-
tory only in the case of the Supplemental Security Income program,
authorized by title XVI of the Social Security Act as amended in
1972.9 In the case of the other three programs, the requirements for
alien eligibility are set forth in the regulations, all of which were
adopted after 1972.10
7 The provision referred to is contained in section 137 of the Social Security Act Amendments of 1972 (Act
of Oct. 30, 1972, Public Law 92-603, 86 Stat. 1329), which amended section 205(c)(2) of the Social Security
Act (42 U.S.C. 405).
S20 C.F.R. 422.107(d).
Section 1614(a)(1)(B); 42 U.S.C. 1382c(a)(1)(B).
*t The alien eligibility requirement for AFDC appears in the regulations at 45 CFR 233.50; for Medicaid,
it appears at 45 CFR 248.50; and for the Food Stamp Program, it appears at 7 CFR 271.1(e).
The basic requirements for alien eligibility are identical for the
four public assistance programs. In each case, eligibility is limited to a
U.S. resident who is either a citizen or . .
an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence or otherwise permanently
residing in the United States under color of law (including any alien who is law-
fully present in the United States as a result of the application of the provisions
of section 203(a)(7) or section 212(d) (5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act).
The citations to the Immigration and Nationality Act refer, re-
spectively, to seventh preference refugees who are initially admitted
on a two-year conditional basis; and to parolees admitted at the
discretion of the Attorney General.
The Unemployment Compensation Amendments of 1976, enacted
by the 94th Congress, amended the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 by
the addition of language almost identical to that quoted above,
restricting unemployment compensation to permanent resident
aliens and other aliens permanently residing in the U.S. under color
of law." Additionally, the amendments include provisions designed to
insure that unemployment compensation will not be inadvertently
denied or delayed because of the ethnic, racial, or linguistic character-
istics of those legally eligible for it. These provisions follow:
(B) any data or information required of individuals applying for compensation
to determine whether compensation is not payable to them because of their alien
status shall be uniformly required from all applicants for compensation, and
(C) in the case of an individual whose application for compensation would
otherwise be approved, no determination by the State agency that compensation
to such individual is not payable because of his alien status shall be made except
upon a preponderance of the evidence.
These provisions go into effect Jan. 1, 1978 or, in the case of
states whose legislatures do not meet in a regular session which ends
in 1977, on Jan. 1, 1979.
Illegal aliens are also barred from participation in Medicare (Parts
A and B),1 as well as in programs authorized by Titles I and II of
the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) of 1973.13
RECENT CONGRESSIONAL ACTION
A. Penalties for the employment of illegal aliens
In addition to the enacted legislation included in the previous
section, other legislation pertaining to the control of illegal aliens
has been receiving serious attention by the Congress since 1971.
Chief among the legislative approaches to the problem has been the
proposed establishment of penalties for the employment of illegal
Extensive investigative and legislative hearings on the problem
of illegal aliens were held during the 92nd Congress, beginning in
1971, by the House Judiciary subcommittee with special jurisdiction
over immigration matters, then under the chairmanship of Representa-
tive Peter W. Rodino, Jr.'4 Quoting from a recent House Judiciary
11 Act of Oct. 20, 1976, Public Law 94-566; 90 Stat. 2680, Sec. 314; amends Internal Revenue Code, Sec.
3304(14), 26 U.S.C. 3304.
12 Medicare Part A: Sec. 1818(a)(3), Social Security Act; Medicare Part B: Sec. 1836(2), Social Security
i3 Title I: 29 CFR 95.32(d): Title II: 29 CFR 96.27(g).
Ir U.S. Congress. House. Committee on the Judiciary. Hearings, 92d Congress, 1st and 2d session. Serial
No. 13, Pts. 1-5. Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1971-72. A summary of the hearings was
made available in the form of a Committee print entitled "Illegal Aliens: A Review of Hearing Conducted
during the 92d Congress (Serial No. 13, Pts. 1-5) by Subcommittee No. 1," published February, 1973.
(Cited as Illegal Aliens, House Judiciary Committee print (1973).)
Committee report, "The basic conclusion reached by the majority
of the members of the Subcommittee as a result of the hearings was
that the adverse impact of illegal aliens was substantial, and warranted
legislation both to protect U.S. labor and the economy, and to assure
the orderly entry of immigrants into this country." 15
These hearings formed the basis for a series of bills prohibiting the
knowing employment of illegal aliens, and establishing a graduated
three-step series of administrative, civil, and criminal penalties for
employers violating this prohibition. The basic rationale for this
approach was explained as follows during the 94th Congress by the
House Judiciary Committee:
The Committee believes that the primary reason for the illegal alien problem
is the economic imbalance between the United States and the countries from which
aliens come, coupled with the chance of employment in the United States. Con-
sequently, it is apparent that this problem cannot be solved as long as jobs can
be obtained by those who enter this country illegally and by those who enter
legally as nonimmigrants for the sole purpose of obtaining employment.
The Committee, therefore, is of the opinion that the most reasonable approach
to this problem is to make unlawful the "knowing" employment of illegal aliens,
thereby removing the economic incentive which draws such aliens to the United
States as well as the incentive for employers to exploit this source of labor.16
Legislation embodying this approach received the continuous
support of the Nixon and Ford Administrations. Bills were passed
by the House during the 92nd Congress (H.R. 16188) and the 93rd
Congress (H.R. 982). However, they received no Senate action.
A bill identical to the House-passed H.R. 982 of the 93rd Congress
was introduced at the beginning of the 94th Congress, and hearings
were held by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration,
Citizenship, and International Law, under the chairmanship of
Representative Joshua Eilberg.17 A clean bill, H.R. 8713, was reported
to the House on September 24, 1975,18 but received no further action
by the House. H.R. 8713 differed from earlier versions of the House
Judiciary illegal alien bill most notably in the inclusion of a provision
allowing for the regularization of status ("amnesty") for certain
illegal aliens who had been in the country since July 1, 1968, as well
as a provision intended to insure against employment discrimination
those of foreign appearance who are legally entitled to work.
Bills providing for a graduated series of civil penalties for the em-
ployment of illegal aliens, in conjunction with amnesty provisions for
certain illegal aliens presently in the country, were introduced by
Senator Edward Kennedy, a member of the Senate Judiciary Sub-
committee on Immigration and Naturalization, during the 93rd
(S. 3827) and 94th (S. 561) Congresses. However, the first time illegal
alien legislation received formal consideration by the Senate Judiciary
Committee in recent years was during the 94th Congress. On March 4,
1976, Senator James O. Eastland, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary
Committee and of its Subcommittee on Immigration and Naturaliza-
tion, introduced an omnibus immigration reform bill, S. 3074. In
addition to provisions which were similar to those enacted into law
'5 H. Rept. 94-506 (1975), p. 3.
"5 Ibid., p. 6.
'7 House Judiciary hearings, 1975; see note 1-19.
is H. Rept. 94-506 (1975); see note 2.
as the Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of 1976 (Public
Law 94-571; see p. 27 above), the bill included civil penalties for
the knowing employment of illegal aliens as well as an amnesty pro-
vision for certain illegal aliens presently in the country. Hearings
were held on S. 3074 in March and April, 1976,'" but it was not
Major provisions of H.R. 8713, as amended, are compared with
those provisions of S. 3074 relating to illegal aliens in Appendix A.
General arguments for and against employer sanctions and amnesty
for illegal aliens presently in the country are discussed in Section V.
B. Operations of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)
During the 93rd Congress (1973-1974), the Legal and Monetary
Affairs Subcommittee of the House Committee on Government
Operations held extensive hearings on INS.20 The purpose of the
hearings was to examine the operations of INS as they related to
illegal aliens; and, in the final series of hearings, to review allegations
of corruption within INS itself, and to monitor the progress of "Opera-
tion Clean Sweep," a Justice Department investigation of those al-
legations then underway.
Quoting from an Interim Report published in December 1974,
"The Legal and Monetary Affairs Subcommittee conducted this
study to determine whether operational and managerial weaknesses
on the part of INS might be responsible for the tremendous growth
in illegal alien presence in the United States in recent years." Based
on testimony from "witnesses from all levels of INS," they concluded
that INS was an agency "whose dimensions had increased dramatically
within the past decade, but which was funded at a level that failed to
provide the means of accomplishing its task." 21
This, generally speaking, was the overall conclusion reached by the
Committee, at least as reflected in its Interim Report. They found
that, "The ever-increasing number of illegal aliens in this country
appears to be due in great part to the inability of the Service to con-
trol and enforce immigration laws in every section of the country." '2
This, in turn, was found to be due largely to underfunding, and the
resulting understaffing, of the agency. The House Government Opera-
tions Committee concluded that, "Fiscal policies and budget requests
have consistently failed to provide INS with necesasry levels of support
to maintain effective levels of enforcement activity," 2 a situation
attributed to lack of support by the Department of Justice and the
Office of Management and Budget (OMB), dating back over a ten-
year period.24 The Committee linked the need for increased funding
and manpower primarily to the increase in the illegal alien problem. 2
" Senate Judiciary hearings, 1976; see note 1-10.
2o U.S. Congress. House. Committee on Government Operations. Legal and Monetary Affairs Subcom-
mittee. Immigration and Naturalization Regional Office operations. Parts 1-5. Hearings, 93d Congress,
1st and 2d session. Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1973 and 1974. 616 p.
21 U.S. Congress. House. Committee on Government Operations. Interim report on Immigration and
Naturalization Service regional office operations; twentieth report together with separate views. Washing-
ton, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1974. 59 p. (93d Cong., 2d session, House. Report No. 93-1623), p. 2.
22 Ibid., p. 3.
23 Ibid., p. 5.
24 Ibid., p. 20.
25 Ibid., p. 16.
C. INS authorizations and appropriations
The House Committee on the Judiciary has shared the Government
Operations Committee's concern with what they have seen to be the
inadequate funding of INS, and has also attributed this to lack of
support for INS from Justice and OMB as reflected in the annual
budget requests. Quoting from the House Judiciary Committee report
on H.R. 8713, the illegal alien bill discussed above:
For several years, the Committee has been deeply concerned by the inadequate
funding of INS. The Committee believes that the lack of funds has greatly
diminished the capacity of INS to properly and effectively administer the Immi-
gration and Nationality Act.
This problem can be traced directly to the failure of the Department of Justice
and OMB to place sufficient priority on the enforcement of our immigration law.
H.R. 8713 contained a provision repealing INS' open-ended au-
thorization and requiring annual authorizations by the Congress.
As a result of this provision, the Committee and the Congress will be required
to approve annual or periodic authorization bills for INS. In particular, the Sub-
committee on Immigration, Citizenship and International Law will, by necessity,
review the functions, programs, and activities of INS on a line item basis.27
While H.R. 8713 was not enacted, the provision under discussion
has become law. As the result of another bill enacted by the 94th
Congress, the Crime Control Act of 1976,28 annual authorizations are
now required for all Justice Department agencies, including INS,
beginning with fiscal year 1979.29
The amount appropriated by Congress for INS for fiscal year 1977
was $234 million, $12.4 million more than the amount requested by
the President. The Administration's budget request of $221,581,000
had represented a net increase of $7.4 million and a decrease of 111
positions compared to fiscal year 1976.
The unusual step of appropriating an amount for salaries and ex-
penses which is higher than the amount requested originated with the
House Appropriations Committee and was explained on the grounds
of the Committee's concern about "workload backlogs." The addi-
tional funds were to be used primarily for increased manpower.30
RECENT EXECUTIVE BRANCH ACTION
Responsibility for administering the Immigration and Nationality
Act is shared by the Department of Justice's Immigration and
Naturalization Service and the Department of State's Bureau of
Security and Consular Affairs, with participation of varying degrees
by agencies of the Department of Labor, the Department of Health,
Education, and Welfare, and the Treasury Department. The primary
responsibility for most enforcement aspects of immigration, and
hence for the illegal alien problem, rests with INS.
27 Ibid., p. 19.
28 Act of Oct. 15, 1976, Public Law 94-503; 90 Stat. 2407. See Title II, Sec. 204; 90 Stat. 2427.
2D For further discussion of this provision, see the House report on the legislation enacted as Public Law
94-503, H. Rept. No. 94-1155, pp. 15-16.
30 U.S. Congress. House. Committee on Appropriations. Departments of State, Justice, and Conmlerce,
the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriation Bill, fiscal year 1977; report to accompany H.R. 14239.
Washington, U.S. Government Printing Olfice, 1976 (94th Cong., 2d session. House. Report No. 94-1226),
A. INS priorities and budget
Since Commissioner Leonard F. Chapman took office on Novem-
ber 29, 1973, the illegal alien problem has been given top priority
by INS. In his letter to the Attorney General accompanying the
fiscal year 1974 INS Annual Report, Commissioner Chapman described
"the continuing surge of illegal aliens into the United States" as "the
most serious problem facing the Immigration Service, and one of the
Nation's most pressing problems." 31 Commissioner Chapman reiter-
ated this point many times in his frequent speeches and statements on
the subject of illegal aliens.
,,Top priority within INS has been placed on Border Patrol and in-
spections activities aimed at preventing aliens from entering the
country illegally. Quoting from the report of the Domestic Council
Committee on Illegal Aliens, "In enforcing the nation's immigration
laws, the prevention of illegal entry is of paramount importance to
INS and involves almost 40 percent of its personnel." 32 They esti-
mate that in fiscal year 1976, over 1,700 of the Border Patrol's 2,000
officers were located in the Southwest border area. However, this
yielded about 200 men a shift, or "one patrolman for every ten miles
of the 2,000 mile long border." 33
Those aliens who escape detection while entering illegally or violate
their status after legal entry are the responsibility of the investigative
personnel of INS, who concentrate on illegal aliens seeking employ-
ment or employed, particularly in higher paying jobs. Other ongoing
INS activities relating to the illegal alien problem include the alien
documentation program, the purpose of which is to replace all existing
INS identification cards with counterfeit-proof ID cards; expansion
of detention and deportation facilities, including "interior repatria-
tion" of deported Mexican aliens; and, as mentioned earlier, a com-
prehensive seven-part study of the illegal alien problem.34 As a further
indication of INS priorities, the appropriations and permanent posi-
tions available to INS during fiscal years 1976 and 1977 are summarized
by major budget activities in Tables 10 and 11.
The extent of INS's activities is, of course, a function of its budget.
In recent years, Congress has generally appropriated an amount very
close to that requested for INS by the Administration. However, the
Administration's request has generally been significantly lower than
the amount originally requested by INS. For example, INS requested
a manpower increase for fiscal year 1977 of 2,600 positions;the request
submitted to the Congress by the Administration provided for a net
decrease of 111 positions.3"
5' 1974 INS Annual Report, p. iii.
32 Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens report (December 1976), p. 76.
ss Ibid., p. 84.
s4 For a discussion of INS programs and priorities pursuant to the fiscal year 1977 budget request, see
House Appropriations Subcommittee hearings entitled "Departments of State, Justice, and Commerce,
the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations for 1977," Part 4, pp. 628-719.
'5 Senate Judiciary hearings, 1976, p. 51. See also House Rept. No. 94-50C (1975), p. 18.
TABLE 10.-INS APPROPRIATIONS BY BUDGET ACTIVITY, FISCAL YEARS 1976-77
[Dollar amounts in thousands]
Budget authority 19761 1977 change
1. Inspection for admission into the United States ---- - $36,318 $37, 936 4
2. Adjudications__------- 15,466 19,666 27
3. Detention and deportation --- ----------------- 26, 309 37, 885 44
4. Naturalization_ ------ 10,147 10,488 3
5. Border patrol-_--- 64, 877 64, 459 -1
6. Investigating aliens' status-- --- --- 31, 580 34,922 11
7. Immigration and naturalization records. ----- 17, 747 15,909 -10
8. General administration--------------------- 12, 165 12, 735 5
Total... ... ....--.----------------------- 214,609 23,000 9
The total fiscal year 1976 appropriation of $214,609,000 includes the original appropriation of $208,000,000 (Public Law
94-121), plus a supplemental appropriation of $6,609,000 (Public Law 94-303). Data on the earmarking by budge ac-
S tivities has been derived from a combination of (1) the INS breakdown by budget activity of $213,609,000 contained in the
hearings of the House Appropriations Committee entitled "Departments of State, Justice, and Commerce, the Judiciary
and Related Agencies Appropriations for 1977" (pt 4, p. 633), 94th Cong. 2d sess; and (2) CRS computations based on
information provided by the INS budget office on the distribution of the additional $1,000,000 obtained as part of a sup-
2 The breakdown by budget activity of the fiscal year 1977 appropriation of $234,000,000 (Public Law 94-362) was
provided by the INS budget office.
TABLE 11.-INS PERMANENT POSITIONS BY BUDGET ACTIVITY, FISCAL YEARS 1976-77
Budget activity 19761 19772 change
1. Inspection for admission into the United States....._ --- .- 1, 491 1,591 7.0
2. Adjudications_.__ --------- 685 785 15.0
3. Detention and deportation_ ----- -- 827 1,031 25.0
4. Naturalization --------------------- 473 473-------
5. Border patrol. .. ------------- 2,434 2,439 .2
6. Investigating aliens' status... ------ --- 1,304 1,504 15.0
7. Immigration and naturalization records.-.---- --- 1,057 1,057 ---
8. General administration__.--------------------- 561 571 2.0
Total ------------------- 8,832 9,451 7.0
I House Appropriations Committee hearings "Departments of State, Justice, and Commerce, the Judiciary, and Related
Agencies Appropriations for 1977," 94th Cong., 2d sess, ,pt 4, p. 633.
'INS budget office.
B. Foreign policy
U.S. concern with illegal aliens in the context of foreign policy
considerations is a fairly recent development and, to date, limited
almost exclusively to Mexico. Quoting from the report of the Domestic
Council Committee on Illegal Aliens:
With the possible recent exception of Mexico, the control of illegal immigration
has not been an item of concern to U.S. policymakers in the governance of our
relations with sending countries. The State Department's country policy papers,
which outline U.S. policy goals for the major sending countries, do not in any
ease cite illegal emigration as an issue although several accord priority to estab-
lishing effective visa issuing processes.36
The issue of illegal aliens was among those discussed Oct. 21, 1974
between President Ford and President Echeverria of Mexico. At that
time, President Echeverria indicated that the Mexican Government
3s Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens report (December 1976), p. 56.
was not interested in a renewal of the Bracero program, allowing for
temporary entry of Mexican agricultural workers on a contract basis;37
the previous program ended in December 1964. The two Presidents
agreed to reactivate a joint U.S.-Mexican commission to update
existing data and to reanalyze the illegal alien problem from an inter-
national point of view.38 The Interagency Committee on Mexican
Migration to the United States, chaired by the Department of State,
was established pursuant to this meeting, and subsequently doubled
as the Foreign Relations task force of the Domestic Council Committee
on Illegal Aliens.
A similar bilateral effort was conducted in the early 1970s. On the
U.S. side, the Special Study Group on Illegal Immigrants from Mexico
was chaired by Roger C. Cramton, of the U.S. Department of Justice,
and included representatives from INS and the Departments of HEW,
Agriculture, Labor, and State. Their Final Report, commonly referred
to as the Cramton report, was issued January 15, 1973. A companion
report was issued by Mexico's Interdepartmental Commission for
the Study of the Problem of the Clandestine Emigration of Mexican
Workers to the United States of America on December 14, 1972.
Since the meeting between the U.S. and Mexican presidents in
1974, the U.S. group and its Mexican counterpart, the Mexican
Commission on Undocumented Workers, have continued discussions
of the illegal alien problem. In 1976, a joint plenary session was held
in Washington, with follow-up sessions at the border. The work of
these groups is described by the Domestic Council Committee on
Illegal Aliens as representing "initial steps toward meeting the
serious need for cooperative efforts between the governments of both
C. Preliminary report of the Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens
In January 1975, President Gerald Ford established the Domestic
Council Committee on Illegal Aliens, chaired by the Attorney General,
"to develop, coordinate and present to me policy issues that cut
across agency lines to provide better programs for dealing with this
National problem." 40 The Preliminary Report of the Cabinet-level
Committee was released in early January, 1977.
The Committee concludes that "illegal immigration is significant and
growing." 41 Generally speaking, however, its assessment of the volume
and impact of illegal immigration is more tentative and qualified than
that presented by Administration spokesmen, particularly those from
INS, in the recent past. The report repeatedly emphasizes the inade-
quacy of existing information, observing in the concluding section that,
"one clear theme of this report is that a dramatic lack of reliable
information makes thorough analysis of illegal immigration impossible
at this time." 42
37 U.S. Congress. House. Committee on the Judiciary. Western Hemisphere Immigration. Hearings,
94th Congress, 1st and 2d sessions on H.R. 367, H.R. 981, and H.R. 10323. Serial No. 34. Washington. U.S.
Government Printing Office, 1976, p. 240. (Henceforth cited as House Judiciary Western Hemisphere Im-
migration hearings, 1976).
"President Ford Meets with President Echeverria of Mexico," Department of State Bulletin, vol. LXXI.
No. 1847, Nov. 18, 1974.
3s Ibid., p. 241.
5 Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens report (December 1976), p. 55.
40 Weekly Compilation of Presidential Docmnents, Jan. 13. 1975, p. 26.
4 Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens report (December 1976), p. 236.
42 Ibid., p. 235.
The report reviews the illegal alien problem in the context of U.S.
immigration law and policy, and considers the underlying "inter-
national push-pull" factors. Various domestic aspects of the problem
are examined, including law enforcement, interagency cooperation,
and existing research ("in its infancy"). The characteristics of illegal
aliens are tentatively discussed, as are their domestic impact, with
emphasis on employment, use of welfare, and social implications.
The Committee's general conclusions, described as tentative,
1. Illegal immigration is rooted in powerful social and economic
forces endemic to both host and sending countries ..
2. Illegal immigration is significant and growing ..
3. The major impact of illegal aliens at this time seems to
be in the labor market. This impact is likely to extend over time
to other areas as the process of settlement proceeds ..
4. The community-related implications of large numbers of
illegal aliens are significant and merit government attention ..
5. Effective enforcement of the Immigration and Nationality
Act must stress prevention above all other considerations ..
6. Effective enforcement is not enough. The illegal alien issue
is ultimately an issue of immigration policy and will not be
satisfactorily met until a thorough rethinking of our immigration
policy is undertaken.4
The major recommendations of the Domestic Council Committee
are summarized below:
1. "The issue of illegal immigration merits priority attention
and requires Cabinet leadership," in order to provide "con-
tinued coordination and direction at the highest level." 44
2. Aggressive pursuit by the executive branch of legislation
relating to illegal aliens, including (a) penalties for the knowing
employment of illegal aliens; (b) legislation, since enacted as
Public Law 94-571, extending the preference system and 20,000
per-country limit to Western Hemisphere countries; (c) revision
of the labor certification provision; (d) amnesty for otherwise
eligible illegal aliens present in the country since July 1, 1968,
through a permanent amendment of the Immigration and
Nationality Act (Sec. 249, the "registry" provision); and (e)
increased penalties for smugglers and others who facilitate illegal
3. "An expanded government to government foreign worker
program should not be sought at this time." An evaluation by
the Committee of the adequacy of the existing provisions relating
to temporary alien ("H-2") workers is recommended, as is an
evaluation of the bracero program and foreign guest worker
4. INS and the State Department "should receive high priority
in the allocation of resources directed at prevention of and
screening for illegal entries, management and operational up-
grading, and inter-Departmental coordination." 47
43 Ibid., p. 235-239.
44Ibid., p. 241.
5 Ibid., pp. 241-242.
4 Ibid., p. 242.
5. The Committee recommends against massive deportation
as being "both inhumane and impractical." In addition to the
amnesty recommendation (#2(d) above), it recommends evalu-
ation and development of other policy approaches toward illegal
aliens currently in the country.48
6. The Department of State should undertake negotiations
with governments of the major illegal alien sending countries
on illegal migration and related issues, in addition to those
already underway with Mexico. U.S. foreign aid to less developed
nations should be encouraged, with more emphasis on counter-
acting migration here.49
7. "The Committee and the cognizant Federal agencies
should initiate and support a broad based research program to
determine the nature and scope of various immigration related
8. A thorough reexamination of current U.S. immigration
policy is recommended.51
U.S. Supreme Court decisions
Two major decisions with a direct bearing on the illegal alien issue
were handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court during the 1975-1976
term. In De Canas v. Bica, 424 U.S. 351 (1976), the Couit ruled
unanimously that California and other states can constitutionally
legislate prohibitions against the employment of illegal aliens. With
specific reference to the California Labor Code, the Court held that the
prohibition of the knowing employment of illegal aliens in order to
protect workers within the State is within the police powers of the
State, and does not constitute a violation of the Federal government's
exclusive power over the regulation of immigration.
In a second case, United States v. Martinez-Fuerte, 428 U.S. (1976),
the Court sustained the power of Border Patrol agents to make war-
rantless stops of cars at fixed checkpoints even without reason to be-
lieve that they contain illegal aliens. However, probable cause or
consent is required for vehicle searches. Quoting from the discussion
of this case by the Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens:
Whenever a vehicle is to be searched in any but a "border search" situation, the
officer must be prepared to articulate a clear determination of probable cause, or
the stated consent of the driver or owner. This is applicable to both checkpoint
and roving patrol stops. To comply with the decisions in these cases, the Service
revamped some of its Mexican border area highway operations; a case in point
was the elimination of stopping cars by roving patrols.52
According to the Domestic Council Committee, the effect of this
and related decisions affecting operations of the INS "has been to
place even greater emphasis on preventing entry in the first place." 3
IV. HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT AND BACKGROUND
DEVELOPMENT OF U.S. IMMIGRATION LAWS
During its first century, the United States permitted and, in fact
encouraged free immigration. The only exception to this general rule
4s Ibid., p. 243.
s1 Ibid., p. 244.
52 Ibid., p. 86.
" Ibid., p. 87.
was the Alien Act of 1798,1 a part of the Alien and Sedition Laws,
which authorized the President to expell dangerous aliens. However,
this first deportation statute was very controversial and was not
extended beyond its initial two-year term.
In 1875, as a result of increasing pressure for Federal controls on
immigration after the U.S. Supreme Court had declared State statutes
to be unconstitutional, the Congress began enumerating categories of
aliens who were prohibited from entering the country. An 1875 statute 2
prohibiting the entry of convicts and prostitutes was followed in 1882
by legislation described as "the first general immigration statute,"
barring persons likely to become public charges, as well as idiots,
lunatics, and convicts." The Chinese Exclusion Act was also enacted in
1882,4 and remained in effect until 1943. The contract labor laws of
1885 and 1887 prohibited the importation under contract of foreign
An 1888 amendment I to the contract labor laws permitted the de-
portation within one year of aliens who entered in violation of the
law-in effect, the first illegal alien statute.
Legislation enacted during World War I, the Immigration Act of
1917,' codified existing restrictions on immigration and added new
ones. Enacted over President Wilson's veto, the 1917 Act included the
controversial literacy requirement, prohibiting the entry of aliens
over 16 who were unable to read, and established the Asiatic Barred
Zone, which further restricted the entry of Orientals.
Until the 1920's, restrictions on immigration had been qualitative,
rather than quantitative. That is, there were no restrictions on the
number of aliens who could enter, provided they met the criteria set
forth in the law. During the 1920s, numerical restrictions were placed
on U.S. immigration, in the form of the national origins quota system.
The temporary Quota Law of 1921 s was followed by the permanent
Immigration Act of 1924.9 This Act assigned nontransferable quotas
to Eastern Hemisphere countries, based on the number of persons of
that national origin recorded as being present in the United States by
the 1920 census. Immigration under the quotas was limited to ap-
proximately 150,000 a year. Numerical restrictions were not extended
to the natives of other countries in the Western Hemisphere (see pp.
The national origins quota system remained controversial from the
time of its inception until its repeal in 1965. Pro and con arguments at
the time of its permanent adoption in 1924 were summarized in a 1950
Senate report, in part as follows:
The 1924 act had been hailed as the most far-reaching change that occurred in
America during the course of that quarter century, in that it arrested the tendency
toward a change in the fundamental composition of the American stock. It has
been denounced as radically biased, statistically incorrect, and a clumsy instru-
ment of selection which bars individuals by discrimination against nations instead
of considering personal qualifications of immigrants.10
1 Alien Act of 1798, Act of June 25, 1798, 1 Stat. 570.
2 Act of Mar. 3, 1875, 18 Stat. 477.
3 Act of Aug. 3,1882,22 Stat. 214. Charles Gordon and Harry Rosenfleld, Immigration Law and Procedure,
1976, vol. 1, p. 1-7. See pp. 1-5 through 1-27 for a general survey of the development of immigration law
4 Act of May 6, 1882, 22 Stat. 58.
s Act of Feb. 26, 1885, 23 Stat. 332; Act of Feb. 23, 1887, 24 Stat. 414.
6 Act of Oct. 19, 1888, 25 Stat. 566.
7 Act of Feb. 5, 1917, 39 Stat. 874.
8 Act of May 19, 1921, 42 Stat. 5.
SAct of May. 26, 1924, 43 Stat. 153.
10 Senate Rept. No. 1515, 81st Cong.. 2d session. 1950. p. 64.
Together with the Immigration Act of 1917, the Immigration Act of
1924 constituted the basic U.S. immigration law until 1952. Legisla-
tion passed during the period preceding the major recodification of the
law in 1952 included a series of temporary humanitarian measures
designed to admit refugees in the aftermath of World War II. The
most significant of these was the Displaced Persons Act of 1948,
significantly amended in 1950.1
In 1952, Congress enacted the Immigration and Nationality Act1-
commonly referred to as the McCarran-Walter Act, after the chairmen
of the Senate and House Judiciary immigration subcommittees,
Senator Patrick McCarran (D. Nev.) and Rep. Francis Walter
(D. Pa.). Enacted over President Truman's veto, the 1952 Act
continued both the national origins quota system, as well as numeri-
cally unrestricted Western Hemisphere immigration. While it has
been repeatedly amended, the Immigration and Nationality Act
remains our basic immigration law today.
The four-title structure of the Immigration and Nationality Act
has remained basically the same since 1952. However, the substantive
immigration provisions were significantly amended in 1975 and 1976.
The Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of 1965 13
abolished the 40-year-old national origins quota system as the pri-
mary control on U.S. immigration, replacing it with an annual ceiling
on Eastern Hemisphere immigration of 170,000 and a 20,000 per-
country limit. Within those restrictions, immigrant visas are distrib-
uted according to a seven-category preference system. The 1965
amendments also provided a ceiling on Western Hemisphere immigra-
tion for the first time in our history, limiting total immigration from
other countries in this hemisphere to 120,000 a year.
The Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of 1976,"
enacted by the 94th Congress, extended to the Western Hemisphere
the preference system with minor modifications, and the 20,000 per-
country limit previously in effect only in the Eastern Hemisphere.
The House Judiciary Committee report on the bill enacted as Public
law 94-571 quoted Chairman Joshua Eilberg of the House Judiciary
Committee on Immigration, Citizenship, and International Law, as
It should be remembered that, with the abolition of the national quota system
in 1965, Congress endorsed the principles of equity and family reunification as the
basis of our immigration policy for the Eastern Hemisphere. It remains the un-
finished business, therefore, of this subcommittee and the Congress to extend these
principles to the natives of the Western Hemisphere.'1
The elimination of the inequities in the regulation of immigration
from the two hemispheres was the basic purpose of the 1976 amend-
ments. As floor manager of the bill during its consideration by the
House, Representative Joshua Eilberg reiterated its major objectives
in his statement that it would "provide uniform treatment for all
intending immigrants, and it is a major step forward in advancing the
primary objective of our immigration law-the reunification of
'1 Act of June 25, 1948, 62 Stat. 1009; Act of June 16, 1950, 64 Stat. 219.
12 Act of June 27, 1952, Public Law 82-414, 66 Stat. 163, 8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.
18 Act of Oct. 3, 1965, Public Law 89-236, 79 Stat. 911.
14 Act of Oct. 20, 1976, Public Law 94-571, 90 Stat. 2703.
15 U.S. Congress. House. Committee on the Judiciary. Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments
of 1976; Report to Accompany H.R. 14535. Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1976. (94th
Congress, 2d Session. House. Report No. 94-1553) pp. 4-5. (Henceforth cited as H. Rept. No. 94-1553 (1976).)
18 Congressional Record [daily ed.], Sept. 29, 1976: H11683.
B. Application of the 20,000 per-country limit to Mexico
The only provision of any real controversy in the Immigration and
Nationality Act Amendments of 1976 was the extension of the 20,000
per-country limit to Mexico. As noted above, prior to this Act, which
went into effect January 1, 1977, immigration from all independent
countries in the Western Hemisphere had been numerically limited
only by the overall ceiling of 120,000 immigrant visas exclusive of
immediate relatives, with no per-country limitations. Mexican immi-
gration under the Western Hemisphere ceiling has exceeded 20,000
every year since the ceiling went into effect on July 1, 1968 (Table 12).
TABLE 12.-MEXICAN IMMIGRATION, FISCAL YEARS 1966-75
Hemisphere Hemisphere Numerically
Total ceiling ceiling exempt
1966 ----- -------------------- 45,163 NA NA NA
1967 .----------- 42,371 NA NA NA
196 ------------- 43,563 NA NA NA
1969 .------ ------------------ 44,623 31,933 18 12,672
1970 ---------------------------------- 44,469 27,044 20 17,405
1971 ..---------------. ---------------- -- 50,103 31,695 15 18,393
1972 .. ------------- --------------------- 64,040 41,694 13 22,333
1973 .....--. ----------------. 70, 141 43,510 71 26,560
1974 -- ---------------------- 71,586 45,156 91 26,339
1975 --._--- --------------------------- 62,205 41,894 83 20,228
NA signifies not applicable.
Source: U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, annual report, fiscal years 1966-75.
Because of this high demand, there has been support in the past for
a higher per-country allocation for the contiguous countries. In fact,
this would have affected only Mexico; Canadian immigration under
the Western Hemisphere ceiling has never even approached 20,000.
However, as the House Judiciary Committee states, "During the 94th
Congress, a general consensus has been reached that the 20,000 per-
country limit should be extended to all countries of the world, including
those geographically contiguous to the United States." 17 Included in
this consensus was the Administration, which in previous Congresses
had backed a 35,000 allocation for the two contiguous countries. In
the 94th Congress, however, the Administration bill (H.R. 10323)
included a 20,000 per-country limit for all Western Hemisphere coun-
tries, an approach defended as follows in a joint statement by the
Departments of Justice and State:
Based on a review of existing data, a uniform ceiling for each country . .
would be preferable. This would permit an equitable distribution of immigration
from throughout the hemisphere and from throughout the world. Problems with
illegal immigration will exist whether immigration from Mexico is limited to 20,000
or 35,000 per year or not at all. While permitting 35,000 immigrants a year from
Mexico would ease their demand slightly, this would only increase the waiting
lists and the demand throughout the rest of the hemisphere.18
However, this position was reversed by President Gerald Ford in
his statement on signing the Immigration and Nationality Act Amend-
ments of 1976 into law. At that time he voiced concern "about one
17 H. Rept. No. 94-1553 (1976), p. 8.
8' Western Hemisphere Immigration hearings, 1976, pp. 362-363; quoted in H. Rept. No. 94-1553 97(16),
aspect of the legislation which has the effect of reducing the legal
immigration into this country from Mexico." Quoting further:
The United States has a very special and historic relationship with our neigh-
bor to the south. In view of this special status we have with the Mexican Govern-
ment and the Mexican people, I will submit legislation to the Congress in January
to increase the immigration quotas for Mexicans desiring to come to the United
In support of its decision to limit all countries to 20,000, the House
Judiciary Committee has argued, "The proposed legislation rejects
the concept of a 'special relationship' between this country and certain
other countries as a basis for our immigration law, in favor of a uniform
treatment of all countries." 20
In contrast to President Ford, the Domestic Council Committee on
Illegal Aliens, which had been established by him, supported the
extension of the 20,000 per-country limit to the countries of the
Western Hemisphere without reference to special treatment for
Mexico. They recommended executive branch support for "applica-
tion of the preference system and foreign state limitations to Western
Hemisphere immigration in a manner similar to that regulating
Eastern Hemisphere immigration," and in a footnote indicated that
Public Law 94-571, signed after the Committee's report was written
and approved, contained these provisions.21
The factors involved in the illegal alien problem as it relates to
Mexcio are so complex that it is impossible to predict the probable
impact on it of the application of the 20,000 per-country limit to
Mexico. On the one hand, assuming the pressure to come to the
United States from Mexico continues at its present level, the reduction
of the opportunity for legal immigration would, almost by definition,
appear likely to increase the pressure for illegal immigration. Thus,
it was reported that an INS spokesman "said that the pressures
caused by the reduced quota for Mexico would probably produce
an increase in the number of Mexicans seeking to enter the United
States illegally." 22
On the other hand, the number of legal immigrants affected by the
new legislation is comparatively small in the context of the illegal
alien problem. The number of Mexican illegal aliens apprehended in
fiscal year 1975 was more than 10 times the total number entering
legally as immigrants, including numerically exempt immediate rela-
tives. As the State and Justice Departments noted in support of the
uniform application of the 20,000 per-country limit, in their joint
statement quoted above, "problems with illegal immigration will
exist whether immigration from Mexico is limited to 20,000 or 35,000
per year or not at all." 21
C. Western Hemisphere ceiling
The imposition of the numerical ceiling on Western Hemisphere
immigration, resulting from the 1965 amendments to the Immigra-
tion and Nationality Act, is generally agreed to be one of the factors
behind the current illegal alien problem, although there is disagree-
u Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Oct. 25, 1976, p. 1548.
SII. Rept. no. 94-1553, p. 9.
i2 Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens report (December 1976), p. 241.
2 "Ford signs revision in immigration law," New York Times, Oct. 24, 1976, p. 26.
s See quote accompanying footnote 18 on p. 41.
ment about the extent of its impact. Because of its relevance to the
illegal alien issue, the historical development of the regulation of
Western Hemisphere immigration is considered below in more detail.
Natives of other countries in the Western Hemisphere were omitted
from the quota restrictions imposed on the Eastern Hemisphere in
1921 and 1924, according to Marion T. Bennett, for three main
(1) Some of these countries had few or no nationals in the
United States upon whom a national origin quota could be based
and under the quota system they would have been totally ex-
cluded in the future.
(2) The borders between this country and Canada and Mexico
were considered too extensive to patrol against illegal entries
(3) The desirability of continued favored treatment to sister
nations of the Western Hemisphere. 24
The issue of a numerical limitation on Western Hemisphere countries
in general and Mexico in particular arose again in the mid-1920s and
was the subject of a four-year debate described by Robert A. Divine
as generating "a great deal of heat but very little light." Quoting
When the committee hearings closed in 1930, very little had been achieved.
The voluminous printed record, filling over 2,000 pages, revealed the wide disagree-
ment between the opposing sides but contained little that would help legislators to
form judicious conclusions on the question of Mexican immigration . Most
evident were the petty and narrow motives, which inspired the antagonists. The
supporters of restriction, posing as defenders of the American laborer and protec-
tors of American society, seemed to be moved primarily by racial prejudice.
Their opponents, ostensibly acting to prevent a serious dislocation in the nation's
economy, appeared to be motivated by economic self-interest.25
Those attempting to restrict immigration were unsuccessful, due
primarily to the strong opposition of the State Department, led by
Secretary of State Kellogg, to a ceiling on Mexican immigration be-
cause of foreign policy considerations. Quoting again,
The vital factor in defeating the restrictionist cause was the opposition of the
State Department. Appealing to the traditional ideal of Pan-Americanism, a
principle which was to develop into the Good Neighbor policy in the next few
years, the officials of the State Department presented a powerful case against
Western Hemisphere restriction. . Thus it was that considerations of foreign
policy, based on a long-standing idea, prevailed over the previously dominant
ideas of race and nationalism to halt the restrictionist surge.26
Proponents of numerical restrictions had argued that immigration
was a domestic issue, to be determined by internal rather than inter-
national considerations. They also argued that every country objected
to external bars to the emigration of its citizens, and hence it was
foolish to consider other countries' views in determining immigration
The inclusion of a Western Hemisphere numerical restriction in the
1965 amendments appears to have resulted from a growing concern
L2 Marion T. Bennett, American Immigration Policies: A History. Washington, D.C.,
Public Affairs Press, 1963, p. 61.
SRobert A. Divine, American Immigration Policy, 1924-1952. New Haven, Yale Univer-
sity Press, 1957. p. 61.
26 Ibid., p. 67.
2 Ibid., p. 64.
that immigration would increase significantly as a result of population
pressure in Latin America, combined with political considerations
relating to passage of the 1965 amendments as a whole. The political
situation at the time is described as follows in a recent House Judiciary
To a considerable extent, passage of the provision for a ceiling on Western
Hemisphere immigration came about because a sufficient number of those op-
posed to it agreed to accept it as the price that had to be paid in order to insure
passage of legislation abolishing the national origins quota system which dated
ack to the 1920's. This latter goal was the primary purpose of the 1965 legislation
since its inception, and this emphasis accounts in large part for the very limited
consideration given to the actual implementation of the Western Hemisphere
ceiling during the 1965 debate.28
However, the final inclusion of the ceiling in the enacted bill was not
simply a quid pro quo in exchange for abolishment of the national
origins quota system. The debate for and against the ceiling turned
basically on the issue of how many more immigrants would be entering
this country, on the one hand, versus foreign policy considerations on
the other. There is considerable evidence that the majority in the
Congress, as well as the American public, were in favor of restricting
rather than liberalizing immigration, and felt that a ceiling on Western
Hemisphere immigration was thus necessary. A Harris poll, cited in
the Washington Post on May 31, 1965, indicated that people were
against allowing more people in the United States by a margin of 2
The argument in favor of a quota on Western Hemisphere immigra-
tion given the most weight was population pressure. It was noted in
the "Additional Views" appended to the House Judiciary Committee
The most compelling reason for placing a numerical ceiling upon the Western
Hemisphere relates to the worldwide population explosion and the possibility
of a sharp increase in immigration from Western Hemisphere countries. Testi-
mony before the Judiciary Committee identified Latin America as the area of
greatest future population growth.30
In opposition, the Johnson Administration was strongly opposed to
the imposition of a ceiling on Western Hemisphere immigration on
foreign policy grounds. The argument that such a ceiling would, in
the words of Representative Emanuel Celler, "muddy the waters of
foreign affairs," 31 combined with support for the Administration in
its judgment on the conduct of foreign policy, formed the basis of
the case against a numerical ceiling on Western Hemisphere
As enacted, the 1965 amendments provided for a ceiling of 120,000
on Western Hemisphere immigration to go into effect July 1, 1968
"unless legislation inconsistent herewith" was enacted. At the same
time, the 1965 Act created a Select Commission on Western Hem-
isphere Immigration which was instructed to recommend "whether,
and if so how, numerical limitations should be imposed upon immi-
gration to the United States from the nations of the Western Hem-
isphere." The Select Commission had strong reservations about the
ceiling, and recommended that the effective date be postponed for a
2a H. Rept. No. 94-1553 (1976), p. 2.
20 Immigration, Hearings before the Subcommittee on Immigration and Naturalization of the Committee
on the Judiciary, Senate, 89th Cong., 1st Sess., 1965, Part 2, pp. 666-667.
30 House Report No. 745, 89th Congress (1965), p. 48.
31 Congressional Record [daily ed.], Aug. 25, p. 20955.
year in order to permit further study.32 This recommendation was not
acted on, and the ceiling went into effect on July 1, 1968.
Events during the intervening years have tended to support the
arguments of those who favored the Western Hemisphere ceiling.
Quoting again from the 94th Congress House Judiciary Committee
Since the establishment of the Western Hemisphere immigration ceiling, there
has been no concerted attempt or public pressure to abolish it. In this regard,
the Committee notes the recommendation made in 1972 by the President's
Commission on Population Growth and the American Future, that "immigration
levels not be increased." It is apparent from the estimated current Western Hem-
isphere backlog of approximately 300,000 active cases that immigration would
have risen above the current level without the ceiling.33
The Committee went on to note that, "Attention is more appro-
priately focused on two aspects of the immigration law which received
little discussion during the 1965 debate: the absence of a preference
system and per-country limit for the Western Hemisphere." As
discussed above, the extension of these two provisions to the Western
Hemisphere was the primary purpose of the Immigration and Na-
tionality Act Amendments of 1976.
D. Restrictions on alien workers
Another aspect of immigration law of particular importance to the
illegal alien issue is the parallel development of provisions safeguard-
ing U.S. labor, together with sometimes complementary, sometimes
contradictory provisions aimed at supplying U.S. employers with
needed alien workers.
During the 19th century, successive waves of immigrants came to
America, fleeing political unrest and economic disaster in their own
countries, and seeking a better life here. The Germans in the 1840s,
the Irish in the 1850s, the British, French, Swedes, and Norwegians,
and after them the Eastern Europeans, the Chinese and the Italians,
came to this country by the hundreds of thousands. They supplied
the country with its labor force at a time when there were unlimited
job opportunities and, particularly, an inexhaustible need for un-
However, beginning in the 1860s, charges were made that alien
laborers were being brought here by employers in excessive numbers
and under false pretenses for the express purpose of keeping down
wages. A dominant theme throughout the essentially one-hundred
year development of restrictions on U.S. immigration, beginning in
the 1870s, has been the need to protect American labor against
adverse competition from alien workers. The discriminatory Chinese
Exclusion Act was motivated in part by a desire to protect U.S.
labor. The first laws aimed solely and specifically at protecting U.S.
workers were the contract labor laws of 1885 and 1887, which pro-
hibited the importation under contracts of foreign labor; and, under
an 1888 amendment, permitted the deportation within one year of
contract laborers who entered in violation of the law.
82 U.S. Select Commission on Western Hemisphere Immigration, Report, January 1968, p. 9.
33 H. Rept. No. 94-1553 (1976), p. 3.
As explained in a Senate report, the alien contract labor law:
. was aimed at the practice of certain employers importing cheap labor from
abroad. This importation practice began in 1869. Advertisements were printed
offering inducements to immigrants to proceed to this country, particularly to
the coal fields, for employment. Many advertisements asserted that several
hundred men were needed in places where there were actually no vacancies. The
object was to oversupply the demand for labor so that the domestic laborers would
be forced to work at reduced wages.
These abuses came to the attention of Congress about 1884. The House Com-
mittee on Labor found that the evils complained of by labor organizations existed
to an alarming extent.35
The alien contract labor law made it unlawful to import or assist
in the importation or migration of aliens under previously agreed upon
contracts for the performance of labor or service of any kind in the
United States. However, there were some significant exemptions.
Foreigners temporarily residing in the United States, skilled workmen
for any new industry not yet established in the United States, and
artists, lecturers, and servants were not covered by the laws.
In particular, the exemption from the contract labor law of workers
temporarily residing in the United States was a precedent for subse-
quent special measures for the admission of temporary alien workers,
most notably the Mexican "Bracero" contract labor program, dis-
cussed in the following section. Provisions corresponding to those of the
alien contract labor laws were included in the recodification of immi-
gration law in the Immigration Act of 1917. However, as one commen-
The act revealed, even at this early date, the power of agricultural interests
vis-a-vis organized labor. The statute, though highly restrictive, contained a loop-
hole in the area of labor importation. Under the terms of the ninth proviso to
Section 3 of the act, the commissioner general of immigration was authorized to
admit for temporary employment various classes of workers, among them agri-
Since the enactment of the contract labor law in 1885, the per-
manent immigration law has always included provisionsex plicitly
intended to protect U.S. labor from adverse competition from aliens.
The present-day equivalent of the contract labor laws is the labor
certification provision, which provides that aliens seeking permanent
admission (i.e., as immigrants) for the purpose of performing skilled
or unskilled labor may not enter unless the Secretary of Labor certifies
that there is a shortage of willing and available, similarly qualified
U.S. workers, and that the entry of the alien workers will not adversely
affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers who are
Additionally, under one of the nonimmigrant categories set forth
in the Immigration and Nationality Act, temporary alien workers are
admissible to perform service or labor of a temporary nature, "if
unemployed persons capable of performing such services cannot be
found in this country." 38 The law requires that the H-2 provision, as
it is commonly referred to, be administered by the Attorney General
in consultation with the appropriate agencies of Government, ad-
ministratively interpreted to be the Department of Labor.39
"S Rnate Report No. 1515, 81st Cong., 2d Sess., 1950, p. 50.
Ms Richard B. Craig. The Bracero Program; Interest Groups and Foreign Policy. Austin, University of
Texas Press, 1971, p. 7.
37 Immigration and Nationality Act, sec. 212(a)(14); 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(14).
38 INA, sec. 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)-hence the reference to "H-2" workers; 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii).
" INA, sec. 214(c); 8 U.S.C. 1184(c). See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(3) (INS, Department of Justice), and 20 CFR
602.10, 621 (Employment and Training Administration, Department of Labor).
Both the labor certification requirement for immigrants, and the
H-2 temporary worker provision have been criticised as being in-
adequately responsive to employers' needs, at least as presently ad-
ministered. The labor certification provision has also been widely
criticized as being ineffective as a protection of U.S. labor. The U.S.
Department of Labor and the House Judiciary Committee have been
in agreement that, in the words of Judiciary Committee Chairman
Peter W. Rodino, Jr., "further modification of the labor certification
program is unquestionably required." 40 Nonetheless, the protection
of U.S. labor is the major objective of the labor certification provision,
and the fact that organized labor has not been among its critics would
appear to indicate at least a partial degree of success.
Provisions designed to protect U.S. labor have been accompanied
over the years by a second series of provisions, either as part of the
permanent law or on a temporary basis, allowing for, or not effectively
prohibiting, admission of various categories of alien workers sought
by U.S. employers, with little regard to their impact on U.S. labor.
Two examples, spanning the history of immigration restrictions,
have already been noted: the exemptions for certain workers under
the contract labor laws, and the proviso in current law exempting
employers of illegal aliens from the felony penalties attached to the
harboring of illegal aliens (see above). The resulting conflict between
efforts to protect U.S. labor and efforts to supply U.S. employers with
needed workers has been a recurrent source of controversy in im-
migration policy over the past hundred years, of which the current
illegal alien policy debate is the most recent example. This conflict is
exemplified by the history of immigration from Mexico to the United
States, which is discussed in detail in the following section because of
its fundamental importance to the illegal alien problem.
HISTORICAL ANALYSIS OF MEXICAN IMMIGRATION TO THE UNITED STATES
As noted earlier, it appears from the limited data available that
Mexican illegal immigration differs in some significant respects from
illegal immigration from other countries. Certainly among the more
important of these differences is the existence of a long history of
legal and illegal work-related migration from Mexico to the United
Many of the pressures underlying this Mexican-U.S. migration
are common to the immigration, either legal or illegal, from other
countries. Quoting U.S. Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall:
The main factors causing workers to move between countries, in the United
States and other countries, have been associated with relative international
disparities in economic conditions and job opportunities. This is especially true
of the movement into the United States from Mexico.41
However, primarily because of the factor of geographical proximity,
the patterns of Mexican migration to this country are unique. These
patterns continue into the present, and are of particular importance
o4 Hon. Peter W. Rodino, Jr. "The Impact of Immigration on the American Lator Market," Rutgers
Law Review, v. 27, Winter 1974, p. 248. See also H. Rept. No. 94-1553, pp. 10-11.
"M marshall (1976), p. 53.
because, in the words of the Domestic Council Committee on Illegal
Aliens, "Although Mexico is not the sole source of illegal entrants, it
is the major source." 42 The following is a brief analysis of the histori-
cal development of Mexican immigration to the United States, with
emphasis on the apparent interrelation between legal and illegal
It is increasingly argued that the laws and administrative practices
regulating Mexican immigration have differed significantly from those
applying to other countries, and make up a coherent pattern of their
own. Gilberto Cardenas has suggested that:
Since . , the Department of Labor, the Department of Agriculture
and the State Department, operating under various mandates and in conjunction
with organized American interest groups, have invoked departmental policies
and practices that have effectuated specific migration patterns of Mexican
nationals and Mexican labor on both sides of the border. These migration patterns
have taken various forms-be they legal immigration, bracero, commuter or
illegal-and are sufficiently interrelated to be considered as part of an overall
United States immigration policy toward Mexico.43
The current illegal alien problem, insofar as it concerns Mexico,
is viewed by some observers as another phase in this pattern.
It is argued that the underlying rationale governing our immigration
policy toward Mexico is the ebb and flow of the U.S. need for Mexican
labor. The pattern has been a cyclical one, in which periods of a high
demand for Mexican workers have been followed-coincidentally, at
20 year intervals-by periods when Mexican workers are more or less
officially viewed as a threat to American labor generally because of
disturbances in the U.S. economy. According to this argument, the
"illegal alien problem" of the 1970s is the result less of a sudden upsurge
in the number of illegals, but of a downturn in U.S. economic
A similar observation was made in general terms, without specific
reference to Mexico, by the Domestic Council Committee on Illegal
Aliens: "illegal migration in times of prosperity tends to be viewed as
a handmaiden of economic growth but it becomes transformed into a
threat in times of economic downturn." 44 North and Houstoun spell
out the implications of this interpretation, again in general terms, as
Increasingly adverse public opinion should not, however be simply attributed
to increasing adverse effect's of this underground and therefore obviously unknown
phenomenon. The public outcry against illegal aliens too closely resembles the
1930s, when similar ascriptions of their adverse economic role, under all too
similar conditions, led to the "repatriation" of tens of thousands of Mexicans,
with little regard for their real legal status, or their legal relatives. Public concern
with the economic adversities brought about by illegals today likewise coincides
with a time of scarcity, both real and perceived, when the interests of all groups
With specific reference to Mexico, far from blaming the illegal aliens
for the present problem, Cardenas assigns much of the responsibility
for illegal immigration to the past practices of the United States:
Mexican aliens in the United States have entered at the behest and
through the active solicitation and encouragement of many of the same economic
41 Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens report (Dec. 1976), p. 63.
43 Gilberto Cardenas, "United States Immigration Policy toward Mexico: an Historical
Perspective," Chicano Law Review, UCLA, Vol. 2, Summer 1975, p. 66. (Henceforth cited
as Cardenas (1975).)
44 Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens report (Dec. 1976), p. 2.
45 North/Houstoun study (March 1976), p. 29.
interests that today proselytize for their expulsion and exclusion through the
rigorous application or change in immigration laws. For example, serving as open
invitations to Mexican migration have been bracero type programs throughout
this century, allowing commuter status, and utilization of illegals. In these forms
Mexican aliens have been told that their labor is welcomed in the United States,
and they have responded accordingly.
The "illegal alien" problem is therefore one whose seed has been planted time
and again by the United States when it has been in need of Mexican labor. When
expediency better serves, however, immigration laws have been administered and
changed in response to a problem perceived as having been created by illegal aliens,
when in fact it is largely of the United States' own making.46
Without question, the statistical pattern of Mexican entries to this
country is unique, in terms of the heavy dominance of temporary
workers and illegals. According to North and Houstoun, "Almost ten
times as many Mexican nonimmigrant workers and apprehended
illegals were reported to have crossed its 1,945-mile land border, as
compared to the number of Mexican immigrants between the years
Julian Samora describes the problem in more detail:
The number of illegal Mexicans reportedly located is particularly significant
when compared to legal Mexican immigration. In the last 100 years, no more than
1,525,928 Mexicans were admitted into the United States as legal immigrants. In
the twenty-six year period from 1942 to 1968, 5,050,093 Mexican nationals were
imported into the United States as temporary contract laborers braceross). Yet,
in the forty-five year period from 1924 to 1969, 5,628,712 illegal Mexican aliens
were reportedly located (apprehended) by the United States Immigration and
Samora interprets these statistics as reflecting "the evolution of an
immigration policy that may best be understood as an extensive farm
labor program," and continues "This policy stands out as a legitimized
and profitable means of acquiring needed labor without incurring the
price that characterized the immigration, utilization, and the eventual
settlement of European and Oriental immigrants." "
A related interpretation of the causes underlying the early develop-
ment of the apparently symbiotic relationship between Mexican
workers and certain U.S. employers is presented, in terms more favor-
able to the U.S., by North and Houstoun in their recent Labor De-
partment-financed study, as follows:
In brief, given the developing labor-intensive economy in the north and the
pool of unskilled labor in the south, a historic precedent of northbound migration,
the Spanish-speaking culture which bridged the border, and the political insignifi-
cance (for so many years) of the border itself, workers moved easily from their
homes in Mexico to jobs in the States, as those jobs came into being.50
Mexican immigration to the U.S. during the period 1870-1970 is
charted and summarized in Figure 1, reproduced from Samora's
The Wetback Story. A brief review of the development of special
U.S. legislative and administrative measures relating to the regu-
lation of Mexican immigration follows.
Cardenas (1975), pp. 88-89.
47 North/Houstoun study (March 1976), p. 9.,
8 Samora (1971), p. 57.
50 North/Houstoun study (March 1976), p. 11.
Mexican Immigration to the United States
o c c ie !- di,;an im m n g -a no n I nc e c d a l ig 3 p c a > In t3 I n l s d -
hem l.shere parta, I.c ay 1orn Melo, a. rd She n ,ernal dr. alpments and Change
1930-1939 EIndl "i ebtl* y Deo csin Meicanor rairtelln id Mexcucan rmm rp o
1he a mortal o ana ulmalaon a ueian aelln e lborta s a nd ad lert t 10a
1940-19097 Worlnud nWar om Te dmed lous inc l easletn d i.dn thc [O lh l Sand [ f _
thl.aa,.e aee a a Iar n an ul'mpo ahl a ol n la lh e Iabor l due II Xh
1. n S Aaeanhal pa'' Jtaln. IM e o a a a dlhal ta'l increaa' n a he a oluma oa .I
MeItaan Immigr a' on
ll10a9l M IncJen a.asId ureonedlMlr n oa i lbos a 1924-plI' ent 5lal 630a l
S source: Julian Samora, "Los Mojados: The Wetback Story" (Notre Dame, University
of Notre Dame, 1971), app. II, pp. 195-1t l6. a
Reprinted from North/Houstoun study, p. 10.
immigration policy undr n adm istrative Departmentl Im Ord
approval of the Secretary of Labor.a a This order waived the head tax,
aJtn ',aan;es to aerr ase ll'ea' Melalan ahelan intreale and aarlage 10 900 ij
.9.... .. Wa'.....a ... Ta.h aa..a.eaae ...'h d dl.a'aIba- a 11I .. .. j O9
contract labor laws, and literac requirements for Mexican laborers, P
lleunder al Mauthority of the ninth proviso to Section 3 of the Immigra-
-199n At of 1917.6 D.L The Departmental Order was a wartime measure
as was, approximately 25 years l after, the Bracero program. Both
1911sageshey had r been c e d toI m .
1952-191,a V.a.. 1e'a10l... h a '.............. .. . ... 6 0
mla'auI ,Vr'raaae ar'mallcaal' Ilagar M aL'ynaaanalltla ta gh alI 101.,
1a D epartmental Oder N Opetal 52461 2 Ie igraion Serial Bulletin, 1r918, Vob
IhNo. 3, pp. 14. (See ardenas (1975), p. 68)
Meaa Act of aleb 5, 1917, 38t9 Saa ltaact. 878. .
'nfrleaag bw 9 9a, ral:on iaa 'au*iLaw i 8O h36 poaaed,n 1lah. eel--c
SUMMA-R 0: MEXI:CAN MIGRTORY MOVEMENTS TO U.S.
Mea'n ilammg'aan 'I I a136a9d ,lsn O i 540.0 .
Tlempuaalaaonlr'a l Illabor om ac a o aaoa c 1942-p 'ae- l 5050.000
lleaall e..aIIIn abIaaaarolela loat1a- 00410. 0 1924-0p-e.n 5.630.o 0 I.
Table does nludl nonrta Illl ll l aIlet alanLludna 1
TaeL h 11m-l', Shuda lt M-al1a- Ame,c'a ,. walhoelmteab al Ih- pPblhel .
'a'lnlC G'BeaCadhee$ ar'at a Carme amore.
'7t~ I, A >
Source: Julian Samora, "Los Mojados: The Wetback Story" (Notre Dame, University
of Notre Dame, 1971), app. II, pp. 195-196.
Reprinted from North/Houstoun study, p. 10.
Mexicans were first made an exception to the general rule of U.S.
immigration policy under an administrative Departmental Order
of 1918 issued by the Commissioner General of Immigration, with
approval of the Secretary of Labor.,' This order waived the head tax,
contract labor laws, and literacy requirements for Mexican laborers,
under the authority of the ninth proviso to Section 3 of the Immigra-
tion Act of 1917.52 The Departmental Order was a wartime measure
as was, approximately 25 years later, the Bracero program. Both
continued in effect well after the end of the immediate manpower
shortages they had been created to meet.
1 Departmental Order No. 52461/202 U.S. Immigration Serial Bulletin, 1918, VoL I,
No. 3, pp. 1-4. (See Cardenas (1975), p. 68)
5 Act of Feb. 5, 1917, 39 Stat. 878.
In 1929, in action apparently inspired more by a desire to head off
restrictionist efforts to place a statutory ceiling on Mexican immigra-
tion than by an awareness of the impending economic depression,
administrative control of the Mexican border was significantly
tightened. As noted earlier, the State Department believed that such
a ceiling would have a harmful effect on our relations with Mexico.
During the lengthy debate on the subject at the end of the 1920s,
the State Department combined an appeal to Pan-Americanism with
more stringent enforcement of the provisions of existing immigration
law in a successful attempt to decrease immigration levels in the
opening years of the depression. According to a State Department
press release in June 1930,
. .proper enforcement of existing immigration laws can and will be maintained
in the future, in Mexico as in other countries, so as to prevent effectively the
recurrence of conditions existing a few years ago, when the recorded admissions
of Mexican laborers were very high.53
The public view of alien workers in the early 1930s, during the
opening years of the Great Depression, is described by one com-
mentator as follows: "In the manner of a crusade, the idea was
promulgated that aliens were holding down high-paying jobs and
that by giving those jobs to Americans, the depression could be
cured." 4 The Los Angeles Times quoted the Los Angeles County
Supervisor as saying, "If we were rid of the aliens who have entered
this country illegally since 1931. . our present unemployment
would probably shrink to the proportions of a relatively flat spot in
During the 1930s, Mexican out-migration far exceeded immigra-
tion-more than 89,000 legally admitted Mexicans left the United
States, compared to 27,900 who immigrated on a permanent visa.5
The factors involved were many, including both the dismal employ-
ment prospects here, and wide-scale "repatriation." According to one
author, "the outstanding feature of this troubled era, in the Southwest
as well as elsewhere, was the repatriation of numerous people of
Mexican descent-of legal and illegal immigrants, temporary workers
and permanent residents, U.S. citizens and aliens." 17 Of those leaving,
some were deported illegal aliens, and others were legally admitted
Mexicans returning voluntarily or involuntarily, some with the
assistance of the Mexican government. The withholding of U.S.
welfare payments to which the "Mexicans" were legally entitled was
among the means used to induce them to leave. The Mexican born
population in this country declined from 639,000 in 1930 to 377,000
B. Bracero program
In 1942, in response to the U.S. manpower shortage arising from
World War II, the United States and Mexico negotiated a treaty
permitting the entry of Mexican farm workers on a temporary basis
53 U.S. Department of State, Press Releases, June 14, 1930, Vol. 2, pp. 304-503. (See
Divine (1967), p. 63.)
54 Vilma S. Martinez, "Illegal Immigration and the Labor Force: An Historical and Legal
View," American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 19, Jan./Feb. 1976, p. 340.
55 Quoted ibid.
56 Leo Grebler, Mexican Immigration to the United States: the Record and its Implica-
tions. Mexican-American Study Project. Advance Report 2, Dec. 1965, p. 28.
57 Ibid., p. 25.
58 Ibid., p. 29.
under contract to U.S. employers. This emergency wartime measure
was the beginning of the Bracero program, which continued under
various legal authorizations for 22 years and involved approximately
4.8 million Mexican workers.59
The program operated on the basis of international treaty until
1951. On July 12, 1951, Congress enacted Public Law 78 (65 Stat. 119)
authorizing the importation of temporary Mexican agricultural
workers under the Agricultural Act of 1949, as amended. This au-
thorization originally had an expiration date of Dec. 31, 1951. It was
extended by successive amendments until Dec. 31, 1964, when it was
allowed to expire.
The Bracero program's lengthy history is both complex and contro-
versial. One of the more intriguing controversies is whether it was a
cause or a cure of the illegal alien problem of the time. It appears to
have been both. Without question, both its existence and its termina-
tion are causes of the current illegal alien problem.
The Bracero program is credited with "the dramatic reduction, if
not the total elimination, of the Wetback traffic" by Ernesto Galarza
in his otherwise highly critical examination of the program:
Between 1920 and 1954 commercial agriculture in the border states, operating
by its own admission above the law and beneath morals, had organized a freely
flowing labor market that brought together rich lands and poor men. It was an
arrangement that did not commend itself to many. Its beneficiaries were a small
group of employers in a comparatively narrow belt of borderlands whose easy
access to illegals gave them an advantage over their northern competitors. The
incidents of the Wetback way of life made the governments of two great republics
blush, the Mexican with indignation, the American with shame. The traffic was
suppressed only when it became possible to assure farm employers, substantially
on their terms, that they could have as many contract laborers as they might
Average annual apprehensions of illegal aliens were less than 80,000
during the ten-year period, 1956-1965, following Operation Wetback,
the full-scale roundup of Mexican illegal aliens led by the Border
Patrol in 1954-1955 (see Table 1). Commenting on the success of the
INS Operation Wetback in dealing with the illegal alien problem in
the mid-1950s, Galarza indicates that a key factor was
. .the change in attitude of farm employers, hundreds of whom had come to
accept the legal braceros as a practical and safe alternative [to Wetbacks] and had
joined associations to procure them. By the time the operation was launched the
bracero system had shown its economic and political feasibility.61
On the other hand, Julian Samora, among others, argues that the
Bracero program actually stimulated illegal migration to the United
States, in part because more Mexicans wished to come than were
legally permitted, and partly because it was often easier to enter
illegally than legally.62 Samora notes that during the 22-year life of
the Bracero program, over 5 million wetbacks were apprehended, a
figure exceeding the 4.8 million braceros contracted.63
59 Samora (1971), p. 19.
60 Ernest Galarza, Merchants of Labor. McNally and Loftin, 1964, p. 255. (Henceforth
cited as Galarza (1964).)
61 Ibid., p. 70.
62 Samora (1971), pp. 44-45.
63 Ibid., p. 19.
Regardmg other aspects of the Bracero program, the 1951 Presi-
dent's Commission on Migratory Labor was among the many critics
of what it saw to be the program's adverse impact on U.S. farm labor:
It is our conclusion that the evidence demonstrates that the agencies of Govern-
ment responsible for importing and contracting foreign labor have not been
successful in protecting domestic farm labor from detrimental effects of imported
contract alien labor. We find alien labor has depressed farm wages and, therefore,
has been detrimental to domestic labor.64
Considering the program in the context of national immigration
policy, the Commission was equally critical:
Thus, temporary foreign laborers passing in and out of this country with little
restriction have come to substitute for a supply subject to stringent numerical
restrictions, thereby furnishing the very competition to American labor that it is
the purpose of the immigration law to prevent.
This undermining of national policy stands out more clearly in that it has been
the negotiators for foreign governments, notably of Mexico, rather than our own
representatives, who have secured reasonable limitation of numbers and some
protection to labor standards. While their motive is primarily to protect the stand-
ards of their own nationals working in the United States, the effect of their con-
cern, fortunately, is also to help sustain the tenets of American policy. The con-
trast in this curious difference of attitudes is heightened by the fact that through
the negotiations of their governments, foreign laborers have actually achieved,
in most instances, better living and working conditions than domestic workers
whose protection is a main concern of American immigration law."
It will be noted that the responsible U.S. administrative agencies,
rather than U.S. employers or the braceros themselves, are the pri-
mary objects of the Commission's criticism. Thus, the passage quoted
above is preceded by the following:
official vigilance for the protection of living and working standards of alien
farm laborers was largely abandoned in the postwar phase. Responsible United
States administrative agencies practically ceased to exert effective effort to pre-
serve the requirements of national immigration policy. The same ineffectiveness or
laxity that undermined protective standards in the contract spread also to the
official scrutiny of the number of foreign laborers that employers claimed they
Similar observations are carefully documented by Galarza, who im-
plicitly-and sometimes explicitly-charges collusion between the
U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. employers involved in agribusi-
ness in the administration of the Bracero program.
Apprehensions of illegal aliens began mounting steadily with the
termination of the Bracero program in mid-sixties.Quoting from the
INS 1970 Annual Report,
Since expiration of the Mexican Agriculture Act on December 31, 1964, the
number of deportable aliens located has continued an upward climb. For the 6-
year period, fiscal years 1965-70, 71 percent of the 1,251,466 total deportable
aliens located were of Mexican nationality. Year by year, the annual percentage
of this nationality group has risen, from 50 percent in 1965 to 80 percent this year.67
The patterns of employment which grew up during the Bracero
period, as well as the elimination of legal channels for temporary
employment provided by the program, are viewed by many as signifi-
U.S. President's Commission on Migratory Labor, Migratory Labor in American
Agriculture, Mar. 26, 1951, p. 59.
SIbid., pp. 64-65.
Ibil., p. 64.
67 U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1970 Annual Report, p. 11.
cant causal factors in the current illegal alien problem. The case is
well stated as follows:
Another significant "pull" factor is a clear result of former American policy.
Many Mexicans who were employed as braceros brought their families with them
to the border areas and relied on American employment as their sole source of
income. When the bracero program was terminated, the only work available to
the ex-bracero was illegal employment in the United States. In short, the present
influx of illegals reflects the operation of socioeconomic forces set in motion by
the United States over two decades ago.68
This analysis is borne out by research cited by the Domestic Council
Committee on Illegal Aliens:
Several studies have also pointed out that the areas [in Mexico] from which
many illegal aliens come are precisely those areas which provided the bulk of the
braceross" during the life of that program (1942-1964). One researcher [Wayne
Cornelius] has suggested that the "bracero" program in a sense never stopped, but
merely went underground.69
From the point of view of the U.S. employers who hire them, the
illegal alien has replaced the legal bracero worker. Writing in 1960,
In considering alternatives to Public Law 78 [authority for the Bracero pro-
gram], the return of the Wetback could not be ruled out. This did not seem prob-
able, especially in the light of public reaction in the middle 1950's. The indignation
of high federal officials, influential citizens, religious organizations and even farm
employers over the evils of labor bootlegging might be aroused again. But the
door was not entirely closed. When the immigration code was revised in 1952 it
was carefully provided that employers could not be prosecuted for harboring
illegals. . Senator Hayden once warned his colleagues that the demand for
laborers north of the border and their abundance south of it would be brought
together legally if possible, and outside the law if it could not be done otherwise.
Congressman Poage of Texas urged the House of Representatives in June 1960
to extend Public Law 78 on the ground that otherwise "there is going to be a
stream of wetbacks to fill all of the area close to the border." Braceros on their
terms or Wetbacks remained a feasible choice, in the opinion of many employers.70
From the point of view of the aliens themselves, the 22-year program,
in the words of the North-Houstoun report, "created patterns of
explicitly work-related movements of aliens, from South to North."
it created the braceros' expectations of higher wages than were possible
within the Mexican economy; it provided them with U.S. job contacts and job
skills; it exposed them to the Anglo demand for their labor; language and Anglo
customs-including the work habits of INS. For many rural Mexican males, the
bracero program was an eye-opener; they learned about American jobs and Ameri-
can wages; many responded to their U.S. employers' interest in bypassing the
federally regulated program during its existence; and many kept traveling north
after the program ended, despite the fact those trips were illegal ones.7
It can be argued that the bracero program reinforced rather than
created these patterns which, in fact, originated not with the labor
shortage of World War II, but of World War I. Thus, Cardenas
describes the Departmental Order of 1918 as, "in terms of the United
States immigration policy toward Mexico, . the first Bracero
8 Notes, "Commuters, Illegals and American Farmworkers: the Need for a Broader Ap-
proach to Domestic Farm Labor Problems," New York University Law Review, vol. 48,
June 1973, p. 482.
61 Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens report (Dec. 1976), p. 135.
70 Galarza (1964), pp. 251-252.
7' North/Houstoun study (March 1976), p. 12.
72 Cardenas (1975), p. 68.
C. Illegal aliens as black market guest workers
The Mexican component of the current illegal alien problem can be
viewed as an unregulated and illegal continuation of the Bracero
program, with all the evils this suggests, including the exploitation of
alien workers, and the lack of protection of domestic workers from
adverse competition. In the words of the Domestic Council Committee
on Illegal Aliens:
The forces which created and sustained the "Bracero" program continue to
persist. There continues to be an economic demand induced by some employers
in the United States for Mexican workers. That demand is being met by commuters
and illegal aliens.73
The European experience with legal guest worker programs has
been suggested as a useful model for understanding the U.S. illegal
alien problem. Professor Richard Sterling described the "United
States-Mexican international labor market" as "the largest two-
nation exchange of labor for wages in the world," noting that the
Mexican workers constitute "by far the largest alien labor pool,
legal or illegal, now present in the United States." 74 According to
Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall,
Perhaps the most important difference between the U.S. and European ex-
periences is the sheer size of the immigrant population. In absolute numbers, at
least in this century, no other country in the world has experienced the influx of
as many alien workers as has the U.S. Indeed, the number of illegal alien workers
in the United States probably exceeds the total number of legal aliens in all
Common Market countries combined.75
Marshall comments as follows on other significant differences be-
tween the European and American experience with legal and illegal
The workers who lose by the employment of immigrants are those who compete
directly with them for jobs, housing, social services, and other amenities. Euro-
pean economists seem generally to have concluded that immigration has largely
positive results for workers in the host countries, but this conclusion has to be
modified when applied to conditions in the United States. American employers
clearly gain and higher-paid workers move up faster in the short run but might
face increasing competition in the long run as competition from immigrants in-
creases. Moreover, the employment of illegal immigrant workers has a more
depressing effect on wages than the use of legal aliens whose initial employment
is ostensibly controlled in such a way as to prevent direct competition between
immigrant and native workers. There have been such regulations in the United
States but they have not been adequately enforced.76
Professor Sterling comments on the "ominous import" of the illegal-
ity that characterizes the U.S.-Mexican international labor market,
unlike that of Western Europe:
Of more ominous import is the illegality that stamps every phase of its opera-
tion, from labor recruitment practices to border crossing to employment arrange-
ments, wage levels and living conditions. The violation and debasement of law
V' Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens report (Dec. 1976), p. 71. Commuters are
legally admitted aliens who live in Mexico and Canada and commute to work in the United
States. The Domestic Council Committee reports that there were about 54,000 commuters
in Dec. 1975, of whom 45,000 were from Mexico.
74 Richard Sterling, "International Labor Markets: The United States-Mexican case in a
comparative context with special reference to post-1945 Western European experience,"
Sept. 1974, p. 1. (Unpublished "statement of research purpose and procedures.")
75 Marshall (1976), p. 62.
in this massive and peculiar economic transaction between Mexicans and Americans
unavoidably debase those involved in the exchange. With no laws to govern
them, the relationships between alien migrants and the citizens of the alien
society are ones of radical inequality, exploitation, fear, and endemic hostility.77
It does not necessarily follow from the above that a renewal of the
Bracero program or some other form of legal guest worker program is
the appropriate response to the current illegal alien problem, even if a
decrease in the current concern about domestic unemployment made
such a program politically feasible. (See below.) The nature of the
truly difficult dilemma presented by the current situation has been
well stated as follows:
In order to protect American labor from the influx of foreign workers, the
United States is only able to institute policies on one side of the border. Many
policies that would make the quota system more viable and stem the tide of illegal
entries, such as lowering the minimum wage in this country to reduce the wage
differential between the United States and Mexico, would hurt American labor.
Conversely, policies designed to protect American labor from alien competition,
such as the phasing out of the Bracero program, restricting commuters, placing
numerical limitations on immigration, and requiring labor certification, tend to
increase the number of illegal border crossings.78
V. CURRENT ISSUES: PRO AND CON
Possible solutions or approaches to the illegal alien problem which
have been recommended, either singly or in combination, are dis-
cussed briefly below, along with arguments for and against them. As
will be noted, most would involve Federal legislative action although
in some cases this would be limited to increased appropriations.
PENALTIES FOR THE EMPLOYMENT OF ILLEGAL ALIENS
Legislation establishing penalties for the employment of illegal
aliens passed the House during the 92nd and 93rd Congresses. Similar
legislation was reported but not passed in the House in the 94th
Congress and, for the first time in the past three Congresses, given
serious consideration by the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Im-
migration and Naturalization. (See Appendix A for a comparison of
the major House and Senate bills in the 94th Congress.)
The principal argument in favor of the establishment of penalties
for the employment of illegal aliens is that the availability of possible
employment appears to be the main reason for illegal immigration.
Without the magnet of employment, it is argued, illegal aliens would
not come to the U.S. or, in the case of nonimmigrants, violate their
status. Quoting from the 94th Congress House Judiciary Committee
report on H.R. 8713:
The Committee believes that the primary reason for the illegal alien problem
is the economic imbalance between the United States and the countries from
which the aliens come, coupled with the chance of employment in the United
States. Consequently, it is apparent that this problem cannot be solved as long as
jobs can be obtained by those who enter this country illegally and by those who
enter legally as nonimmigrants for the sole purpose of obtaining employment.
Sterling, p. 1.
78 Harvard Law School, Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Research Committee. "Proposed bills
H.R. 981, H.R. 982, and S. 3827 [93rd Cong.]," unpublished memo to Senator Alan
Cranston, Jan. 15, 1975, p. 19.
The Committee, therefore, is of the opinion that the most reasonable approach
to this problem is to make unlawful the "knowing" employment of illegal aliens.
thereby removing the economic incentive which draws such aliens to the United
States as well as the incentive for employers to exploit this source of labor.'
Employer penalties have had the continuous support of the Nixon
and Ford Administrations and, most recently, were endorsed by tha
Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens, established by Presi-
dent Ford.2 The Cabinet-level Committee also observed, "Those
agencies concerned with administering and regulating the flow of
aliens into the country are convinced that only when we begin to cope
with the economic magnet that draws individuals here will we be in a
position to have some control of illegal immigration." 3
Penalties for the employment of illegal aliens are generally viewed
as being deterrent in nature. That is, it is assumed, in the words of the
Domestic Council Committee that "such sanctions would achieve a
high level of voluntary compliance simply by being legislated as
Federal policy." 4 Those few who would violate the law, it is argued
further, are generally already known to INS. Consequently, it is
believed that enforcement would not be unduly costly or onerous.
Generally speaking, most opposition to employer penalties centers
not on the aim-the curtailment of the employment, and thus the
entry, of illegal aliens-but on the mechanism for accomplishing this
aim. At issue, specifically, is the role of the employer in determining
illegal status. Employers groups (e.g., the American Farm Bureau) and
civil rights groups (e.g., ACLU, National Congress of Hispanic
American Citizens) argue against penalty provisions in essentially
identical terms-forming an unusual and powerful opposition. Quot-
ing from North and Houstoun:
On the one hand, employers have argued that it is difficult to know who is an
illegal and who is not; they have argued that the Immigration Service should
keep the illegals out of the labor market by keeping them out of the country.
On the other hand, those concerned with civil liberties and the rights of ethnic
minorities have argued that certain classes of legal residents of the United States
might not secure jobs because employers would turn them away, on the grounds
that they might be illegal aliens. In short, both groups object to the proposed
locus of responsibility for determining who can, and who cannot, work in the
United States. Both groups object to employers playing this role.5
In addition, there are those-the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary
Committee, Senator James Eastland among them-who have in-
dicated a willingness to accept the penalty provisions only in con-
junction with other amendments aimed at making legal temporary
alien workers more readily available,6 presumably on the grounds that
the penalty provisions would reduce the number of alien workers
available. In opposition to the bill, it has also been argued that, con-
trary to the assertions of its proponents, the penalty provisions would
be both difficult and costly to enforce.
I H. Rept. No. 94-506 (1975), p. 6.
2 Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens report (Dec. 1976), p. 241. See also pp.
3 Ibid., pp. 111-112.
4 Ibid., p. 112.
5 North/Houstoun study (March 1976), p. 178.
a S. 3074, Sec. 2 (94th Congress).
Largely in response to the concern, noted above, of employers,
civil rights groups, and others about the problems of identification and
possible discrimination in hiring practices in connection with employer
penalties for hiring illegal aliens, it has been argued that all aliens and
citizens who are legally entitled to work should be issued work permits.
It is further argued that the social security card comes close to serving
this function today, particularly following the 1972 amendments, and
that it should be converted into legal evidence of the right to work.
Thus, in a recent policy statement, the National Council on Employ-
ment Policy endorsed the basic concept of penalties for the knowing
employment of illegal aliens, but stated, "The employer should ... be
required to obtain a standard proof of the applicant's legal residence."
The most common document that each American must show before commencing
employment is the social security card. By law, this is not to be issued to illegals,
but the procedures for investigating applicants are not very rigorous. . If the
integrity of the social security card were increased, it could serve more effectively
as a work identification document.7
A work permit system, in conjunction with penalty provisions for
the employment of illegal aliens, was supported by David North
and Marion Houstoun on the grounds that, "despite its complex
ramifications, the work permit program is more likely to inhibit
illegal immigration than any other proposed program." They suggest
that the "situation is sufficiently serious to call for the creation of a
work permit system covering all U.S. workers, so that the Govern-
ment bears responsibility for determining who is legally permitted
to work in the U.S. labor market." 8
Opposition to a work permit or identification card "runs the gamut
from civil libertarians to organized labor," 9 in the words of the
Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens, which made no
explicit recommendation on the issue. However, the U.S. Justice
Department's Federal Advisory Committee on False Identification
recommended in November 1976 against a national identification
document.10 In its report on H.R. 8713 in the 94th Congress, the
House Judiciary Committee also indicated that it had rejected
approaches which "may have far reaching implications and may be a
step in the direction of a national identification or work permit
With specific reference to the expanded use of the social security
card in this context, the Social Security Administration has long
opposed the use of its card as legal documentation of status for a
variety of reasons, as explained recently by the Deputy Commissioner
of the Social Security Administration in testimony before the House
Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration:
I would say that personally I would, and on behalf of the Social Security
Administration, we would, be very reluctant to see a numbering system which
was designed essentially for recordkeeping purposes converted into a documenta-
tion system that would, in effect, mean that the carrier of this document or the
7 National Council on Employment Policy, "Public Policies toward Alien Workers,"
Illegal Aliens: An Assessment of the Issues, Oct. 1976, pp. 2-3.
8 North/Houstoun study (March 1976), p. 179.
9 Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens report (Dec. 1976), p. 115. See also
10 Report of the Federal Advisory Committee on False Identification, pp. 73-76.
11 H. Rept. No. 94-506 (1975), p. 14.
holder of this number is bearing prima facie evidence of some status under law.
It would, I suppose, in the last analysis, if that were to be taken seriously, it
would drive us to having to recontact everybody who has a social security number
and perhaps adjudicate certain evidence with respect to that number. Or if
one did not want to go back and review all existing numbers, it would certainly
require us to do things with respect to future enumeration which I think would
be technically feasible, but which might cause people to go underground. It
would increase the counterfeiting of numbers and cause people to go under-
ground to get false identities, and to that extent degrade the number system for
the purposes for which it was really created, and that is for us to keep the earnings
records of the individual straight in connection with his potential benefit rights.'2
In the context of the illegal alien problem, "amnesty" refers to
permitting illegal aliens to convert to legal status. The Immigration
and Nationality Act includes two provisions which are at least theo-
retically relevant. These are the registry provision (Sec. 249; 8 U.S.C.
1259), which grants the Attorney General discretionary authority to
establish a record of lawful admission for certain aliens who entered
the country prior to June 30, 1948; and suspension of deportation
(Sec. 244; 8 U.S.C. 1254), which has a seven or ten year residency
requirement, depending on the offense. However, this provision is
keyed into deportation hearings by the regulations, and is not used
on a mass scale.
Legislation introduced in the 94th Congress included both tem-
porary and permanent amnesty provisions, as well as a wide range
of eligibility requirements relating to period of residency here, family
ties, show of hardship, etc. In the major bills (H.R. 8713, S. 3074,
S. 561), amnesty provisions were linked with penalties for the future
employment of illegal aliens.
The principal argument in favor of an amnesty provision is that
many aliens working here illegally have built up considerable equity-
a significant factor in immigration law, particularly in the considera-
tions of private immigration bills, which amnesty resembles on a mass
scale. A major consideration in this respect are family ties with U.S.
citizens and permanent resident aliens, as well as other community
ties in the United States.
Generally speaking, argument (luring the 94th Congress turned
on the details of the amnesty provision, such as the date of entrance
which must be established, other conditions of eligibility, and the
degree of discretion to be granted the Attorney General in the admin-
istration of the provision. For example, the U.S. Catholic Conference
reportedly opposed H.R. 8713 largely because of its dissatisfaction
with what it saw to be the bill's unduly limited amnesty provision.
Concern was expressed that the mass expulsion that would follow
the bill's enactment would result in the separation of families.
In its December 1976 report, the Domestic Council Committee on
Illegal Aliens took a strong stand against massive deportations of
illegal aliens already in the country as "both inhumane and im-
12 Arthur E. Hess, House hearings, 1975. p. 227. See also Domestic Council Committee on
Illegal Aliens report, pp. 89-95. Commenting on the less than successful "SSA/INS co-
operative efforts" to date, that Committee observes, "future policymakers should be ex-
tremely wary of drawing agencies whose central purpose is not enforcement into arrange-
ments which require them to act in ways contrary to their historical nature. The SSA has
always seen itself as a service agency, and thus has been slow to adjust to the require-
ments inherent in the amendments of 1972" (p. 95).
practical." It recommended amnesty for otherwise eligible aliens who
entered prior to July 1, 1968, the date the Western Hemisphere ceiling
took effect, through a permanent amendment of the registry provision
(Sec. 249) of the immigration law. Additionally, it recommended that
"other policy approaches toward those illegal aliens currently in the
country" be evaluated and developed.3
Opponents to amnesty for illegal alliens in any form have argued
that it implicitly condones law breaking, past and future; and gives
those aliens who break the law an advantage over those who comply
with its provisions. One member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee
on Immigration explained his opposition to the amnesty provision in
H.R. 8713 in part as follows:
It has been maintained that opposing the granting of amnesty is evidence of a
lack of compassion for the hardship endured by those who have only sought to
better their lives. It is my belief, however, that we do not resolve the problem
generated by the presence (and ongoing influx) of illegal aliens simply by removing
the stamp of illegality. Indeed, we do little to maintain or restore a respect for
our immigration laws by absolving those who have broken them.'
EXPANDED AVAILABILITY OF TEMPORARY ALIEN WORKERS
Particularly with regard to Mexico, it is arguable that there are
two choices facing the United States: illegal aliens or an expanded
legal temporary worker program-in effect, a renewal of the "Bracero"
program. The argument that it is almost impossible to keep alien
workers from entering the country given the present economic im-
balance between the United States and Mexico, short of the con-
struction of a "Berlin wall" between the two countries, is perhaps the
strongest argument in favor of an expanded temporary worker pro-
gram. Legality, it is argued, would afford both the aliens and the U.S.
workers with whom they compete the protection from exploitation
and adverse competition lacking in the current unregulated under-
ground labor market situation.
The argument summarized above is presented by Alejandro Portes,
in part as follows:
. .effective control of illegal crossings would require nothing short of drastic
measures, given current pressures at the border. Sharply increased patrolling and
control operations, much tougher penalties for violators, and even the physical
closing of the border except at selected points would be required. Erection of a
"Berlin wall in reverse" to prevent further illegal entries is not likely to occur at
the present time.
Short of this radical alternative, only two other channels seem open to deal with
the problem. One is simply to allow the present situation to go on unheeded.
This would mean ever-greater numbers of illegal entries and progressive reduction
of border regulation to a purely "symbolic" function. The second alternative
would involve stricter enforcement activities coupled with some program of regu-
lated entry of Mexican labor. This would encompass not only agricultural labor
but industrial and domestic service workers as well.
There seem to be some advantages to such a controlled entry program. First,
it would provide a less risky, legal alternative to Mexican workers seeking entry
into this country. This should reduce the attraction of illegal migration and thus
facilitate its control. Second, it would protect Mexican aliens against present
uncontrolled exploitation by making provisions for minimum wages, accident
insurance, and other benefits. Third, and most important in the domestic front,
regulation of Mexican labor entry and wage and fringe benefit guidelines would
alleviate the competition by the native poor against unregulated wetback labor.
Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens report (Dec. 1976), pp. 242-243.
1 "Additional Views of William S. Cohen on H.R. 8713." H. Rept. No. 94-506 (1975),
Any controlled entry program should logically be accompanied by stiffer
,penalties for hiring wetbacks. The impunity with which employers have made use
of this source of labor continues to be a major "pull" factor stimulating illegal
migration. Moreover, unions of agricultural and industrial workers affected by
Mexican labor should have an effective monitoring role as a way of protecting
-domestic labor interests and insuring proper application of the program.15
A "controlled entry program" of the type described above has been
defended on economic as well as moral grounds. Quoting from a
discussion of this viewpoint in a Harvard Law School Civil Rights-
Civil Liberties Research Committee memo,
If Mexican aliens will enter the country, regardless of the legality of their
.status, it is to their advantage, to American labor's advantage, and to the advan-
tage of the United States as a whole that they have some sort of legally recognized
status. As illegals they are subject to exploitation by employers and do not enjoy
the minimum protections afforded other residents of this country.16
A related view was expressed by Ernesto Galarza with reference to
the Bracero program, "Morally, the system sought a pattern of control
which would shield the Mexican migrant from the nauseous evils of
the Wetback traffic, on the one hand, and which would on the other
prevent a deterioration of employment conditions for domestic
Opposition to an expanded temporary alien labor program is based,
first, on the current high regional and national unemployment rates,
particularly among those groups with whom the alien workers would
be most likely to compete. Beyond this, and more specifically, it is
based on the lengthy U.S. experience with the "Bracero" program
(See pp. 102-108 above).
Based on that experience, it is in fact debatable whether the legaliza-
tion of an expanded temporary alien worker program would increase
or decrease illegal traffic. It is argued by, among others, Julian Samora
and the Harvard Research Committee quoted directly above, that
there would probably be more applicants than opportunities, thereby
increasing the pull on Mexicans from the interior to the border and,
eventually, the United States. On the other hand, Ernesto Galarza,
generally a strong critic of the results of the "Bracero" program, argues
that it eventually brought about a "dramatic reduction, if not the
total elimination, of the Wetback traffic." s1
However, according to Galarza, the success of the program was in
large part the result of "the position of the bracero as a bound worker
in a captive market," and the U.S. employers' resulting gradual
acceptance of the program as a satisfactory alternative to illegal
aliens as a dependable source of abundant cheap labor. Galarza
generalizes as follows about the effect of the Bracero program in
California, the subject of his study:
In a free labor market, particularly in one where the sellers are organized,
workers withdraw their services until rates rise to meet their demands. This did
not happen in California. When domestic workers held back they gave evidence
of a shortage from the employer's pqint of view, and thus proved the need for
16 Portes, "Return of the Wetbacks," Society, March/April 1974, p. 46. While Mr. Portes
believes that a controlled entry program offers the "greatest advantages," he concludes,
"Until unionization of agricultural and urban unskilled workers in the United States
changes present power arrangements, the sad but most realistic prediction is that the
current situation will continue in the years to come" (p. 46).
16 Harvard Research Committee, Jan. 15, 1975, p. 26. This passage does not necessarily
reflect the committee's viewpoint. The next sentence reads, "However, two opposing argu-
ments render this problem an insoluble dilemma."
17 Galarza (1964), p. 199.
Ibid., p. 255.
more braceros. It was not surprising that wage surveys regularly found rates on
jobs where domestics and braceros both were employed to be lower than the
average composite rates for farm work generally.19
In short, the Bracero program raises definite questions about whether
the organized importation of temporary alien labor would in fact
provide either the alien or U.S. workers with protection. It is argu-
able-and Galarza does so in documented detail-that the chief
function of the Bracero program at least, was to provide U.S. em-
ployers involved in the program with a dependable supply of cheap
In opposition to the expanded importation of temporary alien labor,
the Harvard Research Committee argues that "it is eminently unfair to
import, support, and employ foreign labor when the domestic labor
force suffers from a high rate of unemployment." 20 Further, it has
been argued by, among others, Michael Piore and Ray Marshall that
it is in the nature of alien temporary labor to become permanent.
Quoting from Marshall, "Despite attempts by host countries to limit
the use of immigrants to prescribed occupations for certain lengths
of time, these restrictions are rarely successful in either halting the
spread of immigrant workers from the initial penetration points or in
preventing permanent settlements." 21 The current situation in the
Virgin Islands of the United States is a particularly graphic illustra-
tion of both the tendency of a "temporary" labor force to become
permanent, and the potentially undesirable consequences of this proc-
ess for both the alien workers and the host society. Temporary workers
brought into the U.S. Virgin Islands since the mid-1950s now make up
approximately half of the Islands' work force, in an extremely volatile
economic and political situation which has yet to be resolved.22
Finally, it can be argued, as North and Houstoun do by implica-
tion, that in fact there is little to choose between morally, and to some
extent economically, in the use of illegal aliens and the legal aliens
who are barred from full participation in the institutions of our
At bottom, a decision to use aliens-nonimmigrants or illegals-as a supply
of cheap, low-skill labor is an attempt to acquire labor and to adjure its economic
and its social costs. That is, of course, a form of exploitation, the de jure or de
facto institutionalization of inequities.23
REASSESSMENT OF U.S. IMMIGRATION POLICY
A total reassessment of U.S. immigration policy has been recom-
mended recently by both the U.S. General Accounting Office and the
Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens. In a report entitled,
"Immigration-Need to Reassess U.S. Policy," GAO stated:
U.S. immigration problems may be alleviated somewhat by changes to the cur-
rent laws; however, to adequately cope with all the problems and to effectively
regulate future immigration, we recommend that the Congress work with the
administration to totally reassess U.S. immigration policy.24
Ibid., p. 145.
o Harvard Research Committee, p. 26.
2r Marshall' (1976), p. 50. See also Piore (1976), p. 28.
22 See U.S. Congress. House. Committee on the Judiciary. Nonimmigrant alien labor pro-
gram on the Virgin Islands of the United States. (Committee print) Washington, U.S.
Govt. Print. Off., 1975.
=North/Houstoun study (March 1976), pp. 169-170.
24 U.S. Comptroller General of the United States, "Immigration-Need to Reassess U.S.
Policy," Oct. 19, 1976, p. 3.
In a similar vein, the Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens
concluded, "The illegal alien issue is ultimately an issue of immigra-
tion policy and will not be satisfactorily met until a thorough rethink-
ing of our immigration policy is undertaken." 25
The basic four title structure and many of the provisions of the
Immigration and Nationality Act are 25 years old, and few would
disagree that the Act includes obsolete, anachronistic, and unnecessar-
ily complex provisions. Our basic immigration policy is of a more
recent vintage, dating back to the 1965 amendments, which abolished
the national origins system, and the 1976 amendments, which ex-
tended to the Western Hemisphere the preference system and 20,000
per-country limit which had previously regulated only Eastern Hemi-
sphere immigration. It is certainly arguable that, as a result of these
substantive amendments, the Immigration and Nationality Act now
constitutes an imperfectly blended amalgam of provisions reflecting
the very different needs and values of the early 1950s, the mid-1960s,
and the present day,
The basic goals of our current immigration policy, as embodied in
the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, are the reunifica-
tion of family members, the uniform treatment of all countries, and
numerical restriction. Other major goals include the protection of
U.S. labor from adverse competition, the admission of workers in
short supply, the admission of refugees, and the exclusion of un-
While there are a number of options which might be considered in
rethinking and revising U.S. immigration policy, those which might
predictably have a direct impact on illegal immigration would appear
to be fairly limited. The expansion of a temporary worker program,
discussed immediately above, is one such option.
A second major option would be increasing the number of immi-
grants who may enter annually, either across the board, or from coun-
tries of particularly high demand. While the Domestic Council Com-
mittee on Illegal Aliens in no way recommends a liberalization of the
numerical restrictions, it posits a direct causal correlation between
"a large documented demand for immigration" and "a great hidden
demand which is producing illegal entry to the U.S." 2" With specific
reference to Latin America and Asia, they note:
Pressure to immigrate from these areas is intense with several high demand
countries having up to two-year waiting periods for immigrant visas issuance.
Such backlogs contribute to illegal immigration streams from these nations.27
Another major option would appear to be liberalizing existing
work-related restrictions. In their Labor Department-financed study,
North and Houstoun reported that three-quarters of the approxi-
mately 800 illegal aliens interviewed for their study had been working
in occupations for which labor certification would have been auto-
matically denied under the Labor Department's administrative
interpretation of the labor certification provision at that time.28
SDomestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens report (Dec. 1976), p. 239.
Ibid., p. 39.
SIbid., p. 33.
29 North/Houstoun study (March 1976), p. 111. North and Houstoun in no way recom-
mended a relaxation of work-related restrictions.
It is arguable that a liberalization of numerical and/or work-related
restrictions would increase opportunities for legal entry and thus,
presumably-although not inevitably-reduce illegal entries. However,
such measures would be likely to meet strong opposition on the
grounds that they would exacerbate present unemployment and
On the other hand, it can also be argued that immigration tends to
beget immigration, both legal and illegal, by attracting more in-
tending immigrants than can legally be accommodated. It follows
from this hypothesis that a more restrictive policy, combined with the
allocation of greater resources to law enforcement, might be effective
in reducing the total number of aliens entering this country legally
as well as illegally. However, as with liberalization, any decision to
restrict immigration would have to take into account many other
factors besides illegal aliens, including the foreign policy implications.
ADEQUACY OF FINANCIAL RESOURCES FOR INS (JUSTICE) AND BUREAU OF
SECURITY AND CONSULAR AFFAIRS (STATE)
As discussed in Section III, the need for increasing INS's appropria-
tions has been argued by many, including INS itself, the House
Judiciary Committee, the House Government Operations Committee,
and numerous other commentators on the current illegal alien prob-
lem. For example, observing that "the level of effort expended on the
enforcement of the immigration law is astonishingly minimal," North
and Houstoun point out that INS investigative and Border Patrol
agents numbered 2,739 in fiscal year 1974 and accounted for 788,147
apprehensions, compared to, for instance, the 4,750 members of the
D.C. Metropolitan Police Force, and the 3,994 corrections officers in
Federal penal institutions housing approximately 23,000 prisoners.2"
Quoting from the INS 1976 budget justification:
With current manpower levels, the border patrol simply cannot handle the
present volume of illegal entry. In the 15 years between 1960 and 1974, the au-
thorized strength of the border patrol has been increased by only 349 positions
(1,773 to 2,122) while border patrol apprehensions have increased by over 2,000
percent (29,881 to 640,913). It is only through the use of the sensor systems, and
because the alien intrusion pattern has tended to be channeled in certain key sec-
tors, that the border patrol has been able to achieve its current level of success.30
The need for additional INS inspectors at major Southern land bor-
der ports and international airports in this country would appear to
have been clearly demonstrated by the recent INS Fraudulent En-
trants Study, although this was not among its specific findings. As
the result of the allotment of additional manpower, allowing for more
thorough inspections, at selected high volume Mexican border ports of
entry and international airports, the number of attempted fraudulent
entrants apprehended was 12 to 14 times greater than the number
apprehended at the same ports during routine operations.31
In a related point, it is argued that more resources and prestige
should be allocated by the State Department to the visa issuance func-
tion abroad. Quoting from the Domestic Council Committee on Illegal
"North/Houstoun "Summary" (Oct. 1976), p. 46.
0 House Apuropriations Committee hearings, F 1976, 94th Cong., 1st Sess., 1975, p. 897.
11 INS Fraudulent Entrants Study (Sept. 1976), p. 18.
Prevention of entry should remain the foremost enforcement goal of both the
INS and the Department of State from a cost, a legal, and a community impact.
point of view. To achieve an acceptable level of prevention will require additional
resources for both agencies, and improved management techniques . and
higher priority for the visa function with the Department of State.32
Generally speaking, it is argued that greater expenditures on the
enforcement of current immigration law may be potentially more
effective and ultimately less costly than some of the alternate ap-
proaches to the illegal alien problem which have been proposed. In this
vein, Representative Elizabeth Holtzman observed to Justice De-
partment witnesses during hearings in the 94th Congress,
Is there anything we can learn from the mistakes that we have made in terms of
screening potential tourists who come to this country? I mean, for you to say that-
we are going to enact a bill that is going to require every American to carry a
nationality card for the first time in our history without at the same time saying
that we have done everything in our power to enforce the laws and enforce them
properly puzzles me... 33
In particular, tighter border security has been defended as lacking
many of the disadvantages of alternative approaches. Shortly after
Operation Wetback, the INS Commissioner at the time, General
Swing, wrote in the INS Annual Report: "The prevention of illegal
entries, as the major ingredient of border control, is more difficult,
requires more ingenuity, more men and equipment, but is, in the
long run, more economical and more humane than the expulsion
Writing in 1973, in the context of the current illegal alien problem,
the Cramton report concluded:
The Study Group is strongly of the opinion that substantially greater resources
should be made available for the purpose of improving the effectiveness of border
security. While the available data do not permit any precise quantitative assess-
ment of the net effect that illegal Mexican aliens have on the economy of the
United States, it seems clear that illegal Mexican workers adversely affect wages
and working conditions in some areas of this country, and may force citizens to.
resort to welfare.35
Commenting further, they noted:
Preventing Mexican nationals from crossing the border illegally is one of the
few alternatives which holds forth any significant hope of preventing abuses
against them. . .
Increasing the security of the border has few of the disadvantages which can
be discerned in other alternatives. In an area where feelings and political opposi-
tion are often intense, this is one of the few options that will not threaten the
legitimate interests of any affected group.36
The Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens recommended
similar measures for similar reasons in late 1976, without specific
reference to Mexico. One of its major recommendations was that,
"Effective enforcement of the Immigration and Nationality Act must
stress prevention above all other considerations." Quoting further,
32 Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens report (Dec. 1976), pp. 122-123.
33 House Judiciary hearing, 1975, p. 52.
:4 Quoted by Samora (1971). p. 53.
3 Cramton report (Jan. 1973), p. 17
31 Ibid., pp. 17-18.
It is vastly more desirable from both a policy and a resources standpoint to
prevent entry of the illegal or screen out potential illegals before arrival than to
locate and apprehend the illegal once he is in the U.S. This strategy is currently
accepted but it will require more adequate resources for both the State Depart-
ment and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, improved management
and tactics, legislation, and greater cooperation among federal agencies with
related enforcement responsibilities to be effective.37
It is believed by some that illegal entries from other countries, most
notably in the West Indies, are potentially more subject to control
than those from Mexico, where the patterns of illegal entry and em-
ployment are firmly established. Thus, Michael Piore, writes,
For migrations already in process, the push factors. the pull factors, and the
techniques of response are at their maximum. New migration streams should,
by contrast, be relatively easy to forestall: and the payoff to doing so lies not
only in those who are actually apprehended but in the prevention of the develop-
ment of a long-term migration stream. This implies that enforcement resources
should be concentrated on locating and halting the new.38
However, it can be argued that, ideally, given adequate resources,
a choice need not be made between prevention of illegal entry and other
The general argument against increasing the INS budget appears
to be the need for economy in government. Presumably, also, the
Justice Department and OMB, at least during the past Administra-
tion, suspended judgment on the dimensions of the illegal alien problem
until the completion of the comprehensive study currently underway
In more specific terms, it has been argued that it would be impossible
to effectively close the U.S.-Mexican border, short of measures that
we would be unwilling to undertake, This argument as stated by
Alejandro Portes is quoted above. In a related point, INS has argued
the need for the enactment of legislation establishing penalties for the
employment of illegal aliens, if it is to successful in controlling their
entry. Again the argument has been that employment opportunities
here attract the clandestine workers in the first place, and that in the
absence of legislation prohibiting their employment, the problem is
essentially uncontrollable. Thus, the following exchange took place
between Representative Joseph Early and INS Commissioner Leonard
Chapman during hearings on the fiscal year 1977 INS appropriations:
Mr. EARLY. I can't understand why we are spending all of this money and still
not getting at the root of the problem.
General CHAPMAN. The root of the problem is employment. That is the bottom
Mr. EARLY. Why won't someone in your position. Mr. Commissioner, say you
don't care about the budget at all until you get an employment bill and put the
heat on some people to get the bill moving?
General CHAPMAN. Well, I think in the past 2 years I have made something like
45 speeches, and I forget how many press conferences, all on that very point.
Mr. EARLY. You know what I think, General. No one is listening.
General CHAPMAN. I think I have been before congressional committees 35 or 40
times, in which I have made this same speech repeatedly.39
INCREASED ENFORCEMENT OF EXISTING RELATED LEGISLATION
It can be argued that, to a considerable extent, the adverse impact of
illegal aliens in this country is the result of the violation of existing
Federal legislation, in addition to the immigration law, by the aliens
37 Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens report (Dec. 1976), p. 239.
a8 Piore (1976), p. 33.
39 House Appropriations hearings, FY 1977, 94th Cong., 2d Sess., 1976, p. 704.
themselves, their employers, and/or administrators of public welfare
programs. It is further arguable that concerted enforcement of existing
tax and labor laws could significantly reduce the competitive advan-
tage of illegal aliens in the labor market. Quoting again from North
The Government can discourage illegal immigration by discouraging employers
from hiring illegals without the passage of additional legislation; it can do so, in
many instances, by focusing tax and labor standards enforcement efforts on the
employers of illegals.
A significant minority of the respondents in our study reported that they were
paid less than the minimum wage; some reported non-deduction of social security
taxes and of income taxes.
Further, our survey data suggest that an employer who hires illegals and violates
one tax or labor standards law is likely to violate others.40
Similarly, the participation by illegal aliens in the major public
assistance and service programs is prohibited by law or regulation. As
noted previously, these include Aid to Families with Dependent
Children (AFDC), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid,
and the Food Stamp program. It is arguable that stricter enforcement
of these restrictions, as well as those now attached to the issuance of
social security cards, could effectively curtail the participation of
illegal aliens in the programs, as well as enhance the reliability of the
social security card as an indication that its bearer is legally eligible
However, it is also arguable that INS would first have to be pro-
vided with the necessary manpower to conduct prompt checks on all
names and other information referred to it by other agencies for
verification. Enforcement of the laws and regulations referred to
above, as they pertain directly or indirectly to illegal aliens, requires a
degree of cooperation from INS which is, according to all reports,
At the same time, other agencies have been criticized for their
failure to cooperate with INS. Quoting from the House Judiciary
Committee report on H.R. 8713 (94th Congress):
The Committee continues to be disturbed by the evident lack of cooperation
among the agencies and departments of federal and state governments whose
programs and functions are impacted by illegal aliens. In our earlier reports in
the 92nd and 93rd Congresses on similar legislation, we expressly recommended
greater cooperation between the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the
Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, particularly the Social Security
Administration, the Department of Labor, and the Internal Revenue Service. To
date, only minimal progress has been made in this area ....
It is apparent that the primary reason for the lack of cooperation stems from
the fact that most government agencies do not feel obligated to cooperate with
INS or question the benefits of such cooperation in terms of their own priorities
and programs. Similarly, agencies are reluctant to initiate efforts to address the
illegal alien issue believing that the INS has the sole jurisdiction and responsibility
for dealing with this matter.41
The establishment of multi-agency strike forces in areas where
illegal aliens are known to be concentrated has been recommended by
North and Houstoun, to include enforcement officials from the follow-
Employment Standards Administration, for minimum wage violations;
Occupational Safety and Health Administration, for OSHA violations;
State Employment Security Agencies, for violations of unemployment
insurance tax laws;
4o North/Houstoun "Summary" (Oct. 1976), p. 47.
"H. Rept. No. 94-506 (1975), p. 10.
Internal Revenue Service, for Social Security tax and income tax with-
Immigration and Naturalization Service, regarding the presence of illegals
on company payrolls.42
In order to broaden the scope of the strike forces to include illegal
participation in public welfare programs where this is believed to be
a problem, officials from the Departments of Health, Education and
Welfare (SSI, AFDC, Medicaid) and Agriculture (Food Stamps)
might also be included.
In addition to reducing the adverse domestic impact of illegal aliens
on both the labor market and public welfare programs, the strict
enforcement of the relevant existing laws-including the immigration
law-has the additional advantage of having no overt adverse foreign
policy implications. Furthermore, to the extent that there is a real
need for alien labor, this approach would not necessarily result in the
total elimination of that labor supply, as long as tle clandestine
workers were paid the minimum wage, complied with U.S. tax laws,
etc. On the other hand, it is arguable that such an approach is deficient
precisely because it could be expected to reduce, but not necessarily
eliminate, the illegal alien traffic.
The principal argument against such an approach is probably con-
tained in the passage from the House Judiciary Committee report
quoted above, to the effect that most agencies do not feel obligated to
cooperate with INS, and tend to believe that "INS has the sole
jurisdiction and responsibility for dealing" with illegal aliens. A
coordinated multi-agency enforcement of the existing laws relating
directly and indirectly to illegal aliens would require a degree of
attention and support which has hitherto been lacking. The first of the
major recommendations of the Domestic Council Committee on Illegal
Aliens is directly relevant:
The issue of illegal immigration merits priority attention and requires Cabinet
leadership. Actions to be taken cross many bureaucratic and agency lines and will
require continued coordination and direction at the highest level.1
Increased appropriations for more effective enforcement of the
applicable existing laws would also be required.
COMPARISON OF MAJOR PROVISIONS OF H.R. 8713, AS REPORTED, WITH S. 3074 (94TH CONGRESS)
H.R. 8713, as reported (H.
Provision Existing law Rept. No. 94-506) S. 3074 (Mr. Eastland)
Adjustment of status.... Aliens who are natives of Also permits the adjustment Also permits the adjustment of
Western Hemisphere of status in the United status in the United States
countries or the adjacent States of otherwise eligible of otherwise eligible natives of
islands are prohibited natives of the Western the Western Hemisphere and
from adjusting their sta- Hemisphere and the ad- adjacent islands, as well as
tus from that of nonim- jacent islands. Prohibits alien crewmen. Prohibits the
migrant to that of lawful h- .Jii i i ., :iiu: tW adjustment of status by aliens
permanentresidentwhile i-'I 1, .r,- Ii.. ... : ,:I- other than close relatives of
in the United States (sec. atives of U.S. citizens, who U.S. citizens, who have ac-
245). have accepted unauthor- cepted unauthorized employ-
ized employment. Changes ment. Changes the date used
the date used to determine to determine both the avail-
the availability of a visa ability of a visa number and the
number from the approval alien's date of lawful admission
date to the filing date (sec. from the date his application
1; substantially identical is approved (current law) to
to H.R. 14535, sec. 6, en- the date it is filed (sec. 10).
acted into law, Public Law
North/Houstoun study (March 1976), p. 173.
3 Domestic Council Committte on Illegal Aliens report (December 1976, p. 241.
COMPARISON OF MAJOR PROVISIONS OF H.R. 8713, AS REPORTED, WITH S. 3074
H.R. 8713, as reported (H.
Provision Existing law Rept. No. 94-506)
Penalty provisions for None; provides that normal (1) Deletes the proviso that
the employment ofploym entofI- loyment practices normal employment prac-
-legalaliens (i.e., aliens shall not be deemed to tices shall not be deemed
not legally authorized constitute harboring, and to constitute harboring.
to work). offense punishable by (2) Makes unlawful the know-
$2,000 and/or 5 yr impris- ing employment, continued
onment for each alien employment, or referral
involved (sec. 274). for employment of an illegal
alien by an employer or his
agent, or by any person
who for a fee refers an
alien for employment.
Antidiscrimination-...--. No comparable provision in
Immigration and Nation-
ality Act (see 42 U.S.C.
Registry/"amnestry"..-- Authorizes the Attorney
General, at his discretion,
to create a record of law-
ful admission for certain
aliens illegally in the
United States who have
resided here contin-
uously prior to June 30,
1948. Aliens must not
be inadmissible under
the provisions of 212(a)
relating to "criminals,
procurers and other im-
moral persons, subver-
sives, violators of the
narcotic laws or smug-
glers of aliens," and
must not be ineligible for
citizenship (sec. 249).
Establishes a 3-step proce-
dure of administrative, civil
and criminal sanctions:
(a) Citation for knowing or un-
knowing employment, con-
tinued employment, or re-
ferral for employment of
(b) For knowing employment,
continued employment, or
referral for employment
within 2 yr after citation,
civil penalty of not more
than $500 for each illegal
(c) Persons convicted of sub-
sequent violations shall be
guilty of a misdemeanor
punishable by a fine of not
more than $1,000 and/or
imprisonment of not more
than 1 year for each illegal
(3) Grants the U.S. district
courts jurisdiction to en-
join the knowing employ-
ment, continued employ-
ment, or referral for em-
ployment of illegal aliens
Authorizes the Attorney Gen-
eral to bring civil actions
against employers who are
believed to discriminate on
the basis of national origin
Does not amend the registry
provision. Authorizes the
Attorney General, at his
discretion, to adjust the
status of certain aliens
illegally in the United
States who entered prior
to June 30, 1968, and who
are either close relatives of
U.S. citizens or permanent
resident aliens, or whose
departure would result in
unusual hardship. Aliens
must be admissible as im-
migrants under the provi-
sions of the Immigration
and Nationality Act, with
the exception of the labor
and certain documentary
requirements, and must
apply within 1 year after
the effective date of this bill
S. 3074 (Mr. Eastland)
(1) Deletes the proviso that
normal employment practices
shall not be deemed to con-
(2) Makes unlawful the knowing
employment, continued em-
ployment, or referral for em-
ployment of an illegal alien by
an employer or his agent, by any
person who for a fee refers an
alien for employment, or by
any representative of a labor
organization who refers an
alien for employment. Pro-
vides that persons making a
bona fide inquiry as to whether
employees are legally author-
ized to work will be exempt
from liability; and further
provides that the receipt by
the employer, agent, or refer-
rer of a statement on a form
prepared by the Attorney
General that the employee is
authorized to work will be
considered prima facie evi-
dence of a bona fide inquiry.
Establishes a 2-step civil penalty
structure for violations:
(a) Civil penalty of not more than
$500 for each alien involved;
(b) For subsequent violation,
civil penalty of not less than
$500 and not more than $1,000
for each alien involved.
(3) Grants the U.S. district courts
jurisdiction to enjoin the
knowing employment, con-
tinued employment, or referral
for employment of illegal
aliens (sec. 12).
No comparable provisions
Similar to existing law, except
changes the cutoff date for
eligibility for relief under this
provision to July 1, 1968 (sec.
COMPARISON OF MAJOR PROVISIONS OF H.R. 8713, AS REPORTED, WITH S. 3074 (94TH CONGRESS)-Continued
H.R. 8713, as reported (H.
Provision Existing law Rplt. No. 94-506) S. 3074 (Mr. Eastland)
Disclosure of aliens il- RequirestheSocialSecurity Adds a new provision requir- Identical to H.R. 8713, as re-
legally receiving Administration, upon re- ing HEW to disclose to ported (sec. 13).
assistance underthe quest, to notify the Justice the name and ad-
SocialSecurity Act. Justice Department of dress of any alien, includ-
"available information" ing any alien unlawfully in
on the identity and loca- the United States, who is
tion of aliens in the receiving assistance under
United States (sec. 290 specified titles of the
(c)). Social Security Act for
which he is not eligible
alsifyingofalien Imposes criminal penalties Amends 18 U.S.C. 1546 to Identical to H.R. 8713, as re-
documentation. for knowingly falsifying make it also explicitly ported(sec. 18).
certain immigration doc- applicable to border cross-
uments or for the know- ing cards, alien registration
ing use of such falsified receipt cards, or other
documents (18 U.S.C. entry documents (sec. 6).
Authorization of Justice No comparable provision Requires that Justice Depart- Nocomparable provision.
Department funds, in Immigration and Na- ment appropriations for
tionalityAct, carrying out functions
under the Immigration
and Nationality Act must
be specifically authorized
by an act of Congress (sec.
Groundsfordeportation_. Makes deportable an alien Further stipulates that be- Further stipulates that becoming
who re.peoEr institu- coming a public charge is institutionalized at public ex-
tionalized at public ex- grounds for deportation pense or becoming a public
pense (sec. 241(aX3)), regardless of whether the charge are grounds for de-
or who becomes a public alien is legally liable for portation regardless of whether
charge (sec. 241(a)(8)), repayment or whether any the alien is legally liable for
in both cases within 5 request for repayment has repayment or whether any
yr after entry and for been made'(thatis, amends request for repayment has
reasons which existed sec. 241(aX8), only) (sec. been made (sec. 9).
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Weekly compilation of Presidential documents, v. 11, Jan. 13, 1975: 26; v. 12,
Oct. 25, 1976: 1548.
Zeman, Ray. Refund for illegal alien medical care sought. Los Angeles Times,
June 26, 1974: part 2, p. 1, 4.