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This Day In Market History: Reagan Signs Immigration Reform Granting Amnesty To Millions

This Day In Market History: Reagan Signs Immigration Reform Granting Amnesty To Millions

Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date.

What Happened

On Nov. 6, 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act to forbid the hiring of illegal immigrants and provide legal status to many living in the U.S.

''Future generations of Americans will be thankful for our efforts to humanely regain control of our borders and thereby preserve the value of one of the most sacred possessions of our people, American citizenship,'' Reagan said at the signing.

Where The Market Was

The S&P 500 closed at 245.87, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the session at 1,891.59.

What Else Was Going On In The World

The U.S. had just added the Northern Mariana Islands as a commonwealth, and Reagan would soon confess a secret weapons sale to Iran.

Reagan's ‘Humane’ Immigration Reform

The Republican president advanced an immigration policy that his party would likely now reject.

''The bill is a gamble, a riverboat gamble,” then-Rep. Chuck Schumer, a Democratic supporter of the bill, said at the time. “There is no guarantee that employer sanctions will work or that amnesty will work. We are headed into uncharted waters.''

The Immigration Reform and Control Act created a path to legalization for about 2.7 million unauthorized immigrants who had lived continuously in the U.S. since before 1982. Initially, children and spouses were not included, and the administration pursued a policy of family separation.

Following a public outcry, Reagan administration soon conceded with a deportation deferral for the children of legalizing parents. Further attempts to prevent family member deportations by granting work authorization ultimately failed in Congress.

The second Bush administration eventually signed legislation to protect families from being split by deportation and to provide a path to citizenship.

Related Links:

The Companies Celebrating, Lamenting Trump's Slackened Immigration Policy

Immigration Appears Stalled In Congress: What Now?

President Ronald Reagan signs the Immigration Reform and Control Act on Nov. 6, 1986 in the Roosevelt Room with Dan Lungren, Strom Thurmond, George Bush, Romano Mazzoli and Alan Simpson. Photo courtesy of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum. 


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