And never doing anything about sealing the border is the biggest mistake of all.
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While debating the amnesty provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986, then-Senator Alan Simpson (R–WY) stated on the floor of the Senate that “this is it. This is a generous Nation responding; instead of going hunting for you and going through the anguish of that in the cities and communities of America, this is it. It is one time.”

Twenty-seven years later and the verdict is in—Simpson and other amnesty proponents were flat out wrong, and amnesty only made illegal immigration into an even bigger problem.

Now the Senate is considering doing the same thing it did in 1986 by bringing forward another comprehensive immigration reform bill. The bill takes the same approach as the IRCA, but Senators are hoping that it will somehow turn out better this time. Contrary to their hopes, doing the same thing as the past will not result in a better outcome, but only encourage additional illegal immigration, mistreat those who followed the rules, and cost current citizens trillions in new costs.

In 1986, the IRCA provided millions of illegal immigrants with temporary legal status. After a year and a half, they could apply to become legal permanent residents (LPRs), and then citizens five years later. Indeed, nearly 2.7 million people eventually became LPRs under the bill.

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