Immigration Reform 2001- 2006

On October 15, 1994, 70,000+ marched to protest the impeding passage of California's statewide initiative, Proposition 187.  Many observers believe that the defiant display by protesters of Mexican flags inflamed anti-immigrant sentiment and contributed to the initiative's subsequent passage. Photo by Andy Scott, Los Angeles Times.


The terrorist attack Sept. 11, 2001, caused a fundamental change in the structure of immigration agencies. On Sept. 20, President Bush authorized the created the Office of Homeland Security and appointed Tom Ridge as its first Director.


Jan. 23 - Congress created the Department of Homeland Security

"On November 25, 2002, the President signed the Homeland Security Act of 2002 into law. This law transfers INS functions to the new Department of Homeland Security. Immigration enforcement functions will be placed within the Directorate of Border and Transportation Security, and the immigration service functions will be placed into a separate Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. Some INS functions will also report to the Under Secretary for Management and the Director of Shared Services. The INS will cease to exist on the date the last of its functions are transferred."


March 1 - services currently formerly provided by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) moved into the Department of Homeland Securityand became the U. S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). Border patrol agencies were placed under the new U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The investigative agency into illiegal immigration for DHS became Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).


Jan. 4 - President Bush proposed "a new temporary worker program to match willing foreign workers with willing U.S. employers when no Americans can be found to fill the jobs. The program would be open to new foreign workers, and to the undocumented men and women currently employed in the U.S. This new program would allow workers who currently hold jobs to come out of hiding and participate legally in America's economy while not encouraging further illegal behavior." 1

Nov. 1 - Sen. John McCain [R-AZ] with Reps. Jim Kolbe and Jeff Flake, both Arizona Republicans, sponsored a bill to allow illegal immigrants in already living in America to enter a guest-worker program and eventually apply for permanent residence.   


Bush greets Mexican President Vicente Fox at the beginning of meetings between the U.S., Mexico and Canada at Baylor University in Waco, TX, 3/23/05.

Apr. 1 - 1,000 civilian volunteers, calling themselves the "Minutemen," heeded the call of James Gilchrist of Aliso Viejo, CA, met in Tombstone, AZ to start a month-long patrol of a 40-mile stretch of the southeast Arizona border. President Bush was meeting with President Vicente Fox of Mexico and Prime Minister Paul Martin of Canada, said about the patrol, "I'm against vigilantes in the United States of America. I'm for enforcing the law in a rational way." The Pew Hispanic Center estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., including 6 million illegal Mexicans (along with another 6 million legal Mexican immigrant residents).1

May 12 - S. 1033 introduced by Senators John McCain [R-AZ] and Edward Kennedy [D-MA], The Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act - press release - this liberal plan would offer eventual citizenship if illegals paid $2,000 in fines, paid any back taxes, passed a criminal background check and demonstrated English proficiency.

July 20 - S. 1438 introduced by Sen. John Cornyn [R-TX] and Sen. Jon Kyl [R-AZ], the Comprehensive Enforcement and Immigration Reform Act of 2005 - press release - this conservative plan called the "report-to-deport" plan would allow guest workers for 6 years but then they must leave.

Nov. 18 - S. 2075 introduced by Sen. Richard Durbin [D-IL], the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2005, or "DREAM" act, "would allow immigrant students who have grown up in the U.S., graduated from high school here, and can demonstrate good moral character to initially qualify for "conditional lawful permanent resident" status, which normally would last for six years. During the conditional period, the immigrant would be required to graduate from a 2-year college, attend 2 years towards a 4-year degree, or serve for 2 years in the military. At the end of the conditional period, those who meet at least one of these requirements would be eligible to adjust to LPR status and could apply for citizenship without any further delay." - 1 

Dec. 6 - HR4437 introduced by Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner [R-WI], the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005, was passed Dec. 16 by the House. This conservative plan would provid tougher enforcement, construction of fences and criminalization of illegal immigrants and of businesses that hired illegals.


March 9 - S. 2394 introduced by Sen. John Isakson, the Border Security Act of 2006

March 16 - S. 2454 introduced by Sen. William Frist [R-TN], the Border Security Bill, "to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide for comprehensive reform."

March 24-25 - Protest marches by a million immigrants in Los Angeles and Phoenix and other cities.

March 27 - Senate Judiciary Committee voted for the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006, introduced by committee chiarman Sen. Arlen Specter [R-PA] that would create a huge new guest worker program for future immigrants, a new "nonimmigrant conditional worker" status for undocumented workers who have been in the U.S. since 2004, and a pathway to legalization for current illegals if the paid $1000 and passed a criminal background check and demonstrated English proficiency, similar to John McCain's S. 1033. - 1

Apr. 26 - A Spanish-language version of the Star Spangled Banner titled "Nuestro Himno" was published by British music producer Adam Kidron and recorded by Wyclef Jean, hip-hop star Pitbull and Puerto Rican singers Carlos Ponce and Olga Tanon. - 1

May 1 - National "Day Without Immigrants" boycott and strike organized by the Mexican-American Political Association.


revised 4/30/06 by Schoenherr | Immigration history | Immigration links | Immigration photos