Our Leaders Refuse to Learn Lessons of 1986 Amnesty

“Insanity on Steroids – How Our Leaders Refuse to Learn the Lessons of the 1986 Amnesty”

In writing this article, I called upon my personal recollections of the massive amnesty program that was created by IRCA. I had a front row seat to the fiasco that ensued because, as you may know, at the time that IRCA was enacted and the amnesty provisions were implemented, I was an INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) special agent.

There are many reasons why a massive amnesty program for unknown millions of illegal aliens whose presence in our country represents a violation of our laws, but first and foremost is the dangers that such a program would expose our citizens and nation to.

Here is a link to the Fall Edition of the Social Contract which contains a number of important articles concerning IRCA, including the one I wrote:


Here is a link to my article:


It is unfathomable how anyone could possibly ignore the many lessons that IRCA should provide our nation’s “leaders.”

There are those politicians who simplistically say that the lesson of IRCA was that we never had the resources to enforce the employer sanctions provisions that were supposed to discourage employers from employing illegal aliens. Certainly there is merit to this assessment. However, there were many more failings with this program- especially where fraud was concerned. So many applications had to be processed in the least time possible to keep up with the onslaught of applications that the adjudications process was reminiscent of the episode of I Love Lucy known as “Lucy at the bonbon factory.”

Initially all went smoothly when the belt began to pick up speed and soon the bonbons were hurtling at them at warp speed! This made for one of the most hilarious episodes in the annals of television comedy- Lucy and Ethel frantically try to keep up with the candy hurtling at them on the conveyor belt at an increasingly faster pace, and in order to keep up they try eating the candy and stuffing the morsels down their clothing but to no avail!

For those who are too young to have seen this episode, or if you want to relive that classic bit of television history, here is a link to the YouTube video of Lucy and Ethel at the bonbon factory:

Where applications of immigration benefits are concerned, however, the hapless Adjudications Officers, known back then as “Examiners” who processed those legalization applications were not able to neither eat the applications nor stuff them down their clothing! These adjudications officers quickly found out that the easiest and quickest way of disposing of applications for immigration amnesty was to simply approve the applications. While the plight of Lucy and Ethel in their futile effort to keep up with the speed of the conveyor belt made for a truly hilarious bit of television history- there is certainly no humor to be found in the futile efforts of the Examiners who were assigned to adjudicate applications for amnesty as a result of IRCA or the Adjudications Officers of USCIS of today who are constantly trying to keep up with the bureaucratic conveyor belt that dumps files on their desks each morning!

Because of the pressure to dispose of cases quickly, the adjudications process back then and until this very day creates a clear incentive for approving as many applications as possible. This is because it only takes a minute or two if an adjudications officer approves an application but it can take an hour or more to deny an application and prepare the report and other paperwork. If the goal is to dispose of the maximum number of applications per day, then it becomes readily apparent that the only way to be rewarded for productivity is to approve as many applications as possible!

Fraud permeated the IRCA amnesty program and many aliens who should never have been granted lawful status easily gamed that system.

Fraud is still a huge issue for the process by which a wide variety of applications for immigration benefits is concerned today. This includes applications for lawful immigrant status and even United States citizenship. Furthermore, the 9/11 Commission determined that visa fraud and immigration benefit fraud were crucial for the terrorists who attacked our nation on September 11, 2001 and for other terrorists who entered the United States to conduct activities in furtherance of the objectives of terrorist organizations.

If the adjudications officers at USCIS are now so inundated with applications that they are constantly racing to keep up with the massive workload that they have to contend with each and every day, what would happen if suddenly they had tens of millions of applications to deal with in addition to their already onerous workload at that beleaguered agency? (While there are those who claim that there are about 12 million illegal aliens in our country- you need only consider that when IRCA was proposed it was claimed that only about 1 million to 1.5 million illegal aliens would emerge from the “shadows” and avail themselves of this “one time” amnesty program. By the time the applications were all adjudicated, it was found that somewhere between 3 million and 4 million applications had been processed!)

Please take the time to read my article and, if you like it, please forward it to as many folks as you can!

A country without secure borders can no more stand than can a house without walls!

If our country is to survive and if our children and their children are to get their share of the “American Dream” the citizens of this nation must take their citizenship seriously!

We the People must be the best citizens we can be, citizens who are worthy of the gallantry demonstrated by our valiant men and women in the military, law enforcement and firefighters, who routinely go in harm’s way in defense of this nation and our citizens.

My goal in writing this and other commentaries is to point out our nations many failings before more victims pay the ultimate price for the incompetence and ineptitude of our government.

The first step in problem-solving is to first identify the problems and vulnerabilities and then devise strategies to overcome them.

The practice of good citizenship does not end in the voting booth, it only begins there.

The large scale apathy demonstrated by citizens of this nation has emboldened elected representatives to all but ignore the needs of the average American citizen in a quest for massive campaign funds and the promises of votes to be ostensibly delivered by special interest groups. There is much that we cannot do but there is one thing that We the People absolutely must do- we must stop sitting on the sidelines!

The collective failure of We the People to get involved in make our concerns known to our politicians have nearly made the concerns of the great majority of the citizens of this nation all but irrelevant to the politicians. I implore you to get involved!

I believe our nation’s is greatly benefited by the rich diversity of our people which is why I could never imagine living anywhere except New York City, arguably the most diverse city in our nation if not, in fact, the world. However, my idea of diversity most certainly does not include members of MS-13, the Mexican drug cartels or members of other transnational gangs or members of al-Qaeda!

If our government’s failures to secure our nation’s borders and effectively enforce our immigration laws concerns you or especially if it angers you, I ask you to call your Senators and Congressional “Representative. This is not only your right- it is your obligation!

All I ask is that you make it clear to our politicians that we are not as dumb as they hope we are!

We live in a perilous world and in a perilous era. The survival of our nation and the lives of our citizens hang in the balance.

This is neither a Conservative issue, nor is it a Liberal issue- simply stated, this is most certainly an AMERICAN issue!

You are either part of the solution or you are a part of the problem!

Democracy is not a spectator sport!

Lead, follow or get out of the way!

Please check out my website:

Click on the links below to RePatriot Radio and listen to the internet radio show I host on Friday evenings from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM Eastern Daylight Savings Time:

Bordering on Insanity! Listen Live! www.repatriotradio.com or www.libertyandfreedomradio.net

Audience email questions/comments [email protected]

USA Talk Radio Network at Blog Talk Radio

Michael Cutler
Michael Cutler, a former Senior INS Investigator, an expert witness in more than a dozen Congressional Hearings is a Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies and an advisor to the '911 Families for a Secure America.' He writes about the nexus between immigration and national security.